Yangon is a city of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. The moment you set foot in the city, you’ll feel its unique energy – a mix of ancient traditions, modern innovation, and the hustle and bustle of a thriving metropolis. From the stunning gold-covered temples to the bustling markets filled with local delicacies, Yangon has something for everyone. And it’s not just the sights and sounds that make this city special – it’s the people. The locals are friendly, hospitable, and always ready to share a smile or a cup of tea. So, get ready for a day filled with adventure and let’s explore the best of Yangon!
Best Time to Visit Yangon
The best time to visit Yangon is during the cooler months of November to February, when the weather is relatively dry and pleasant, with daytime temperatures averaging around 30°C (86°F). This is the peak tourist season, so expect larger crowds and higher prices. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option and don’t mind the heat and occasional rain, you can consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of March to May or September to October. During these months, temperatures can soar up to 40°C (104°F) and humidity can be high, but you’ll still get to enjoy the city’s sights and sounds without the large crowds. Avoid visiting during the rainy season from June to August, when heavy rains and flooding can disrupt travel plans and make outdoor activities challenging.
A Few Facts About Yangon
- Yangon was the capital of Myanmar until 2006 when the government moved the capital to Naypyidaw, a purpose-built city in the centre of the country.
- The city’s name “Yangon” means “End of Strife” in Burmese. The city was given this name in 1755 by King Alaungpaya after he captured it from the Mon people.
- The city is also known for its colonial-era architecture, including the famous Strand Hotel and the Secretariat Building, where Myanmar’s independence hero Aung San was assassinated in 1947.
- The city is situated on the Yangon River, which flows into the Andaman Sea. The river plays an important role in the city’s economy, with cargo ships and passenger ferries travelling to and from the port.
- Yangon is home to a large population of Rohingya refugees who have fled persecution in neighbouring Myanmar’s Rakhine State. The Rohingya crisis has led to international condemnation of the Myanmar government and calls for greater protection of human rights.
What to do in Yangon, Myanmar in 24 Hours
If you only have one day to spend in the city, don’t worry – we’ve put together an itinerary of the top things to do and see in Yangon. From ancient temples to bustling markets and serene parks, this itinerary has something for everyone. So, let’s get started on our one-day itinerary in Yangon!
Start Your Day at Chaukhtatgyi Buddha Temple
Check in to your hotel and start your day at the Chaukhtatgyi Buddha Temple, one of the most revered and impressive religious sites in Yangon, Myanmar. The temple houses a massive reclining Buddha statue that stretches 65 meters in length and is adorned with colourful decorations. The statue exudes a peaceful and serene atmosphere, making it the perfect place to begin your day.
You can take your time exploring the temple, admiring the intricate details, and learning about its rich cultural and religious significance. The temple is also a popular spot for locals to come and pray, so you’ll have the chance to observe traditional practices and witness the daily rhythms of Yangon’s devout Buddhist community. Don’t forget to take off your shoes before entering the temple and dress modestly out of respect for the temple and its worshippers.
Continue to Shwedagon Pagoda
After visiting the Chaukhtatgyi Buddha Temple, your next stop should be the Shwedagon Pagoda, the most famous and iconic religious site in Yangon. One of the most revered Buddhist temples in the world – the pagoda is said to contain relics of four previous Buddhas and is covered in over 60 tons of gold leaf!
The towering golden stupa is surrounded by smaller temples and pagodas, and it is truly a breathtaking sight to behold. Take your time exploring the complex, marveling at the intricate details of the architecture, and learning about the fascinating history and traditions of the site. As you wander around, you will see devotees making offerings and performing rituals, adding to the mystical and spiritual atmosphere of the place.
Head to The Nearby Kandawgyi Lake and Park
After visiting the Shwedagon Pagoda, head to the nearby Kandawgyi Lake and Park, a picturesque green space that offers a peaceful retreat from the bustling city. Take a stroll along the lake’s tranquil shores, admiring the scenic views of the surrounding hills and the glittering Shwedagon Pagoda in the distance.
The park is home to a variety of flora and fauna, including beautiful orchids and rare bird species, making it a popular spot for nature lovers. You can also visit the Karaweik Palace, a stunning replica of a traditional Burmese royal barge that sits majestically on the lake’s edge.
Have Lunch at Bogyoke Aung San Market
After enjoying the peaceful scenery of Kandawgyi Lake and Park, head to the bustling Bogyoke Aung San Market for a delicious lunch. The market is a vibrant hub of activity, filled with countless stalls selling everything from traditional snacks to exquisite handicrafts and souvenirs.
