22 Awesome Things to do in Yangon (Travel Guide) – Yangon is the largest city in Myanmar with 7 million people and it´s a city full of life. Yangon was the capital of Myanmar until 2006.
There are many things to do in Yangon from visiting Shwedagon Pagoda which we recommend you to visit at sunset time so you can see the lights at night.
You can’t miss trying street food, drinking tea, visit Chinatown and where to stay in Yangon. There are parks to visit at sunset and Yangon can be your starting point in your Myanmar trip. It’s a must-visit Inle Lake and Bagan after Yangon.
Where to Stay in Myanmar?
If you’re looking for a cheap place to crash, there are dorm rooms in Myanmar that only go for $20 or less. Another inexpensive lodging option is AirBnB, where you can get rooms for $15-25. Those who want to treat themselves can always book luxury hotel rooms starting at around $200 per night.
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Yangon Travel Guide – How to get to Yangon
How to get to Yangon By Plane
Going to Yangon is easy because there are a lot of flights coming from Southeast Asia and the routes from Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur are quite popular like Air Asia. You can check in Skyscanner to look for the best rates going to Yangon. Prices are going from $50-100 USD from Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur for one way ticket.
There are also internal flights from Mandalay, Bagan and Inle Lake that go directly to Yangon. Prices are expensive and you can expect to pay from $70-120 USD each person one way ticket. You can click here to buy your tickets and check schedule with 12 Go.
There are also other modes of transportation from Mandalay like riding a bus. I really enjoy night buses where you can sleep while traveling. It saves you time because you get to arrive in the city the moment you wake up and ready to explore once the night bus ride is over.
How to get Yangon City Center from Bus Station
In Yangon the bus station is 15 kilometers far away from city center in the North near the airport. It’s called Aung Mingalar Bus Station. You can get to Aung Mingalar Bus Station by public bus from city center only for 200 Kyats in bus number 36 yellow color. Also you can get a shared taxi from Sule Pagoda for 1000 Kyats.
For more comfort you can go by Grab and taxi and prices will go around 10000-15000 Kyats. By bus from city center can take 1 hour and 30 minutes and they are usually crowded. We decided to go by bus since it was cheaper than Grab and Taxi. It depends on your comfort and budget your choice!
Read here how to get from Yangon to Mandalay
How to get to Yangon City Center from the airport
If you are coming to Yangon from Yangon International Airport. The airport is located 15 kilometers North direction. You can go by taxi and the price will go around 10000-15000 Kyats ($8-10 USD). You can go by Graba and the price will be around 6000-8000 Kyats and both of them taxi and grab will take 30 minutes. If you are on a budget you can get the public bus from the airport for 500 Kyats only 33 cents of USD.
The bus will take 40-50 minutes to reach city center in Yangon. There are two routes blue and red. Check them and decide which one works better for your final destination.
Read here how to get to Yangon from the airport
Currency Exchange in Yangon
If you are traveling to Myanmar and you get by plane. If you are bringing cash you can check the exchange rates on May 2019. We don’t usually recommend to exchange money in the airport since the rates are usually lower than in the city. But in Yangon there is almost no difference and you will get almost the same exchange rate than in the city. $1 USD = 1500 Kyats.
ATM’s in the Yangon
There are ATM’s in the airport and also around the city so you will not have to worry about this. The commission from the ATM is high in Myanmar so if you are bringing cash you will save a few USD. It’s usually around $5 USD commission per withdrawal. Plus if you get any charge commission from your bank.
Wifi and Internet Connection in Yangon
We found Wifi connection strong in Yangon. Plus data was working in 4 GB most of the time. In hotels and coffee shops connection works great inside the city.
We didn’t buy the Sim Card in the airport since we got wifi enough to get to the bus stop and from our hotel. These are the plans that you can get with Telenor $1 USD is 1500 Kyats so you can get 6 GB for $4 USD and you iwll have load in calls 500 Kyats and messages.
