Unrivalled food, fascinating history and sublime scenery in Yangon
- Blend of cultures and traditions
- Religious sites
- Burmese heritage
Yangon (formerly called Rangoon) is the formal capital of Myanmar (Burma) and has been marked as the largest city, the center of commerce and logistics and also a popular destination in Myanmar tourism. Located in the lower Myanmar on the east bank of the Hlaing River (Yangon River), Yangon is glistering with temples and unique architecture blending with gorgeous landscapes, creating a unique blend of cultures and traditions and Burmese heritage that is perfect for relics-sightseeing tours. This charming city draws flocks of investors and international visitors in recent years with numerous attractions, so make sure you read some guides about Yangon before coming here.
WHAT TO DO AND TO SEE IN YANGON?
As Yangon offers so many featuring attractions ranging from religion, culture to cuisine, it can be confusing in choosing places to visit in Yangon or where to learn the most authentic lifestyle of the locals. Let us help you with some guidance on what to do and what to see in Yangon!
If you were to visit just one attraction in Yangon, that should definitely be Shwedagon, the symbol of Myanmar tourism and the most sacred Buddhist temple in the country. Often called the Great Dragon Pagoda and the Golden Pagoda, This is an impressive 326-foot tall (99 meters) gilded structure that’s believed to contain relics of four previous Buddhas. The entire stupa is covered in gold plates and the temple complex is comprised of several shrines, monuments, and other secondary structures. As the pagoda is located to the west of Kandawgyi Lake, a visit before sunset is also highly recommended to capture the beautiful view. Many tourists mistakenly thought that Shwedagon was just like any other Buddhist pagodas, but then totally changed their mind when seeing it with their eyes, so don’t forget to put Shwedagon Pagoda on the list if you are intending a trip to Yangon!
Sule Pagoda is a Burmese stupa located at the heart of downtown Yangon and even said to be older than Shwedagon Pagoda. With its prime position and outstanding architecture, this city's landmark has served as the rallying point for key political demonstrations in the city more than once. Besides the center constructions, tourists can visit the circular structure housing small shops around Sule, where services such as astrology and palmistry are offered. It’s easy enough to visit on your own but if you’d like to go on a guided tour for more knowledge about the attraction, then you can check out our Yangon city tours and put Sule Pagoda on a tailor-made itinerary.
A giant Buddha statue is no stranger, but have you ever seen a reclining Buddha statue that is 66 meters (215 feet) in length? See the Giant Reclining Buddha at Chaukhtatgyi Paya on your Yangon explosion. Visiting here, you can see the impressive footprint of the Budhha statue with 108 marks, as well as many smaller Buddha statues sprinkled around the place. Though Chaukhtatgyi Paya isn’t as famous as some of Yangon’s other temples, you can easily find a Yangon package tour that stops at this attraction.
If you want to combine a religious experience with sightseeing the panoramic view of the Yangon River, include Botahtaung Pagoda in your Yangon trip. Built by the Mon around the same time as the Shwedagon Pagoda and is believed to be 2500 years old. The pagoda is hollow within and houses the sacred hair of Gautama Buddha. No matter whether you visit this place on foot or on Myanmar River Cruises, the full picture of this 40-meter attraction is remarkable and worth to be taken hundreds of pictures.
Located within the Kandawgyi Gardens - a popular 260-acre park, lake and recreation area, Kandawgyi Lake offers a fabulous view across the water towards the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda. More than that, the artificial lake is an orchid garden, a playground for children, a mini zoo containing souvenir shops and many local restaurants especially Karaweik Palace, an impressive replica of the royal barge.
When it comes to the trading spot, Yangon certainly owns many markets worth visiting but the most popular one is Bogyoke - Aung San Market. With more than 2,000 shops and a big selection of handicrafts, souvenirs, textiles, jewelry, antiques and many more, you can wander around and search for a perfect gift for your family or eat at one of the many traditional Myanmar and Chinese food stalls in the market. You can take time to explore over numerous shops of the market, but if you prefer a guided journey, check out the Yangon walking tour or other Yangon day tours including this stop.
There are many other things to do and to see in Yangon. Explore the Burmese dishes here if you are gourmet as Yangon cuisine will surely give you a satisfying menu. In case tasting the most highlighted local food is important to you, there’s no better way to do that than by going on a food tour because, you know, no one knows local food better than a local. If you want to learn about the making process and the hidden stories of what you eat, join some cooking classes for a fun, hands-on way to familiarize yourself with Yangon's culinary culture.
