Historically overlooked by travellers on Southeast Asia crawls, Yangon is now equally popular for bargain hunting tourists and Buddhist pilgrimages alike, owing to massive infrastructure improvements from a injection of foreign money.
There’s no better time to visit and we’re here to help! Here’s 10 things to do in Yangon.
1. See the World Famous Reclining Buddha
This enormous 65-meter long reclining Buddha is found in the Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda, the most well known Buddhist temple in nearby Bahan township – you’ll get there for a £3 cab ride.
2. Check out the Shwedagon Temple
You simply can’t visit Yangon without a visit to this 105 m tall, 2500 year old temple. One of the world’s most sacred Buddhist sites is adorned with 27 metric tons of gold leaf and is believed to enshrine eight hairs of the Gautama Buddha as well as many other important relics.
3. Munch on Mohinga
Considered by many to be the national dish of Myanmar, this comforting soup made of a hot and sour broth with catfish and rice vermicelli noodle is traditionally eaten for breakfast – but nobody will fault you for ordering it in the afternoon 😉
Often considered too strong for tourist palates, fans of big flavours will be in heaven here.
4. Wander through the National Museum
History buffs won’t wanna miss this five story museum of ancient artifacts, works of art, and treasures related to the history and culture of the Burmese civilization. A highlight is the 26 foot high, jewel-encrusted throne once belonging to King Thibaw Min, the country’s last king.
5. Get Humbled at the Taukkyan War Cemetary
One of the most visited and highly rated war sites in Asia is a cemetery dedicated to 6,374 soldiers Allied soldiers from the British Commonwealth who died fighting in Burma during WWII.
6. Stand in Awe of the Sule Pagoda
This 45 m tall Burmese stupa (a mound-like structure used for meditation and containing relics) rises dead centre in Yangon’s commercial district and has served as a meeting point for important political demonstrations.
7. Eat Some Lephet Thoke
Burma is one of the few places where tea is not only drunk but eaten as well. Lephet Thoke is a type of tangy salad made from fermented tea leaves and garnished with dried shrimp, peanuts, and sesame seeds. It’s said to be a stimulant stronger than coffee.
8. Take a Ride on the Circle Train
The cheapest (about 20 cents) way to get around the city is this bumpy, hop-on-hop-off train filled with commuters, monks, and boiled peanut sellers.
The people watching and rural scenery give a great insight into the day to day lives of the Burmese but there’s also a practical element as it stops at many of the city’s most important attractions.
9. Get Shopping at the Bogyoke Market
This sprawling, covered bazaar popular with tourists and locals alike is known for its colonial architecture and Burmese handicraft shops. You’ll also find a ton of jewelry and clothing shops as well as food stalls and even a black market for exchanging currency.
10. Take a Stroll through Chinatown
Just west of the Sule Pagoda in downtown Yangon lies a bustling Chinatown famous for its chaotic market scenes, dozens of food stalls, tea houses, and charming colonial era buildings. Make sure to bargain here or you run the risk of getting ripped off!