The connection in Myanmar will almost reach 4 GB following touristic places like Inle Lake, Yangon, Bagan and on the way to Thailand Bago, Golden Roch and Pha An. We got surprised that internet in Myanmar works better than in the Philippines. But not so good as Digital Nomads hubs like Thailand and Bali.
Transportation Around Yangon
The walking distance around Yangon is big there are still parts in the center that you can walk around. If you move longer distance you will have to take transportation around Yangon. The most comfortable are taxis and Grab being the second one an affordable option to move around the city.
Buses are cheap only 200 Kyats for ride and you can cover long distance. There is a circle train where tickets are also less than $1 USD and you can visit the whole city on Yangon in a few hours. The circle train is slow and it’s great if you have enough time to move around Yangon.
Read this full blog post about Yangon circle train!
Daily Travel Budget in Yangon
You can find cafes serving less than $1 USD and you can also eat local food like Noodles and rice and vegetables with curry for $1-2. You can also enjoy local restaurants around the city for $2-4 USD.
Everything’s really affordable if you are traveling on a budget, you can get a few things in Yangon with $10 USD. There are also beer stations where you can grab a beer for only $1-2 USD.
Transportation to move around Yangon is quite cheap and buses cost 200 Kyats which is 20 cents of USD. Taxis you have to negotiate or you can also use Grab as we mentioned before in Yangon for affordable prices.
For accommodation, you can find accommodation prices starting from $15-20 USD in a local guesthouse depending on how much you want to stretch your budget. Until luxury hotels in Yangon that can cost $100-300 USD for a room if you wish more comfort when visiting Yangon. Click here to get the best deals via Booking and Agoda.
Things to do in Yangon
1. Visit Pagodas in Yangon
In Mynamar, most of the people are Buddhists. Because of this, there are many pagodas to visit in Yangon. The most popular one is Shwedagon Pagoda where you can feel the local atmosphere of Yangon.
I recommend that you visit the Shwedagon Pagoda before sunset so you will still be able to get daylight for sightseeing. Colorful night also awaits you there.
2. Sunset at Shwedagon Pagoda
Shwedagon Pagoda or Paya is Yangon’s most famous landmark, built on a hill which is the biggest and grandest Pagoda in Myanmar.
This Pagoda was built 2600 years ago and is the oldest Buddhist stupa in the world, it is 99 meters high and is completely encrusted with gold plating. Massive numbers of devotees visit the Shwedagon every day and walk around the stupa to make offerings to the Buddha.
Please when visiting a pagoda dress properly and walk barefoot. You will see always signs around how to dress. Understanding the culture and history of this sacred pagoda, can greatly improve your visit. Appreciating its history and immersing yourself in its mystical beauty will be a spectacular experience!
The entrance fee is $8 you will get a Sharon for the visit and a bottle of water. It’s opened from 4 am to 10 pm. The schedule can change if there is a celebration, you can check more info in their website.
3. Visit Sule Pagoda
Sule Pagoda is 2,600 years old. It’s open from 4 am to 10 pm and there is an entrance fee of $2 USD. Sule Pagoda is huge and you can see it from many places walking around city center. Our favorite view is from the bridge!
A few more interesting pagodas that you can visit in Yangon like Kyay Thone Pagoda, Botataung Pagoda, Swe Taw Myat Pagoda, Kaba Aye Pagoda and the Reclining Buddha statue in Chaukhtatgyi Buddha temple.
4. Sunset at Inya Lake
We loved it the atmosphere in Inya Lake while staying at Sedona Hotel in Yangon. Many people walking around, taking pictures and resting in the shade while waiting for the sunset. If you walk around the lake you will find places to have a drink or eating. If you prefer you can go to Myanmar Plaza which is front of the lake.
5. Go to the National Museum of Myanmar
It’s a five store building located near the Embassies area in Yangon. There is a collection of art and historic related to history, culture and civilization of Burmese people. National Museum of Myanmar is opened from 10 am to 4 pm everyday except holidays. The entrance fee is 5000 Kyats.
6. Walking around Weekend Market in Yangon
If you are spending the weekend in Yangon you can explore Yangon weekend market. You will find street food, souvenirs, clothes. It’s crowded especially at lunch time. The market is located close to the port on the way to Sule Pagoda.
