I’m really more of storyteller, but I’d like to make an effort to give you tips for if and when you visit any of the cities I’ve been to. In come the city guides. These won’t be extensive, but will be me sharing a list of the things I did/places I saw that I truly enjoyed. Maybe you’ll find something in here that you’d enjoy too.
First up: Yangon. Because yes it is January and I’m three countries further on by now, but I’m determined.
- Schwedagon Pagoda – There’s no way to miss it and it is well worth the visit. Everyone will recommend that you go there at sunrise or sunset; and they’re right.
- Yangon Circle Train – I’ve written about this before as it was by far my favorite thing to do in Yangon. Head to Lanmadaw Railway Station and you can get a ticket for 200 kyat. This gets you the full 3 hours on the train out of the city and back in. You can also hop off and back on if you’d like.
- Sule Pagoda – This pagoda is the (much) smaller sister of the Schwedagon Pagoda, but is actually the older of the two. It was built before the Schwedagon Pagoda during the time of the Buddha and is estimated to be about 2,600 years old. Located smack in the center of downtown Yangon, it is, in my opinion, well worth the visit. Be sure, as always, to take off your shoes, and see if you can ask a local about the customs. We were able to make an offering and ring the bell for good fortune – a certain number of rings depending on what day of the week you were born on.
- St. Mary’s Cathedral – St. Mary’s is the largest Catholic cathedral in Myanmar. The inside of the cathedral is incredibly unique.
- Kandawgyi Lake – On your way to or from the Schwedagon pagoda, go for a stroll around Kandawgyi Lake. The park around the lake has lots of little side paths that are fun to explore, and the view of the Karaweik palace is beautiful.
- Inya Lake – One night I headed to Inya lake with some fellow backpackers. It turns out that it’s a popular recreational spot for locals; it was absolutely buzzing.
- Bogyoke Market – Bogyoke market is also in downtown Yangon and well worth a wander. Get lost in it’s little alleyways, and start practicing your haggling skills. The top floor also has a post office, so you can send your love letters home from there.
- 17th Street Morning Market – Of course this city guide wouldn’t be complete without a street market. The market on 17th street is well known for its hustle and bustle – and some of the best produce. Get there early, because it’s only open until 10am.
- Schwe Yoe Tea House – I popped in here by chance on a day when I was terribly hungry and tired of walking around. Such a pleasant surprise; they serve delicious Burmese food!
- Jing Hpaw Myay Kachin Traditional Cuisine – As the name indicates, this restaurant serves traditional Kachin cuisine. Kachin cuisine comes from the Kachinland area in northern Myanmar and parts of China and India.
- Aung Mingalar Shan Noodle Shop – This place was recommended to me by another backpacker and I’m so happy I went. Had an amazing noodle soup and passion fruit juice.
- Rangoon Tea House – A little more expensive than regular places in Yangon, but the Rangoon Tea House is a nice experience. I went there for tea and a piece of cheesecake and it was so good.
- Schwe Yo Vintage Hostel – This place was seriously wonderful! I got a bed in a 8 bed mixed dorm and was so happy with it. The beds had privacy curtains and had a lamp and locker. The shared toilets and showers were always clean and there were enough on each floor so I never had to wait. The staff are all incredibly friendly and eager to help you out. The hostel owners also offer various activities for free, such as a morning tour of the markets or a tea leaf salad making lesson. At $4.89 per night, it was just perfect. They also have private rooms if that’s more up your alley!
There you have it, a few of my recommendations on what to do in Yangon! My number one recommendation, however, would be to just walk around and get lost. That’s where you’ll have the best experiences.
Next up: headed back to Thailand.