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Updated by Joanna James on Aug 23, 2023
Headline for The Best Things to Do in Yangon – Embrace the Natural, Cultural, and Historical Allure of Myanmar
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The Best Things to Do in Yangon – Embrace the Natural, Cultural, and Historical Allure of Myanmar

Yangon, Myanmar's largest city, is an intoxicating blend of cultures, traditions, and the rapidly evolving pulse of modernity. Here are some of the best things to do in this beautiful city.

1

Marvel at the Shwedagon Pagoda

The Shwedagon Pagoda is not just a site to see; it's an experience that captures the very essence of Myanmar's spiritual soul. Standing at an impressive 99 metres, the main stupa is covered in gold plates and adorned with thousands of diamonds and other precious stones. Visitors are encouraged to explore the various shrines, halls, and sculptures surrounding the main stupa. Arriving at sunset will allow you to witness the changing colours of the pagoda as it sparkles in the evening light. Also, the pagoda is just seven minutes from PARKROYAL Yangon, one of the 5 star hotels in Yangon.

2

Explore Colonial Architecture

The remnants of British colonial rule are scattered throughout Yangon, with architectural gems displaying Victorian, Queen Anne, Neoclassical, and Art Deco styles. The City Hall, a stunning combination of Western and Burmese design, is particularly noteworthy. Joining a guided walking tour of the city will offer a comprehensive understanding of the historical context of these buildings and the way they shape Yangon's distinctive character.

3

Experience the Local Markets

Among the bustling markets, the Bogyoke Aung San Market stands as a living museum of Yangon's commercial heritage. You can lose yourself in the labyrinth of over 2,000 shops, each filled with locally crafted goods, textiles, antiques, and food. The nearby Thiri Mingalar Market provides a more authentic experience, with fresh produce, fish, and various street food vendors offering a tantalising taste of Myanmar's culinary diversity.

4

Relax at Kandawgyi Park

Kandawgyi Park is more than just a green space; it's a natural refuge where visitors can rent paddle boats, walk along well-maintained paths, or simply sit and watch the local families enjoying their leisure time. The iconic Karaweik Palace, shaped like a mythical bird, stands on the eastern shore of Kandawgyi Lake and is a perfect backdrop for photographs.

5

Take a Circular Train Ride

The Yangon Circular Railway isn't just a mode of transportation; it's a window into the daily lives of Yangon's citizens. This three-hour, 46-kilometre journey offers a view of Yangon rarely seen by tourists. From the rustic countryside to the urban sprawl, this train ride presents a series of contrasting images that narrate the story of Yangon's diverse populace.

6

Visit the Chaukhtatgyi Buddha Temple

Housing one of the most revered reclining Buddha statues in the country, the Chaukhtatgyi Buddha Temple is a must-visit. The enormous statue, measuring 66 metres in length, showcases intricately detailed features, including the eyes, which are made of special imported material to make them appear lifelike. Spend some time meditating or absorbing the tranquillity of this special place.

7

Take a Ferry to Dala

A short ferry ride from the main city of Yangon takes one to Dala, a small town that offers a glimpse into rural life. Once in Dala, you can hire a trishaw, a cycle rickshaw, to explore local markets, fishing villages, and serene monasteries. The journey provides a stark contrast to Yangon's urban landscape and offers a unique opportunity to engage with local communities.

8

Indulge in Yangon's Culinary Scene

Yangon's food scene is as diverse as its cultural heritage. From street-side vendors selling delicious Mohinga, a traditional fish soup, to upscale restaurants offering international cuisine, Yangon's culinary landscape is rich and varied. Sampling local dishes like Shan noodles and tea leaf salad is an essential part of the Yangon experience. For the most authentic culinary experience, visit one of the local markets.

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