Situated about 30 km away from the Gulf of Martaban, in Lower Myanmar, at the junction of the Yangon and Bago Rivers is the city of Yangon, which has become one of the most attractive destinations of Myanmar thanks to its ancient and sacred sights.
2. BEST TIME TO VISIT YANGON
Yangon has a tropical monsoon climate which makes the weather in this city relatively hot and humid throughout the year. Like some Southeast Asia countries, this city features 2 seasons: dry (March - May) and wet (June - October) with low precipitation. In the dry season, particularly from mid April to May, the temperature is relative high with the average temperature of 38 degree Celsius in the day time. The months with the highest rainfall are July and August.
The most ideal time to visit Yangon is from November to February when it is more cooling and does not rain much which is suitable for sightseeing activities. However, this is also the high tourist season making the price goes higher than other times of the year.
Besides, visiting Yangon during the hot season from March to May is also a good idea if you want to experience the country's most colorful festivals: Shwedagon Pagoda Festival (often falls on February or March) and Thingyan Water Festival - Burmese New Year (often falls on April).
3. BEST THINGS TO DO IN YANGON
Remember to experience these highly - suggested destinations and activities in Yangon:
Visiting Shwedagon Pagoda
Ranked top in the list of must - visit places when coming to Yangon is the renowned architecture of Myanmar, the Shwedagon Pagoda. This 105-metre stupa is completely covered in gold, and Burmese people believe that Buddha relics are found inside the pagoda. Numerous of travelers and Buddhist flock to the pagoda mostly in the evening, when this stupa becomes an ideal place to watch sunset. Make sure to take off your shoes, as well as cover your legs and shoulders before entering Shwedagon Pagoda.
- Opening Hours: 04:00 am – 10:00 pm daily
- Admission Fee: $8 per person
- Address: No.1, Shwedagon Pagoda Road, Dagon Township
Explore Sule Pagoda
Listed just behind the Shwedagon Pagoda is Sule Pagoda, another iconic structure of Yangon that is worth spending time walking around. Sitting in the middle of the traffic circle, Sule Pagoda is not only regarded the center of the city but it also receives the attention and respect from many visitors and local people thanks to the captivating grandeur and beauty. This area is quite close to other destinations such as Maha Bandoola Park, City Hall, Immanuel Baptist Church and Independence Monument.
- Opening Hours: 04:00 am – 10:00 pm daily
- Admission Fee: $2 per person
- Address: the center of Yangon, at the junction of Sule Pagoda Road and Mahabandoola Road, Kyauktada Township
Shopping at Bogyoke Aung San Market
Bogyoke market, also known as Scott’s market, is an appropriate place to combine enjoying historic architecture and buying souvenirs. Unlike other traditional markets in the city where food is more various in the morning only, Bogyoke market is where you can try different, tasty dishes throughout the day. A useful tip for shopping in Bogyoke market is that you may bargain for half the quoted price; therefore, flex your bargaining powers to stretch your shopping budget.
- Opening hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (closing on Monday)
- Admission Fee: Free
- Address: in the heart of Yangon, on Bogyoke Aung San Road
Stroll around Kandawgyi Lake
The lake is located in the gorgeous Kandawgyi Nature Park, quite close to Shwedagon Pagoda, and nearby attractions are Karaweik Palace and Kandawgyi Park. What makes this artificial lake particular is that the sky’s changing color with the time of the day is litteringly reflected on the calm water surface. Kandawgyi Lake is also a perfect place for those who wishing to rest in quiet, peaceful atmosphere and stay away from crowded streets.
- Opening Hours: 4am – 10pm daily
- Admission Fee: around $1 per person (1000 kyat)
- Address: Natmauk Road and Kandawgyi Kanpat Road
Admire the Gigantic Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda
The Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda is well - known for its gigantic image of Reclining Buddha whose length is 65 meters. Remember to notice Buddha’s feet when you visit this pagoda, as there are 108 unique symbols representing the former lives of Buddha before attaining the Enlightenment.
- Opening Hours: 6am – 8pm daily
- Address: Shwe Gon Taing Road, Tamwe Township
Enjoy a Unique Ride on Yangon Circle Train
Participate in this three-hour journey and you will have a chance to witness both the daily routines of local people and the whole city trickling by outside windows. With no air - conditioner, no restroom and slightly uncomfortable seating; however, this basic train will be an interesting experience if you want to have a closer interaction with the hospitable and friendly residents. You had better take the ride as early as possible in the morning because Yangon life is most active just after dawn, before the day’s heat has woken up.
- Opening Hours: 6:10 am to 5:10 pm daily, departs every 45 minutes
- Ticket: 200 - 500 kyat (20 - 60 US cent)
- Location: Yangon’s downtown train station of Pansodan and Bogyoke Aung San Roads. Buy ticket on Platform 7 (passports are required for ticket purchase).
Taste Amazing Street Food
Each region diversely has certain type of street food culture, and Yangon is not an exception. Not only strongly influenced by neighboring country such as Thailand, India and China, but street food in Yangon also includes many dishes that are emblematic of Myanmar’s cuisine.
Make sure to try “myanmar pizza” crepes, a bowl of mohinga fish curry soup, tea leaf salad, and Indian toeshay, all are easy to find on the streets downtown.
4. THINGS TO BUY IN YANGON
Traveling to Myanmar, you should not miss this popular type of souvenir since this country is regarded mastering the art of sand paintings. Via sand paintings, travelers can visualize and discover the people, the cultural life, and the previous ages of Myanmar or even Buddha. This special gift can easily be found everywhere in Myanmar, including Yangon.
With a quite more expensive present, a Burmese gemstone painting is a suitable choice. This kind of painting has fascinating making process, consisting of crushing gemstones into bits, powdering and applying several colors for the paintings. Tourists can buy these paintings in Bogyoke market, Yangon.
Arts and Crafts
The rich culture and beautiful architecture of Myanmar are shown on many gifts such as palm leaves, wall murals, and parchment. Visiting Myanmar, you cannot miss one of the most recognized Burmese pieces of art is Marionette – an adorable form of puppet traditional entertainment in this country. Tourists can not only gaze with live wonderful marionette puppet show but also buy handcrafted wooden puppets as their personal souvenirs.
Longyi, a long wrap around skirt, is a traditional Burmese skirt worn by both genders in Myanmar. It is called “Pasu” when worn by men and named “Htamein” when used for women. There are a wide range of selections for travelers to choose the best suitable longyi base on the elaboration of the design and the materials. Tourists can get fine materials to make longyi from silk shops around Myanmar or they can buy the ready - made ones in some online shopping sites.
Gems and Pearl Artifacts
Myanmar is a great miner of various precious stones: ruby, jade, pearls, beads and pearl. Walking around big markets, visitors can spot many pearl products such as plates, cups, bowls and pearl caviar spoons. Yangon is an ideal place for travelers to find the best gems and pearl artifacts for their collections. However, remember to choose the reliable shops and ask for jewelry certification.
5. DO'S AND DONT'S
- Avoid using your left hand
- Watch where you point your camera
- Respect the local religious customs
- Point your feet
- Touch someone’s head
- Wear shoes in pagoda or on temple grounds
- Leave knees and shoulders exposed when visiting religious architectures
- Party, sleep or climb on pagoda where tourists are not permitted
- Drink tap water
- Visit restricted destinations
- Ride a motorbike in the city center of Yangon
- Change your money anywhere in the city, except for authorized money changers