Yangon bears scant resemblance to modern Asian cities like Bangkok, Singapore or Hong Kong. It occupies a time warp, although modernity is beginning to intrude. Of course, the experience of a city frozen in amber is a big part of its appeal. True, the streets are now choked with traffic, but much of the skyline has changed little since the end of World War II. The grand brick Raj-era buildings remain largely untouched and are in various stages of stately decline, although about 200 imposing colonial structures were placed on the Yangon City Heritage List in 1996. 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 temple is one of the great sights of the East.