WHAT TO EAT AND DRINK IN YANGON?
The charm of Yangon travel not only comes from the beautiful temples and pagodas, but it also arises from the variant and enticing specialties in this land. A Yangon tour will not be fulfilled until you try some special dishes in the “culinary symphony” of Yangon.
One of the must-try food is Mohinga, an unofficially national dish as it is the most popular breakfast and comforting dish in Myanmar. Served with the crispy fried bean fritters, boiled eggs, onions and the sliced tender core of banana steam, this dish can be flavored up with some drops of lime juice, fish sauce or dry chili powder depending on your taste. As for the popularity of the food, you can easily find a good eatery by searching on the Internet or with help of your tour guide.
La Phat Thoke (Tea Leaf salad) is another unique food in Yangon and Myanmar in general. Burmese frequently enjoy this traditional dish for its combination of soft, bitter, sour and spicy tastes. You can try it in either restaurants or streetside stalls. Once you try it, you will understand why Burmese people love it.
Taste Shan noodle soup to truly taste the local traditional cuisine. The term “shan” refers to Burmese people from Shan state in northeast Myanmar. Also made with rice vermicelli like Mohinga, the taste of Shan noodle features marinated chicken or pork, juicy tomatoes, garnished with toasted sesame or garlic oil and can be served as soup or salad.
The culinary journey in Yangon contains many more specialties such as Nan Gyi Thote (a kind of noodle salad), Akyaw Sone (Burmese Tempura), Si Htamin (Yellow Sticky Rice) and Bein Mont. Take your time exploring the famous dishes on your own or on a food tour to satisfy your stomach, also to learn more about an interesting aspect of Yangon.
WHEN TO VISIT YANGON?
Like many cities in Southeast Asia, Yangon experiences two distinctive rainy and dry seasons. From May until October, the city suffers from regular bucketful rains and storms, while the dry season is from November until April. It is certainly best for you to go on Yangon tours during the dry season, but March and April are two of the hottest months (often hitting 40°C), so the ideal time to visit is from around mid-November until February - when the clear blue sky appears every day and the temperature is indeed ideal.
THE TOURS FROM YANGON
The tourist attractions in Yangon are considerably close together, so it is popular for tourists to take on walking tours. For instance, after visiting Sule Pagoda, you can walk to the nearby Bogyoke Market (Scott Market), Yangon Center Railway Station and Saint Mary’s Cathedral. You can own a trip yourself or book a package tour to visit the most outstanding places in Yangon. A walking tour can be combined with a street food tour for a more complete journey to explore Yangon. Take a bite of the delicious food while unhurriedly following your tour guide to the gorgeous constructions in Yangon, and you will fall in love with this traditional yet bustling city.
If you have enough time in Yangon and want to travel beyond this city, you might want to arrange a day tour or multi-day tour to nearby areas.
Golden Rock 2 day trip
The Golden Rock is one of the most unique attractions in Myanmar, and it is totally convenient to take a two day trip departing from Yangon to Kyaikhtiyo to visit this shimmering spot. The gold-leaf-covered rock can look precarious, but the boulder is said to maintain its balance thanks to a single hair of the Buddha being enshrined inside the pagoda. Visiting here, you will have a chance to see the interesting rock and observe the prayers worshipping or applying gold leaf to the boulder while seeing the spectacular view of the valley below. The route to the sacred boulder will be even more memorable as you will hop on an open truck, just like the locals do as this is the only way to go up there.
Bago: full-day sightseeing tour
A day trip to Bago city can be a good idea to explore the surrounding area of busy Yangon, as Bago is only 91 km northeast of Yangon. The first stop of the day trip should be the impressive Taukkyan War Cemetery, as the place is on the way from Yangon towards Bago. Well taken care of by Myanmar people, the ancient headstones keep their original shapes and the surrounding green wards brighten up the landscape. Tourists usually take some photos here before arriving at Bago.
Bago, the 15th Century Mon Kingdom, also Second Myanmar Empire attract tourists with Buddhist monuments, Paddy fields, bamboo and timber logs and its famous cheroot industry. You can also visit the main market and Mon weaving community to learn about traditional handicrafts. During the guided tours, the local guide will tell you all the stories you want to know about the included places to make this day tour interesting yet knowledgeable.
We hope that the given information can help you with a useful guide for the best journeys in Yangon, Myanmar. Other than the attractions that we recommended, you can check out more tours to other regions in Myanmar like Mandalay, Inle Lake, Bagan,... Contact Myanmar Private Tour for booking or any further questions and we promise to give you the best advice!