Best Things to Do in Yangon

As Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon is home to a variety of pagodas, admirable architectures and local street foods. One day, if chances bring you to Yangon, make sure you don’t miss out on these 10 highly recommended things to do in Yangon for a memorable trip of your life.

1.  Watch Sunset over Shwedagon Pagoda

One of the most majestic pagodas in Myanmar - Shwedagon Pagoda is a great cone - shaped Buddhist building, which is completely covered in glistering gold layers and jewelleries with a diamond - studded spire. This is a must - visit attraction whenever setting foot in Yangon whether you are a Buddhist or not.

In the day time, the stupa is a magnificent architecture to admire and when it comes to the golden hour, the pagoda boasts its signature glory. The dazzling sunset blends with shining goldeness of Shwedagon’s stupas certainly create a breathtaking view for you to enjoy it unique beauty.

  • Location: No.1 Shwedagon Pagoda Road, Dagon Township. 
  • Opening hours: from 4:00 to 22:00 
  • Entrance fee: US$ 8.00

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2. Visit Sule Pagoda

Located downtown and surrounded by hectic city life, the ancient beauty of this 2,500 - year old pagoda has not fallen into oblivion. Although not as popular as Shwedagon Pagoda, this pagoda still plays a vital role in ideology and geography of Myanmar. Sule pagoda has a unique octagonal structure with 4 entrances and surrounded by many shrines. Coming here, visitors will not only have a chance to admire the beauty of one of the most iconic stupas in Yangon but also experience a vital aspect of local life when devotees come to make merrits. 

Once you visit Sule Pagoda, you can also easily visit nearby attractions like Maha Bandoola Park, City Hall, and Immanuel Baptist Church.

  • Location: junction of Sule Pagoda Road and Mahabandoola Road
  • Opening hours: from 6:00 to 22:00 
  • Entrance fee: US$ 3.00

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There are also numerous souvenir shops at the base of the stupa.

3. Stroll around Kandawgyi Lake

Build by the British, the so - called Royal Lake is situated east of the Shwedagon’s Pagoda. The lake boasts its most prominent beauty at sunset with the reflection of Shwedagon Pagoda glistening in tranquil water. 

Right in the heart of the lake lies Karaweik Palace - a famous royal barge - shaped restaurant, surrounded by other restaurants and cafes serving western and local food you can opt for. 

There is a green park on the lake, an ideal open space for visitors to walk and find peaceful relaxation. To experience its best atmosphere, take an invigorating stroll in early morning with a 2,000 kyat entrance fee if you take the boardwalk along the southern side of the lake.

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4. Go Shopping at Bogyoke Aung San Market (or Scott Market)

If you love to shopping while still enjoying the extraordinary colonial architecture, Bogyoke Aung San Market, or Scott Market as its British name, would be highly recommended. 

The market, located in the heart of Yangon, offers tourists with variable choices of local antique shops selling old coins, stamps, etc. in the ground floor and the first floor, jewellery, famous Burmese jade, Burmese rubies in the middle, and other art galleries, handicraft, clothing stores and restaurants in the rest of the market. 

  • Location: Bogyoke Aung San Road, between Shwe Dagon Pagoda Rd. & Shwe Bontha St., Latha Township
  • Opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday (closed on Monday), 9:00 - 17:00

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5. Pay a Visit at Chaukhtatgyi Paya

Located in Bahan Township, Chaukhtatgyi Paya is the most famous Buddhist Temple with a 66 - meter long reclining Buddha image, one of the most spectacular Buddha statues in Myanmar.

Wander around this temple to admire Buddha shrines, statues around the rectangular perimeter or get carried away in stunning surrounding views. There is also a platform nearby if you want to capture the whole spectacular statue.

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6. Feel the Local Life at a Sidewalk Tea Shop

For a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city, sit in a tea shop to enjoy a highlight of Burmese delicacies.  

In a cramped space of side-by-side tiny tables, colorful plastic stools, noisy background of a rattling kitchen and intriguing trays full of steaming cups, you can easily observe the local lifestyle of any religion and social class, from old to young, man to woman, who gather at sidewalk tea shops even in breakfast or in afternoon break for quick chit chat and socialization. 

Make sure you try “lahpet-yeh”, the traditional tea, a combination of black tea, condensed and evaporated milk. Everything from the artistic preparation performance to the sweet, fulfilled taste of caramel-colour drink will leave you irresistible for more!

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7. Walk through the Colonial Buildings in Downtown Yangon

Not only pagodas but colonial architecture also makes a unique feature of Myanmar, as  Yangon owns the most significant number of late 19 - century era buildings among all South East Asian cities.

Although far from the centre and almost run down in quality, hundreds of these colonial architectures still reflect a spectacular scenery of a once glorious time, with a fascinating blend of ancient and modern, grand and humble.

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8. Take a Yangon Circular Train Ride

If you have not tried Yangon Circular railways and experienced bumpy, frequently delayed trains, then you haven’t really lived the life of a Burmese. It seems odd to hear, but this hot, un-air-conditioned 3 - hour journey is acknowledged by captivated tourists as one of the most intriguing and lively adventures.

Not only does this non-touristic experience offer you a vivid opportunity to get a deeper insight into daily local Myanmar but it also get you great photos of natural surroundings. So next time when you are on train, don’t forget to take your camera and capture these memories yourself!

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9. Drink Beer and Enjoy Barbecue at 19th Street

You can easily come across 19th street between Mahabandoola Road and Anawrahta Street in China Town. After 6pm, the street takes off its quiet face to put on a dynamic, energetic air with delicious barbecue stalls, vendors and street-style restaurants of all kinds, selling from Chinese to local Burmese eateries.

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If you look for a hectic place, with cheap beer and friendly chit chat with the locals, 19th street is your destination. Especially, let’s try traditional Myanmar beer, a tasty choice at less than $ US 2.

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10. Join in Yangon - Dala Day Tour

From Pansodan Pier in downtown Yangon, take a ferry for 10 minutes to Dala - a small village in Myanmar. Before reaching Dala with awaiting surprises, the ferry is also a no less interesting experience itself. Look like a mini floating market, there are different things being sold by locals like cigarettes, combs, mirrors, fresh fruit, clothes and many more.

To explore Dala community, the main touristic transportation is trishaw. You would have a chance to enjoy fish markets, bamboo houses, teashops and a lot farm animals freely wandering around. In short, it’s worth spending a day to Dala and get how it feels in a small Burmese village. For a perfect round off, just come back in time for the sunset at Pansodan Pier and adore dazzling scenery from pedestrian bridge over the road. 

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