5 + 1 must do’s for travellers
Sounds familiar? Your first or last days in Yangon but what to do? So many options and so little time. We help you with the best suggestions to make your stay in Myanmar’s largest city unforgettable
One or two days can go by quickly, but for Yangon it is still enough to do a lot of things. Even though it is not the capital anymore, it’s still a major centre. There are a lot of unique tourist activities in Yangon such as admiring the colonial architecture, learning about the rich history behind pagodas, and eating delicious food. These are our choices what you could do in Yangon in 1 or 2 days.
Start your day at 7 AM…. Yangon is an early bird with all the street food vendors starting their day by selling delicious breakfast food. Definitely try the local breakfast and tea from street vendors or a tea stall. A perfect start of the day. There is no better way to experience what the locals do in Yangon than putting yourself among them and discovering the city on foot. You will see children in the streets playing or adults in the tea shops having a great time. As you keep walking deeper into downtown Yangon, you will come across the roundabout with the Sule Pagoda. It is located in the centre of downtown Yangon. The Sule Pagoda itself doesn’t have much to see but it is worth exploring the area around
On the same morning you can visit Kalaywa Monastery and see the daily life of monks. This monastery on Sagaing Street has a lot of young orphans and teachers from all different national ethnicities like Palaung, Paoe, and Shan. According to the Kalaywa Monastery, their objective is to have these children become well-versed in Buddhist scriptures and also modern academic studies. You should go to Kalaywa Monastery on a weekday because the monastery is closed on weekends. The best time to visit the monastery is between 10 and 11 AM. You are just in time for the monks and nuns having lunch. This provides a great opportunity for you to take pictures as they line up for lunch. Don’t miss it, it’s a great opportunity to see the monks and their humble way of life.
The next big thing is of course the Shwedagon Pagoda. But first it’s time for lunch! It’s convenient to go to the Shwedagon area first. There are some good Burmese restaurants in the neighbourhood. The Feel Restaurant, for example, is on walkable distance from Shwedagon Pagoda. They serve a whole range of local Burmese food. It’s got everything from curries to desserts and is even vegetarian friendly.
After lunch it’s time to go and see the beauty of the Shwedagon Pagoda. It is a 326-foot-tall gold plated pagoda that is in view from almost anywhere in Yangon. The fact that it contains strands of Buddha’s hair and other holy relics makes it a very sacred Buddhist pagoda. A customary thing to do is to go around the pagoda in a clockwise direction. Going to the iconic Shwedagon Pagoda is definitely something you must do in Yangon or else it would be like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower.
In the later afternoon it is time for some severe shopping. Bogyoke Market is a huge tourist attract known for having cobblestone streets and colonial architecture. The market is suited for tourists as it is full of Burmese handicraft and souvenir stores, clothing stores and art shows.
For the evening we suggest a walk in the Chinatown of Yangon. Chinatown is west of the Sule Pagoda in the Latha Township and famous for it’s food. There is a lot of mouth-watering food like the grilled skewers, Chinese porridge, and many more. The small roadside stalls sell everything from the usual snacks to the extraordinary like crickets. This is where both tourists and locals come to drink and hang out, making it a busy and crowded nightlife destination. It might be late when you’re back in your hotel. A productive and fun day of experiencing Yangon has come to an end.
But…. We can imagine that you might want to take a break from the busy and chaotic downtown area. Away from the hustle and bustle but still with Yangon within reach. For these people we kept the best for last.
Book a bicycle tour on real bamboo bikes. Cycle on your bamboo bicycle and explore laid-back Dala with its fishing village, markets, garden-like stretches and rice paddies. It is just across the river from downtown Yangon, but the contrast between the two river banks is striking. Start and finish in lively Yangon and tranquil Dala in between. The best of both worlds in one tour.