When we booked our trip to Myanmar, we allocated the most time to popular places like Bagan and Inle Lake. In doing so, we neglected a few other areas. Yangon was one of them. After one full day and night there, we truly wished we’d stayed a bit longer.
We hired a tour guide arranged through our hotel, the ParkRoyal. His name was Zaw and with his immense friendliness told us about his background, how he taught himself English, the history of Myanmar, the sites we visited, and the excitement in Burmese society regarding the democratization of the country.
However, a tour guide is not totally necessary. The city is safe for walking and taxis are extremely cheap.
An important pagoda in the city center. It won’t wow you, but it’s history and religious significance are very interesting.
A beautifully renovated hotel that captures the essence of a colonial-style building. An incredibly important landmark in Yangon. Staying here will put a huge dent in many people’s wallets.
This was undoubtedly the main attraction in Yangon. The main golden stupa is absolutely stunning, but the pagodas and temples that closely surround it create an enchanting site. If traveling in the hotter months of April and May, make sure you visit in the early morning or late afternoon. Otherwise, you’ll roast.
After spending a considerable amount of time at Shwedagon, our guide took us to Kandawgyi Lake. If you’re looking for some magnificent views of the lake with the pagoda as a backdrop, this is it.
Chinatown 19th Street
When it came to venturing out at night, we were nervous, but excited. We walked the downtown area for a bit and finally hopped on a cab to the much renowned 19th Street in Chinatown. The $2 cab ride there in itself was quite the experience. The streets were filled with people, markets, and food stations. Once we arrived to 19th Street, it was pure mayhem. We probably encountered only 10 other tourists. After intaking the scene of thousands of people drinking 60 cent Myanmar beer on the streets, we sat on the outdoor stools of a random restaurant and enjoyed some local dishes and beer.
We ended our night at the rooftop of the Alfa Hotel. It’s an old building with only plastic chairs to sit on, but the views of the city are breathtaking. This was a beautiful way to end our Yangon trip.