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Botahtaung winds up from the gritty port and its gleaming gold pagoda through the bustling eastern part of downtown. Apartment buildings painted in a rainbow of colors, dating back to the colonial-era, line the narrow residential streets. Vendors selling sugarcane, DVDs and street snacks of all styles jostle for pavement space. Bogalayzey Market is a feast of sights and sounds from dawn to dusk. In the leafier northern quarter, you can find some of the city’s most historic buildings – the sprawling, red-brick Secretariat, long shuttered to the public but set to be renovated as a museum in the coming years.

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