Myanmar Shwedagon Pagoda

12 Things To Do In Yangon

Yangon is one of the largest cities in Myanmar and is home to one of the two international airports in the country.  Many people use it as a base to get to other parts of the country but there are some really great things to do in Yangon which shouldn’t be missed!

We’ve put together a list of twelve things to do in this great city with some information on where to stay.

12 things to do in Yangon

1. Shwedagon Pagoda

Probably the biggest draw for tourists visiting Yangon.  Shwedagon Pagoda is adorned with gold, diamonds and rubies and is seen as one of the most significant Pagodas in all of Myanmar.

Shwedagon Pagoda
Shwedagon Pagoda

The entrance fee is 10,000 Kyats and is valid for the entire day.  Tickets can be purchased at the top of the stairs on all four entrances and they will give you a sticker which you will need to display on your clothing while you are there.  Make sure you cover your shoulders and wear something below the knees.  If you don’t have anything to cover your knees you can borrow a longyi from the temple for a refundable 3000 Kyats fee. Longyi’s are traditional pieces of fabric which are worn around the waist, like a long skirt for both men and women. 

If you’re an early riser you can visit the Pagoda at sunrise, but hold onto your tickets and make sure you head back to the Pagoda after dark as it’s truly spectacular!  If like me you just can’t get up that early head there for sunset and then be amazed as the Pagoda lights up in the night sky.

Entrance to Shwedagon Pagoda
Entrance to Shwedagon Pagoda

2. Kandawgyi Lake

Take a stroll around the Kandawgyi lake, formally known as the Royal Lake. It was built during colonial times to supply clean water for the city, and now is a popular spot to escape the bustling city for some solitude.

Catch the sunset from the viewing platform and get some great photos of the Shwedagon Pagoda in the background. Surrounding the lake is the Kandawgyi Nature Park, Zoological Gardens and the Karaweik which is a replica of a Burmese Royal Barge.

Kandawgyi lake sunset Yangon
Kandawgyi lake sunset Yangon
Karaweik Yangon
Karaweik

3. 19th Street

One of my favourite places to visit.  It’s not much during the day but at night 19th Street comes alive with life and tantalising smells! 

Known as the place to get BBQ, people spill out onto the road as vendors set up tables and chairs outside their restaurants and the locals sell an assortment of fruit, local Burmese food and bugs!

Cold local beer is sold in copious amounts for 800 Kyats a glass.

Bugs! - 19th Street Yangon
Bugs! - 19th Street Yangon
19th Street Yangon
19th Street Yangon

4. Sule Pagoda and Maha Bandula Park

At one end of China Town is the Sule Pagoda and Maha Bandula Park.  If visiting the Pagoda make sure you wear appropriate clothing covering your shoulders and knees and remember to take off your shoes.  Then find some shade and relax with the locals at Maha Bandula park which is opposite the Yangon City Hall.

Maha Bandula Park Yangon
Maha Bandula Park Yangon

5. Rangoon Tea House

While you are in the area why not stop into one of the most iconic tea houses in Yangon.  With a blend of old and new you can get all types of culinary delights here along with tea served in lots of different ways.  This is a little more expensive so be aware if you’re on a tighter budget.

Rangoon Tea House Yangon
Dessert - Rangoon Tea House Yangon
Dessert - Rangoon Tea House Yangon

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6. Shan Noodles

Another great stop near Sule Pagoda is 999 Shan Noodle. Great noodles and great service for a cheap price, what more could you ask for. They don’t sell beer but are happy to go and buy it for you and allow you to drink it while you have lunch.  

If you are near the Bo Gyoke Market on Bo Gyoke Road, check out Aung Mingalar Shan Noodle Shop – Yum!

 

999 Shan Noodle 34th Street
999 Shan Noodle 34th Street
Shan Noodle
Aung Mingalar Shan Noodle Shop
Aung Mingalar Shan Noodle Shop

7.  Massage on 19th Street

To finish off the day head to 19th street again and get a massage on 19th street near the corner of  Maha Bandula Street. 

Massages are cheaper than anywhere I have seen in Asia at 4000 Kyats (around $3 USD) for an hour for either a foot massage or a body massage.  

19th Street SPA by Willy's
19th Street SPA by Willy's

8. Yangon Circular Railway

If you have a spare few hours and want to experience the trains in Myanmar and see a slice of local life, why not take a ride on the Yangon Circular train that will take you through over 45km (almost 29 miles) of track and 39 stops. 

Being a local train it gives the residents cheap access around the city. The good news is that foreigners pay the same amount as locals, 200 Kyats each.  You can hop on and off anytime, so check out some of the local markets while you are there.    

Check out the full post on it here.

Train at Yangon Central Railway
Train at Yangon Central Railway
Yangon Circular Railway ticket
Girl selling fruit at the market

9. ShwePuZum Cafeteria and Bakery House

A favourite with the locals and us is the ShwePuZum Cafeteria and Bakery House .  The locals pack into the cafeteria all day but especially on weekends so it might be hard to get a seat.  They sell coffee, cakes and light snacks. 

The best bit though is the bakery house which is just next to it.  The locals will find it strange that you are there and smile and stare but trust me it’s worth it.  Cakes, desserts, pastries, breads, cakes and did I mention cakes!  It’s reasonably cheap and you’ll be amazed by the variety of food.

ShwePuZum Cafeteria
ShwePuZum Cafeteria
ShwePuZum Bakery House
ShwePuZum Bakery House

10. Bo Gyoke Market

If you want to shop for souvenirs or perhaps buy a longyi, head to Bo Gyoke Market.

The market is quite large so make sure you have some time to browse.  There is a lot of fabric sold there so you could even get some clothes made up.  If you get hungry from all that shopping there are places to eat, near the main hall.  

Bo Gyoke Market halls
Bo Gyoke Market halls
Bo Gyoke Market
Bo Gyoke Market

11. Mingalarbar Balloon

The Mingalarbar Balloon is Yangons first and only balloon ride giving visitors and locals a different perspective of this amazing city.

Get a birds eye view of the city with 20 rides per day on the balloon between 10am and 6pm with a maximum of 15 people at a time. 

The balloon is filled with helium and is tethered to the ground and will ascend 120 meters (400ft) and then down again, the ride will last between 15-20 minutes but is subject to wind conditions so check out their website.

If they cancel the flight due to adverse conditions they will try to re-book you, or refunds your money.

12. See a movie

If you still have time after all of that and you want to escape the heat why not catch a movie!  There are numerous cinemas around the city and they are usually playing at least one English movie. 

We saw the Avengers in 3D for 3800 Kyats (less that $3 USD).  The cinema is reasonably comfortable, air-conditioned and they sell sweet popcorn at the counter. 

Our movie surprisingly wasn’t subtitled so there were a lot of people talking during longer scenes with lots of dialogue and someone even answered their phone during the movie, but it was a nice respite from the heat.

Mingalar San Pya Cineplex
Mingalar San Pya Cineplex
Cinema ticket
Cinema ticket

Where To Stay

Depending on your budget and the type of experience you are after there are many hotels and hotels.

Most of the hostels are in China Town.  We stayed at both The Travellers Inn and the Four Rivers Hostel and we met some friends who stayed at the Little Monkey Hostel which seemed good too.

Most hotels are located around Chinatown and the Shwedagon Pagoda.

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