If you’re flying in or out of Myanmar, chances are you’ll go through Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon.
This former country capital is the most bustling city in Myanmar with its tall office buildings, sidewalks overflowing with street vendors, and steadily honking cars whizzing by. If you’re first arriving here, the noise and staring locals can be a bit overwhelming, but you’ll soon find out that it’s not so scary.
Take a deep breath and get ready to see the sights, because…
Here is my full 48 Hour Itinerary for Yangon!
Itinerary : Day 1
Have breakfast at your hotel or hostel. Almost all of them will include it and you’ll need your energy for the day ahead. If it’s too hot to wear, bring something to cover your shoulders and knees when entering pagodas.
Start early at the Shwedagon Pagoda. This massive pagoda is number one on every recommendation list for Yangon. Personally, I love the pagodas in the rest of the country and if you’re starting here, you’ll soon realize this one is much larger and ornate than all the others, excessive even.
Bogyoke Aung San Market
Taxi over to the Bogyoke Aung San Market if you’re interested in shopping for gems, jewelry, or Longis. Prices here are higher than anywhere else, so if you have more time in the country, consider buying elsewhere. However, it’s a nice place to get an idea of the trinkets you’ll see in the rest of the country. If you’re buying something, absolutely bargain the prices down. Also stop by Coffee Melody on the top floor for a caffeine boost.
Walk down Sule Pagoda road towards the Sule Pagoda in the center of a busy round-a-bout. Before you reach it, walk over the pedestrian walkway to get head-on views over the highway.
999 Shan Noodle Shop
By now your stomach is probably screaming at you. Go one block over to 999 Shan Noodle shop for a taste of my favorite noodle soup in the country – Shan Noodle Soup! Definitely get steamed dumplings and an avocado (or mango if it’s in season) smoothie to go with it.
Kandawgi Park for Sunset
If you’re not dead yet, head to Kandawgi Park to escape the afternoon heat. Wander through the trees, over the rickety bridges, and even hit up the driving range where you can wack balls into the lake. Watch the sunset here and just relax.
19th Street Night Market
After you’ve had a rest, head to 19th street around 8 or 9pm for the night market. Grab a table and beer, maybe a plate of noodles, and watch the busy nightlife go by. You can also try some fried grasshoppers if your feeling brave.
Itinerary : Day 2
Lucky 7 Tea Shop
If you don’t want to eat at your hotel today, try Lucky Seven Tea shop. One of the best bangs for your buck and DELICIOUS! A meal of Parata, Dahl, and an Ice Coffee will run you about $1.50 which is arguably the best deal I found in Yangon.
Catch a cab to Botahtaung Pagoda, a lovely pagoda complex that claims to house some strands of Buddhas hair.
Walk or taxi just over to the ferry dock and catch a 4,000mmk return ferry to the other side of the river, Dala. They leave every 20 minutes so no need to rush. This side of the river is a different world and it’ll put your travels and the country into perspective. Walk a little past the craziness of the port and hire a tuk tuk to take you to the Bamboo Village, Fishing village, and even a local orphanage that no tourists ever visit. Really, it’s not even on the map. Hardly anyone speaks English on this side of the river but keep asking around and you’re sure to make it.
This was such a special part of the trip because the children in the villages hardly see tourists. Everyone from the babies to the elderly are genuinely friendly and happy to say hello and investigate you. You can donate to the local villages and to the orphanage which truly need and use the money for the kids. Living here is very basic, so prepared to be humbled. I opted not to take photos of the people and children out of respect and a pure desire to be 100% present.
Dinner & Drinks
When you’re ready for dinner, make your way to 800 Bowls for delicious handmade Chinese noodles. Then, walk right around the block to 7th joint bar & grill for a happy hour beer (buy one get one free).
Circular Train – Get even more of a local experience by taking this circular train around the city.
If you’re craving a slice of home…
Yangon Green Gallery for a tasty curry and mojito
50th Street Restaurant & Bar for Western food and to watch any sports
Where to Stay
Belmond Governors Residence
If budget is no issue, this oasis is the number 1 choice for Yangon. Located just outside the downtown area in the embassy neighborhood, you’ll get some serious R&R here. Book Here
The Lodge Yangon Hostel
One of the least expensive options in the city at $3 a night, this hostel has all the necessities for a pleasant stay. Hot showers, strong wifi, aircon, a great location, and free breakfast. My only issue was that the dorm rooms are very narrow with dark concrete walls, so it felt like a basement upon entering the room. However it was clean, pleasant, and I highly recommend it for the price.
Getting There and Away
From Yangon International Airport, you will need to get a taxi to the city center. It takes about 45 minutes and runs between 8,000-10,000mmk. With the Grab app you can get it to about 6,500mmk so download it before you go! As of June 2018, there is a very cost effective shuttle bus from the airport running to the Sule Pagoda. However if your hostel is not near here, you’ll have to then take a taxi, so a taxi right from the airport is the most convenient.
VIP buses run in and out of the city from Aung Minglar Bus Station, again 1 hour from the city center. Be sure to bargain for about 10,000-11,000mmk to get from the station to the city or use Grab to get an estimate depending on time of day.
As of right now (November 2018), I haven’t heard of or encountered any scamming or serious danger with taxis like there is in other Southeast Asian countries, just taxi drivers starting their prices a little high for bargaining room. Crossing my fingers it stays this way!
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