Rangon (or Yangon), the former capital of Myanmar, is a fascinating blend of buildings that have gone unchanged for nearly a century, plus modern café and bar. Many travelers consider Rangon as the first stop on their Myanmar tours and spend two or three days exploring the city and its outskirts. Here we suggest some useful tips for Rangon tourism
Top three tourist sites around Rangon
The pagoda is the most important Buddhist shrine in Myanmar and considered as the symbol of Yangon tourism, nicknamed “the jewel of Yangon”. Surrounding the main gilded 95-metre stupa topped with a thousand diamonds is a wide platform filled with shrines and pavilions. Here visiting nuns, monks and pilgrims from all over the country pray, chant, eat and snooze beneath beautifully carved eaves.
A visit to the Shwedagon Pagoda can last all day or half of day. You do not need to worry about the shortage of things to see as there are various mini-museums and photo displays throughout the pagoda. It will cost you $8 for an entrance fee.
Bogyoke Aung San Market
The market is another attractive destination of Yangon tourism. The market, built in 1926 under a design from the British colonial period, is a wonderful destination for shopping. In need, you will be able to find almost all products there such as souvenirs, artwork, handicrafts and Burmese dresses. More particularly, the market is a famous address in selling jewelry and gemstones.
A day trip to Bago is a great way to get away from the busy and dusty Yangon and admire a dozen impressive pagodas during your Myanmar travel. To get around and explore the city, it’s best to hire a Tuk Tuk (a motor with a cart attached with wood planks on which to sit) for the day. The Tuk Tuk drivers know the many temples know the most typical temples and where tourists want to go. They also know the good local restaurant to stop for a quick lunch.
Restaurants in Yangon
The diverse cuisine is a bid plus point for Rangon tourism. Here you can find from the street food to fancy places that prices of those in large European cities. One that is worth visiting multiple times, for price, taste, and ambiance is Shan Noodle 999. The restaurant is located behind city hall, having appetizing and very low priced food (vegetarian-friendly). And like all friendly people you will meet in Myanmar, their staff are amazing. They will even help you mix noodles if they see you do that incorrectly.
If you want somewhere to spend an afternoon reading, writing, or just relaxing, Pansuriya is a great place. They have great tea and tasty traditional food. Their co-owner is often there during the day and is always willing to chat with you.
Rangoon Tea House offers good food at prices which are a little higher than the other two, and the ambiance is similar to any hipster hang-out in the USA. Its highlight is chocolate-filled samosas with so delicious taste.
Others tips for Rangon tourism
ATMs seem to now be readily available in Yangon and dispense kyat. However, many of them are sometimes out of service. As a result, it’s better to bring along some cash. US dollars can be exchanged but they must be pristine with no marks, creases or damage (any kyat in this condition is rare). Some locations will accept payment in US dollars.
If you travel in a group of 3 or 4, taxis will be a good reasonable choice. They are very inexpensive with the average price of 2,000 kyats in town. Remember to get business cards from your hotel so that you can show it to the driver if they do not know the place by name. It’s much easier than trying to show them on a map and they will likely call directly to the hotel for directions.
Buses are common but the drivers and you may misunderstand each other due to their low capacity of English. Walking is also common to see with sidewalks on most streets, often shared with vendors but still enough room to roam. Just e sure to watch the traffic as well as the lights – or better yet, cross with locals as they understand the traffic patterns.
People’s friendliness and hospitability are the most valuable beauty of Rangon tourism. You will even meet complete strangers who actively ask if you need help and offer detailed instructions.
Yangon has a wide variety of accommodations for your Burma tours at this point. Allegedly, it is one of the more expensive than other cities in South East Asia, but you can find affordable places, some of which may be further outside the main hub of the city. Note that room rates increase remarkably in the high season of Rangon tourism, so book your room at least a month in advance.
We expect that the useful tips for Rangon tourism will help you have great experiences in the hectic city. Do not stay your home and hear “someone say something about Yangon”, come hear and feel by yourself.