Yangon is the largest and most cosmopolitan city in Myanmar. Some travelers say that there is nothing in Yangon except noises and dust, and they just consider it as the transit city to other destinations in Myanmar such as Bagan or Inle Lake. In fact, Yangon itself is really an attractive destination, which is full of life colors, majestic pagodas, tranquil green parks and friendly people. Here we provide you with useful Yangon travel tips on the sites and activities you should not miss on your Yangon tour.
1. Shwedagon Pagoda
Being the most important pagoda in Myanmar, Shwedagon Pagoda is a must on your Yangon tour. Legend has it that the gilded pagoda with 99-meter-high main stupa was built more than 2,600 years ago, but this information is not confirmed by historians. According to archeological reports, the structure is about 1,000-1,500 years old. It’s said that the pagoda houses relics of 4 Buddhas, so it’s considered as the most sacred place in Myanmar.
You do not need to worry about the shortage of things to visit as there are various mini-museums and photo displays throughout the pagoda. It will take at least 2 hours to see everything inside. Shwedagon Pagoda is open every day from 4 am until 10 pm. Entrance fee is 8,000 Kyat ($8) per person.
2. Sule Pagoda
The pagoda is much smaller than Shwedagon Pagoda, but it is a very peaceful and relaxing place. Burmese people believes that it’s was built even before Shwedagon Pagoda. Visiting the pagoda on your Yangon tour or Myanmar travel, you will have a quiet time to see local people praying and admire its beauty without feeling annoyed by a mass of tourists. Sule Pagoda is open every day from 6 am until 10 pm. Entrance fee is 3,000 Kyat ($3) per person.
3. Night market at Maha Bandula road
Located on the main road leading to the Sule Pagoda, the night market full of noises and smells may not attract you at first sight. However, if you like night like and are interested in Burmese street food, do not miss the market on your Yangon tour. Here you can eat local food, drink traditional Burmese bear (called Myanmar) and even try fried insects!
4. Yangon zoo
A visit to the zoo on your Yangon tour which is more than 100 years old would be a good… or bad experience. Indeed, it’s always a very controversial place: some people accuse that the animals here have very poor living condition and that it’s not very safe place because of lack of bars and cages.
It’s true that in this zoo you can be really close to deadly animals like hippos. If you lean out, you could even touch them. No one is there to take care of the safety of tourists.
You can take really awesome photos and hand-feed the animals here at the zoo, but if you are not careful enough, you can be hurt by animals. Yangon Zoo is open every day from 8 am until 6 pm. Entrance fee is 3,000 Kyat ($3) per person.
5. Kandawgyi Lake
Kandawgyi Park is one of the lush green lake parks in Yangon. Making a visit to the park, you will be able to choose either of the options. On the east side of the park are a number of restaurants, including the Karaweik Palace, where you can eat and have a drink. It costs you 300 Kyats ($.30) to enter this area.
The other section is the lake boardwalk, an ideal elevated platform where you can enjoy wonderful views of the lakes, the Karawiek Palace, and the Shwedagon Pagoda in the background while doing exercise or walking. If you come here on a nice day when it’s not raining, you will be able to contemplate a stunning sunset view of Shwedagon Pagoda.
Visiting Kandawgyi Park is one of the great things to do on your Yangon tour because its tranquility and freshness are completely opposed to the busy and hectic downtown Yangon.
6. China town
If you are a foodie, head to Chinatown town on your Yangon tour. This is one of the busiest and most eventful places in the city, especially in the evening when food vendors appear on sides of the streets, and provide you with everything from ready-made foods to fresh produce.
The Kheng Hock Keong Temple, Sule Pagoda and Night market at Maha Bandula road are all located in the China Town area, so can make a day tour to these places.
7. Kheng Hock Keong Temple
This is the largest, oldest and most important Chinese temple in Yangon. Although the pagoda is really small comparing to Sule Pagoda or Sule Pagoda, it is still worth visiting. Peaceful atmosphere and sophisticated Chinese architecture are typical characteristics here. The admission to the Kheng Hock Keong Temple is free.
8. Bogyoke Aung San Market
The market is the biggest traditional one in Yangon and a wonderful destination for shopping for Burma tours. Indeed, you will be able to find almost all products there such as artwork, handicrafts, souvenirs and Burmese dresses. More particularly, the market is a famous address in selling jewelry and gemstones. If you want to give your friends and relatives unique or valuable gifts brought back from your Yangon tour, you can purchase them with reasonable price at the Bogyoke Aung San market. However, don’t forget to bargain! The first price you will get is always too high. The market is open between 10 am and 5 pm from Tuesday to Sunday.
After visiting these places and other interesting ones on your Yangon tour, you must ask yourself that why some people could say, “there is nothing in Yangon except noises and dust”.