Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, was the capital of Myanmar until it was replaced by Naypyidaw in November 2005. Today, with a population of more than 5 million, it remains the largest city in the Country. A cosmopolitan city with an architecture mixing oriental and western inspirations, Yangon is an exotic city where the joy of life is expressed even on the faces of its inhabitants; this is an essential during your solo travel Myanmar.
1. Yangon: how to get there, where to stay? Tips for a successful solo travel Myanmar
As the first city in the country, Yangon has all the necessary infrastructure for your travels to and from and in the country, as well as your accommodation, by making it an essential step of your Burma tour.
• By plane: The newly renovated Yangon International Airport has modern terminals for domestic and international flights. Bus and taxis will take you 30 minutes by car from the center of the city. International flights will take you many countries in Asia, and domestic flights will have a brand-new terminal in 2017.
• By train: Many railway lines connect Yangon to the rest of Myanmar. You will find a daily line from Yangon to Mandalay via Bago, with connections to Bagan and Inle Lake. One of the disadvantages is that these trains leave very early in the morning; Count 35 to 50USD for a First Class seat. There is also a direct Yangon – Bagan line, but the journey via it takes about 24 hours and is not very pleasant.
• By boat, you will be able to reach Yangon at Mandalay in 5 days, with a connection to Pyay (return in 3 days).
• By bus: Buses link Yangon to most of the Myanmar tourist sites, such as Bagan, Mandalay or Inle Lake. Include 14USD per person on a VIP bus with air conditioner for Mandalay. The road, recently redone, is pleasant and the ride will take about 8 hours.
As you can imagine, there are many convenient and cheap ways to get around the city: Taxis, buses, trains and even the boat. Please note that it will not be possible to rent a car on site with a tourist visa. To enjoy the most of the city, we advise you to rent a bike (1.5 a day) but pay attention to traffic.
Staying in Yangon can very quickly become an adventure during your solo travel Myanmar. Indeed, housing is comparatively more expensive than Thailand, Vietnam, Laos or Indonesia, and often less good quality. If you would like to have a room with an acceptable standard, you will have to book, especially during the high season.
An important factor to consider before choosing a hotel is access to electricity; it can be rationed for hotels that do not have their own generator.
Lower-class hotels are to be avoided. Those offering average prices (between 20 and 50USD) are located in the vicinity of Sule Pagoda and north of Shwedagon Pagoda. Luxury hotels are concentrated around Kandawgyi Lake and in the city center.
In terms of food, you will find a very wide range of prices available when doing your Myanmar travel. Restaurants and cafeteria in hotels and at the airport have prices similar to those found in the West. However, if trying the local culinary experience does not scare you, then a meal in a street shop will cost you less than $ 1.5USD.
2. What to do in Yangon during a solo travel Myanmar?
Yangon, in addition to being an important economic city, is also recognized as a historical and religious center.
As a result, the city has many pagodas and religious monuments to visit. The most famous of the pagodas of the city is the Shwedagon Pagoda (see below). You can also visit other religious monuments, such as the Sule Pagoda or the Cathedral of St. Mary.
Even though the city is the major urban center of the country, it has been able to conserve and protect its green spaces. You will find there many gardens, parks and lakes, to rest and enjoy a little freshness. History lovers will be delighted by their presence in this city. Indeed, there are many monuments to visit, such as the houses of Aung Sang and Aung Sang Suu Kyi, or the Mausoleum of the Martyrs.
If you want to get close to the people of the city, we advise you to board the ferry to Dallah. If the city has a pagoda, it is the route that remains the most important. Indeed, you will be immersed in the effervescence of the families crossing the river and will be able to experience the daily life of the inhabitants of Yangon.
Finally, the Kings and Queens of shopping will be spoiled in Yangon. Handmade products, precious stones or even clothes are easily found in the city. Shopping is fun in Yangon, because of the diversity of products available and the restraint of the sellers. Beware, however, you will wait for you to negotiate!
Focus on: Shwedagon Pagoda
For 8USD per person, open the doors of the most important monument of Myanmar. Located at the top of Singuttara Hill, it was built in the 6th century and renovated many times.
Today, tourists love to contemplate its thousand and one colors and its beautiful carved wood ornaments. There, you will meet a whole group of people: children who run there unrestrainedly, monks talking on the edge of a path, young couples in love…Place of worship and place of life, Shwedagon Pagoda is a monument unique in the world.
Day and night, Yangon seduces visitors as his mood changes. The first major city of the country, it is also its religious and economic center. By visiting Yangon during your Burma tours, you will discover the essence of Burmese civilization, during an unforgettable solo travel Myanmar.