Yangon Travel Guide
Although famed for the wonderful Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon has a diverse assortment of attractions (including the elephant ride) for the average traveller to take delight in. Typically cosmopolitan and yet retaining a mystical Burmese aura about its architecture, Yangon remains one of the most important commercial and cultural hubs in the country. Until recently (in 2005), Yangon was the capital of the country and thus, contains many colonial and Secretariat building complexes in its midst as well. You will, no doubt, enjoy your stopover here, while on a vacation to Myanmar.
How to Get to Yangon
Yangon is one of the most well-connected areas in Myanmar. The Yangon International Airport has flights from most major destinations like Ho Minh City, Kolkata, Seoul and New Wales. Thus, if you’re looking for a direct flight from your place to Myanmar, the Mingledon Airport here would be your best bet. Moreover, Yangon is well connected by train and road to most towns in Myanmar as well.
Yangon Attractions and Sightseeing
From pagodas, to palaces, to shrines, to upscale markets, Yangon has it all! You are advised to explore the following places in the town:
The Shwedagon Pagoda. Also called the Golden Pagoda by many thanks to its entire dome structure bearing a golden hue, this pagoda has a 2600 year history to it and is one of the most important Buddhist shrines in the world. Exploring the 99 feet high pagoda would take you almost half day and leave you with an enthralling experience. You simply cannot miss this Burmese landmark.
The Allied War Cemetery. This park is built as a memorial to the martyrs who were killed during the Second World War on behalf of England in the Allied Group. This landmark is synonymous of the 150-year English rule that Burma was subjected to, before it established itself as a military power.
The Bogyote Market. Also called Scott’s Bazaar, the Bogyote Market is one of the most marvellous locations in Yangon. You can find relics, artefacts, important Buddha idols, and many other souvenirs to take home at the Bogyote Market. However, please note – haggling skills are a must here.
The National Museum of Myanmar. A beautiful structure very close to the Shwedagon Pagoda is the National Museum of Myanmar. There are rich cultural exhibits on display in the museum with a wide range of artefacts, relics, and other items for you to take delight in.
The Kandagwui Park. For those looking to relax in verdant meadows and grasslands, the Kandagwui Park with almost 25% of water bodies in its midst is a welcome respite from the sophistication and the overwhelming Yangon crowds. You could play golf at certain golf courses erected here too.
Weather at Yangon
Though Yangon has awesome weather throughout the year with no major disturbances ever recorded to deter travellers, we recommend visiting the place during the winter months from November to February when the climate is pleasant and not so cold either. Summers could get scorching but still be bearable, when compared to destinations like East India and Bangkok. On the other hand, the place receives scant rainfall so the Monsoon is not a huge deterrent either.
Food at Yangon
Yangon is one of the few places in Myanmar where you could hope to find universal cuisine available on the streets with good hygiene. Indian food is redundant in Yangon with almost every street restaurant serving you delicious meat rice flavoured with saffron and other spices, curries, and flat Indian bread. You could also find sushi, Thai, and continental good in abundance. Like we said, English, Swiss, Australian and American food is also available in plenty here, albeit modified to suit traditional Thai and Malay variants. Seafood is immensely popular in Yangon and you mustn’t leave without sampling some authentic seafood specialties.
Yangon Culture and Hospitality
Yangon is completely cosmopolitan in its temperament, design, and culture. There are rich British influences in the way of life here and certain Indian and Bangladeshi shades of influence are also noticed in the architecture and way of life. The people are friendly in Yangon and will go out of their way to help you find whatever you are looking for.
However, you must make sure you do not disrespect their customs and more so, do not make snide comments about the politics and military regression going on in the State. Though people in Yangon are more appreciative of the Liberation Movement going on in the state, they wouldn’t take kindly to comments from foreigners!
Dos and Don’ts at Yangon
Yangon is over populated and you will find hordes of people surviving below the poverty line. However, in spite of the destitute state of the place, it remains safe for travellers as pick-pocketing and petty thefts on the roads are an extremely rare occurrence. Nevertheless, you should keep in mind the following –
You must be very respectful of local Buddhist customs when you visit the Shwedagon Pagoda. You would need to wear a long skirt or trousers and remove footwear before entering the premises.
Make sure you never drink tap water here. Though most of Myanmar is filthy, Yangon is the filthiest place in the nation. You must drink only bottled water after making sure the seal is still on.
There is scant nightlife here. You’d better stick with the group you are travelling with and spend the night in your hotel room or resort. Venturing out into the countryside or beaches at night is strictly prohibited.
Yangon Budget Vacation Tips
Yangon is costly when compared to the rest of Myanmar. However, beware when you try to save money here. When you choose cheap food and cheap beverages, you ultimately sacrifice your health and holiday spirit.
A trip to Yangon would definitely be the hallmark of your vacation to Myanmar. We are sure you’ll have a lovely time exploring the beautiful locality.