Yangon bears little resemblance to modern Asian cities like Bangkok, Singapore or Hong Kong. It occupies a time warp, although modernity is beginning to intrude. The grand brick and imposing Raj-era buildings of its colonial heart remain largely untouched, and are in various stages of stately decline. Seen from a boat on the Yangon River the most prominent landmark remains the golden spire of the Shwedagon, an ancient pagoda that is a focus for both national identity and Buddhist devotion. This majestic pagoda is one of the great sights of the East.