Karaweik Hall or Karaweik Palace is one of beautiful landmarks in Yangon. From a distance the Karaweik Hall looks like a huge golden barge floating on Kandawgyi Lake, glittering in the sun.
Karaweik Hall actually is a concrete structure looking like two enormous golden birds with a roof in the shape of a Pyatthat, a Burmese style multi tiered very ornate roof structure. The prow of the ship is built in the shape of a Karaweik, a bird from Burmese mythology. A golden ball is hanging from its beak. The back of the structure is formed by the tail of the Karaweik bird in red and gold colors, on top of the tail is a depiction of a Nat spirit.
The Karaweik Hall was completed in 1974, its design based on the Pyi Gyi Mon Royal Barge. In the old days this barge was used by Burmese Kings to travel around the Kingdom. A working model of the Royal Barge can be seen at the Phaung Daw U pagoda in Inle Lake. During the annual Phaung Daw U festival the Karaweik Barge carrying Buddha images is towed over the large lake.
Inside Karaweik Hall are reception halls, conference rooms, buffet restaurants and theatres. Visitors can enjoy an extensive buffet, a selection of Chinese, Burmese and Western food while watching a variety of traditional Burmese entertainment. The entertainment which lasts some 2½ to 3 hours consists of shows like Burmese puppet show, the elephant dance and traditional Burmese dancing. The dancers wear traditional style Burmese costumes. There is also an exhibition of Burmese arts, handicrafts and traditional costumes.
The Karaweik Hall is located in the South East corner of Kandawgyi Lake, a large lake in downtown Yangon. On the Southern end of the lake is a boardwalk (entrance fee 2,000 Kyat), around the park are several open air restaurants.
Several places in the park offer good views of the Shwedagon pagoda, especially after dark when the pagoda is lit up by spotlights. Every November the lake is the scene of the annual traditional boat races.
How to get: The Karaweik Hall is found in the South East corner of Kandawgyi Lake a few hundred meters East of the Shwedagon pagoda. A taxi from downtown Yangon should cost around US$ 3 – 5.
Entrance fee & opening hours: The Kandawgyi Lake and park opens daily until 10 pm. Entrance fee to the Karaweik Hall is 300 Kyat, around 0.50 US$. The traditional Burmese entertainment starts around 6:30 pm until about 9:30. Price of the buffet including a few drinks and the entertainment costs around US$ 20 per person.
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