7. Try Street Food in Yangon
If you are an avid reader of our blog posts, it is without a doubt that my favorite thing while traveling is street food. I really enjoy visiting colorful, busy markets and eating local food. In Yangon, I really liked fruit juices and noodles. Prices start from $1, really affordable!
8. Go to Myanmar Plaza for a Drink
To be honest, I wasn´t expecting “lit” nightlife in Yangon so I got really surprised that there were many restaurants and bars in Yangon for dinner and drinks. In Myanmar Plaza near Inya Lake area there is a bar which opens until late if you feel partying in Yangon. We got surprised how modern it was!
9. Drinking Tea
Drinking tea is really popular in Yangon. You can find many tea shops there and I really loved these local shops for with tiny chairs for drinking our cup of tea. Sweets go well with a cup of tea and they make a perfect snack for your breaks in waling around Yangon.
10. Explore Local Markets (Bogyoke Aung San Market)
If you want to buy souvenirs for your family and friends or just for yourself, there are many local shops selling nice t-shirts. The national flag of Myanmar is the most popular design for these souvenir shirts.
Bogyoke Aung San Market was our favorite one. It’s located 15 minutes walking distance from Sule Pagoda. The market is huge and prices are affordable for buying, eating and drinking local juices.
11. Try Betel Nut
Have you ever heard of betel nuts? It´s quite popular in Myanmar. The areca nut is wrapped in betel leaves and mixed with calcium hydroxide. It turns your teeth red and and they say that you’ll get more active and energetic while eating betel nuts. Most of the taxi and tuk tuk drivers eat this to feel awake while driving.
12. Eating in Chinatown
We love to explore Chinatown in all of the big cities. Chinatown in Yangon is perfect for eating during the day and also at night. There are restaurants and street food with affordable prices. You can have dinner starting from $2-3 USD.
13. Ride Yangon Circular Railroad
If you have time in Yangon you should try the Circular train in Yangon. There are a few stops around the city and the whole journey takes 3 hours. You can go down whenever you want to since there are many stops. The price of the circular train is less than $1 USD and the schedule is every hour.
14. Bogyoke Park
It’s the opposite part of Kandawgyi Lake. Quiet place to walk around and also close to Shwedagon Pagoda.
15. Take a Hot Air Balloon ride over Yangon
The place for taking the Hot Air Balloon ride is located at Kandawgyi Park. It’s flying from the morning to the sunset and it takes around 15 minutes the ride. Prices per ride is around $40 USD.
16. Ride the Ferry from Yangon to Visit Dala Village
The ferries depart from Pansodan Jetty in Yangon downtown just a few minutes walking distance from Sule Pagoda. The boats leave every 20 minutes from 5:30 am to 9 pm. Prices are around $5 USD for a return ticket. Once in the village, you can explore around the village and visiting temples.
17. Walking around Kandawgyi Lake
It’s easy to get Kandawgyi Lake from downtown. There are buses passing by or you can get Grab or taxi for $1 USD. You can even go walking around 25 minutes walking distance from city center.
The best time to visit is early morning or sunset time since There is an entrance fee of 1000 Kyats. It’s open from 4 am to 10 pm.
18. Go to Kalaywa Monastery
It’s located North Yangon close to the airport. If you visit early morning you will be able to watch alms givings to the monk around sunrise time. The monks walk barefoot around collecting food and donations.
19. Ride Local Buses
We enjoyed the local buses rides moving around the city. The driver has no change and you have to pay ` per person when going inside the bus. The buses has air conditioning and they are super crowded depending the routs that you take. Going to Aung Mingalar Bus Station the bus was always full.
20. Drink at local beer stations
There are many beer stations around Yangon. Around sunset time is the perfect time to visit them. It’s full of locals and you can get a beer for less than $1 USD. We loved it there plus Myanmar beer tastes good!
