Myanmar’s biggest and busiest city, Yangon -- also known as Rangoon -- is a destination to visit thanks to its beautiful temples and overflowing culture that is so well preserved.
Considered as the artistic and economic hub of Myanmar, Yangon stands as a solid proof of the rush of development that came to the country since it opened its doors to the world. The old and the new blend in seamlessly in this city — apart from its interesting historical sites, the place is also filled with bars, restaurants, and shops. While at Yangon, the activities you can do are endless.
Yangon is a place where you can experience both religion and culture. The city’s belief is so beautifully portrayed in its temples — visit the golden Shwedagon Pagoda and the popular Sule Pagoda and you’ll see the impressive architecture and the sacred beliefs that moulded the people. The gastronomic flavours of Myanmar entice tourists to go on a food tour and Yangon is filled with dining places offering unforgettable delicacies. Delight your taste buds and get to know the local scene firsthand by visiting Yangon’s local fresh market, Bogyoke Aung Sun Market, and Chinatown. Break free from the city’s fast-paced life by making a stop at Kandawgyi Park — the sprawling lawns and endless greenery is nothing short of relaxing. You need not go far to enjoy Yangon’s iconic attractions — take a walk around the city and drop by Myanmar National Museum or see the famous Reclining Buddha.
Yangon International Airport is the main entry point for both international and local flights. Airlines that fly to Yangon include Philippine Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Air Asia, Jetstar Asia, Korean Air, and Singapore Airlines. Daily domestic flights to Yangon are available via Myanmar Airlines International.
From the airport, board a shuttle to Yangon city proper. Taxis also offer services at MMK8000 (USD 5.5).
Trains from Mandalay to Yangon leave early in the morning — between 2:00 and 3:00 — and have fares ranging from USD 10 to USD 50 depending on the class you’ve availed. Trains from Bagan to Yangon leave the station around 16:00 and arrive in the city at 9:00. Fares start from MMK 16,000 (USD 11.5).
Those coming from Bagan, Kalaw, Mandalay, Bago, Hpa-an, and Pyay can take the bus to Yangon. Buses leave the station at 9:00, and from 18:00 to 21:00. Fares start at MMK 15,000 (USD 10.8).
Yangon is a well-developed city in Myanmar, thus, ATMs and banks can be found everywhere. One ATM is available in the airport, and the rest can be found all over the city. Currency exchange services are available in authorised stores. When it comes to foreign exchange, back deals are highly discouraged. Make sure your bills come clean and new — some stores reject bills that look old and torn.
Like other Southeast Asian nations, Yangon has a dry and wet season. Dry season — with very hot and humid weather — runs from March to May. It is during this time that the Buddhist New Year Celebrations take place. The wet season starts from June and ends in October — if you’re visiting outdoor sights, the heavy rain can get in the way. The best time to visit is from November to February — rain showers are rare and the temperature is relatively cooler compared to other months.
Yangon is a big city that can be navigated via bus, taxi, and trishaws. Taking a taxi is the cheapest (USD 1.11 to USD 3) and the most convenient way of getting around the city. However, the relentless traffic can get in the way. Bus services are available to those traveling distant attractions. For shorter distances, avail of the trishaw for USD 2 to USD 4.
To experience the city’s exciting flavours, head to downtown Yangon where you’ll find some of the country’s most popular dishes. Try Yangon’s ultimate comfort food — the Shan noodles of Aung Mingalar Shan Noodle House — which is a flavourful beef noodle with fresh dumplings. For meat lovers, indulge in Paratha (curry chicken with chickpeas) of Unison Tea House, the Golden Duck of 8th Mile Pyay Road, and Myanmar pork barbecue of Insein Road. On a hot day, order the falooda (yoghurt drink) or a serving of Myanmar beer.
Yangon is a mix of everything — busy and tranquil, chaotic and beautiful. Make sure to experience everything about it as you meditate in its pagodas, and as you haggle in one of its fresh markets.