This is old Yangon, colonial Yangon. The streets are laid out as they were in British times, in a grid. Sandwiched between Bogyoke Market, or Scott Market, in the north and Strand Road, to the south, Pabedan looks like a rectangle standing up on a map. Walking west of Sule Pagoda on Mahabandoolah Street, you will find Yangon’s only synagogue on 26th Street. The country’s Jewish community is down to about a dozen people but the synagogue, the original structure of which is more than 100 years old, stands strong, and services are still held there. With the synagogue, Sule, the Bengali mosque and other Islamic halls of worship, Pabedan has a diverse feel. And if you need something specific, whether it be a lightbulb, a fan, a lamp, some paint or even (so we hear) the odd sex toy, you can find it at one of the township’s many, many small stores and roadside stands.

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