The Royal Lake, with the Karaweik Restaurant in the distance.
Right in the middle of Yangon, just north of the city center and east of the Shwedagon Pagoda, is Kandawgyi Lake, also known as the Royal Lake. The lake is surrounded by verdant parks, and a raised boardwalk snakes around the edges of the water. The park is very popular with local residents, especially in the early morning and around sunset. While staying at the lakeside Kandawgyi Palace Hotel once, we woke up one Saturday morning to the sounds of a large public aerobics class being conducted on the circular platform behind the fountain in the photo above. There must have been more than 50 people taking part. In addition, the boardwalk around the lake was fairly crowded with people out for a early morning walk.
The north shore of the lake has extensive parks, including an exotic plant market, tea stalls and play grounds. The most distinctive feature on the lake is the Karaweik Restaurant, on the east end of the lake. The huge brick and concrete structure is built to look like Burmese royal barge. The interior is reportedly as sumptuous as the exterior.
There is an admission fee to enter the park, at least for foreigners. The fee is 1,000 Kyats (US$1) per person, plus 500 Kyats for a camera.