In the course of writing the Rangoon chapter, I managed, very fortunately, to acquire quite a few early 1900s vintage postcards that presented views of the city of Rangoon in British Burma – today’s Yangon, in Myanmar.
The first postcard above is a spectacular bird eye’s view in colour, of Strand Road and the Rangoon River. As you can see, Rangoon was a bustling port – in fact, it was perhaps the most important port in Southeast Asia proper, after Singapore.
The second view, below, is that of the historic High Court Building (at centre), which still stands today. The building was built in 1914 in a distinctly Edwardian style, and wouldn’t feel out of place in London itself.
The wonderful thing about today’s Yangon downtown, is that it looks almost exactly the same as the Rangoon presented in these vintage postcards. All the amazing monumental architectural heritage still stands, and there is a race against time to preserve and restore many of these.
The first chapter of The Romance of the Grand Tour – 100 Years of Travel in Southeast Asia takes the reader on a stroll through the old town of Rangoon/Yangon in the 1900s and today, presenting views and vistas from the turn of the 19th century and the turn of the 20th century.
The Romance of the Grand Tour – 100 Years of Travel in Southeast Asia will be available from mid-April in all major bookstores, museum shops and featured hotels in Singapore, the Southeast Asian region and Hong Kong.