Dubbed ‘The Garden City of the East,’ Yangon is suitably surrounded by lush tropical gardens and leafy trees, the product of the northeasterly monsoon rains that continuously fall here six months of the year. If you love parks and need a break from the city, take a stroll among the luxurious tropical woods that surround the Royal Lake of Kandawgyi. Covering an area of 150 acres, Kandawgyi Lake’s placid surface is any photographer’s dream comes true: at dawn it is shrouded in morning mist and at sunset it is described by one guidebook as looking like ‘liquid gold with depths of red fire.’ From a certain vantage point of the Lake the reflection of the nearby Shwedagon Pagoda can be seen clearly. Kandawgyi Lake hosts annual regatta of traditional boat races in November. Participating oarsmen come from all over the country. Even the leg-rowing Intha from Inle Lake take part in this exciting and entertaining competition. There are lakeside restaurants serving local food at reasonably prices, but the highpoint of any visit would be Karaweik Hall, the bird-shaped floating restaurant on the eastern side of the lake. This is where you can take in the whole vista of the lake and the Shwedagon Pagoda beyond. Established in the 1980s, Karaweik Hall comprises three floors that include private dining rooms, spaces for traditional performances, shops selling Myanmar art and crafts, and amusement section for children. In this huge concrete replica of a royal barge, they serve an international buffet in large ornate halls along with a cultural show. The cultural show presents traditional Kachin, Shan, and other dances. They cater to gala occasions such as weddings, receptions, and social and business events.