21. Day Trip to Bago
Bago is about two hours away from Yangon. It’s a perfect place for a day trip and getting along with local people. In Bago, you can rent a bicycle and visit their pagodas. Seeing the Shwethalyaung Buddha or RecliningBuddha is also a must for tourists because it is one of the biggest Buddha statues in Southeast Asia.
These attractions are outside the city of Bago. Just a few kilometers from city center. From Bago is easy getting by bicycle to the Buddhas attraction. You need to pay a day ticket to see all the touristic places. It’s around $10 USD at that time.
22. Day trip to Golden Rock Pagoda
Kyaiktiyo Pagoda was one of my favorite destination in Myanmar. I slept in Kinpun and from there I walked a few hours to get the Golden Rock. The way was really nice. It’s a pilgrimage way. Burmese people were happy and curious to meet you and they were telling me Mingalaba (hello). You can find during the way different places to drink water, juice or buy food on your way to the Golden Rock.
Once you finished your walked, you will see a huge Golden Rock where Burmese people are praying. You can go and touch the Golden Rock but only if you are a man. Women aren’t allow to go inside the Golden Rock. After spending time in the Pagoda, I went back walking to Kinpun. If you don’t want to do the pilgrimage way. There are trucks which are bringing people up to the Golden Rock and down to Kinpun.
What to eat in Yangon and Food to Try in Yangon
999 Shan Noodle
Our favorite local restaurant in Yangon. There are many local dishes to try and also you can find dishes from Southeast Asia cuisine like Thailand and Vietnam. Prices are affordable and they always offer free tea. There are a few 999 Shan Noodle restaurants around city center in Yangon. We just visited the one near Sule Pagoda 5 minutes walking distance. You can just type their name in Google maps to find it!
Indian Restaurant in Yangon city center. There is an extensive Indian list of dishes to try. The service was good and prices were affordable $5-6 USD per person. Our favorite was Naan cheese and Nan garlic since we aren’t really good with hot food.
You can find shan noodles (rice noodles with chicken, peanuts and chilli flakes) for half dollar in the street. The cheapest that I found was 500 Kyats. Burmese people have for brekfast mohinga which is a rice noodle and fish soup.
You can find samosas as Indian influence which I love. You can find barbecue like Chinese influence. You can find salads in Myanmar. Green papaya salad, they add peanuts, tomatoes, and fried soya beans. It’s really spicy!
Where to Stay in Yangon
For our staying in Yangon, we stayed in two different areas. Around Inya Lake peaceful next to Myanmar Plaza. And near the embassies area in Yangon. Both places were amazing places to stay in Yangon. We will write them with details below.
It’s located in front of Inya Lake and close to Myanmar Plaza. It’s perfect to move around the sunset in the lake and you can go for a drink to Myanmar Plaza and going back to the hotel in just two minutes. The location is great and there is transportation available around. We loved it so much the pool area and especially the views to the lake from our room.
You will find great options for breakfast Western and local choices. Internet works really good at Sedona Hotel. And the club lounge offer free drinks from 6 pm to 8 pm with an amazing view to the lake. We spent our first night in Yangon at Sedona and Celina gave us the best tips to move around Yangon. Check out our pictures in the hotel below!
A Boutique Hotel quiet and peaceful. It’s located around the embassies area in Yangon. Our favorite area was the pool where the colors were amazing. We loved it the food in Belmond Governor’s and the tea one of our best ones ever.
We have the opportunity to meet the chef and for our surprise Karl Reyes was natural from the Philippines and he explained to us with details. Also if you visit Belmond Governor’s you will have the opportunity of meet the peacock walking around the hotel. Check out the pictures below.
For accommodation, you can find accommodation prices starting from $15-20 USD in a local guesthouse depending on how much you want to stretch your budget. Until luxury hotels in Yangon that can cost $100-300 USD for a room if you wish more comfort when visiting Yangon. Click here to get the best deals via Booking and Agoda
Festivals in Yangon
Thingyan Water Festival
Thadingyut Festival of Lights is celebrated in October and symbolizes the return of Buddha to paradise. Burmese people make offers in the pagodas and the most popular are the lantern lights in the sky at night.
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