National Museum

National Museum information

Yangon , Myanmar (Burma)
66/74 Pyay Rd
admission US$5/K5000
Opening hours
9.30am-4.30pm Tue-Sun
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Even though the museum's collection is appallingly labelled and lit, the treasures that lie within this cavernous building deserve a viewing.

The highlight is the spectacular 26ft-high, jewel-encrusted Sihasana (Lion Throne), which belonged to King Thibaw Min, the last king of Myanmar. It’s actually more of an entrance doorway than a throne but let’s not quibble – it’s more impressive than your front door.

Further signs that the kings of old didn’t understand the meaning of the word ‘subtlety’ are the ornate beds, silver and gold rugs, flashy palanquins (one of which is palatial in its size and splendour), kitchen chairs made of ivory, some breathtaking ceremonial dresses and a large collection of betel-nut holders and spittoons.

The upper floors are less impressive and take you on an amble through natural history, prehistory and a very poorly lit art gallery.

Look for the model of the colonial-era State House demolished in 1978; the chandeliers that hang on each floor of the museum are all that remain of it.

Newly on display at the museum is the permanent exhibition The Vanishing Tribes of Burma , 70 photographic images by Richard K. Diran, who spent 17 years documenting around 40 ethnic groups, some of whose way of life had been practically unchanged for centuries.