Take your time exploring the market and sampling the delicious food on offer. You can try some local delicacies like mohinga (fish soup with noodles) or samosas (fried pastry filled with savoury filling) from one of the many food vendors. The market also has plenty of sit-down restaurants offering a range of cuisines, so you are sure to find something that suits your taste buds.
Take a Walk Around the Historic Downtown Area of Yangon
After lunch, take a leisurely walk around the historic downtown area of Yangon to soak in the city’s rich cultural heritage. The area is home to many colonial-era buildings, including the grand City Hall and the elegant Strand Hotel, which have been lovingly preserved and restored. As you walk along the tree-lined streets, you will also see many bustling markets and street vendors selling everything from fresh produce to handmade crafts.
Take your time to explore the area’s hidden alleyways and narrow streets, which are lined with colourful buildings and local shops. You can also visit the Bogyoke Aung San Museum, which is dedicated to the life and legacy of the Burmese independence hero Aung San.
Visit Sule Pagoda
No visit to Yangon is complete without a stop at the iconic Sule Pagoda. Located in the heart of downtown Yangon, the pagoda is a significant religious site that has stood for more than 2,000 years. Its glittering gold exterior and unique octagonal shape make it a prominent landmark in the city’s skyline. Take a stroll around the pagoda’s perimeter, admiring the intricate details of the architecture and the beautiful gardens that surround it.
Inside, you can light a candle and make a wish or offer a prayer at one of the many shrines. Sule Pagoda is also a popular spot for locals to gather and relax, making it a great place to people-watch and soak in the vibrant atmosphere of the city.
End The Day With The Night Market on Strand Road
To cap off your day in Yangon, head to the Night Market on Strand Road for an unforgettable experience. The market comes to life in the evening, with colourful lights and a lively atmosphere that draws locals and tourists alike. Here, you can find a wide variety of goods, from clothing and accessories to souvenirs and street food. The aromas of grilled meats, fresh seafood, and sizzling noodles will tempt your taste buds as you explore the market.
Take your time browsing the stalls, haggling with vendors, and sampling the delicious food on offer. The Night Market on Strand Road is a perfect way to immerse yourself in the local culture and experience the vibrant energy of Yangon at night.
Where to Stay In Yangon
Wyndham Grand Yangon
Corner of Kan Yeik Thar Road and U Aung Myat Road Mingalar Taung Nyunt Township, 11221 Yangon
The Wyndham Grand Yangon is a luxurious five-star hotel located in the heart of the city of Yangon in Myanmar. The hotel has several dining options to choose from, including the Grand Cafe, which serves a selection of international dishes in a casual setting, and the Mizu Japanese restaurant, which offers authentic Japanese cuisine in a sophisticated atmosphere. The hotel also has a lobby lounge and a rooftop bar, where guests can relax and enjoy a variety of cocktails and beverages. The Wyndham Grand Yangon is well-equipped for business travellers, with several meeting rooms and a business centre on-site. The hotel also has a fitness centre, a spa, and an outdoor pool, providing guests with ample opportunities to unwind and rejuvenate during their stay.
42 Than Lwin Road, Bahan, 11211 Yangon
The Winner Inn Yangon is a budget-friendly hotel located in the heart of the city of Yangon in Myanmar. The hotel’s location is ideal for those who want to explore the city, with many of its popular attractions such as the Sule Pagoda, Bogyoke Aung San Market, and the National Museum located nearby. The Winner Inn Yangon has an on-site restaurant that serves a variety of local and international dishes and a bar where guests can relax and enjoy a selection of beverages. The hotel also has a rooftop terrace where guests can take in panoramic views of the city. The hotel has a 24-hour front desk and offers services such as luggage storage and laundry facilities. There is also a business centre on-site for guests who need to work during their stay.
Best Western Chinatown Hotel
127-137, Anawrahta Road, Corner of Lanmdaw Street, Yangon downtown, 00127 Yangon
The Best Western Chinatown Hotel is a stylish and modern hotel located in the heart of Yangon’s Chinatown. This hotel is an excellent choice for travellers looking for a comfortable and convenient stay in the city. The hotel has a range of facilities to cater to guests’ needs, including a fitness centre, a business centre, and a 24-hour front desk. There is also a restaurant on-site, which serves a range of local and international dishes, and a bar where guests can enjoy a drink after a long day of exploring the city. The location of the hotel is one of its major selling points, as it is situated in the vibrant Chinatown area of Yangon. The hotel is within walking distance of many local attractions, including the Sule Pagoda, Bogyoke Market, and the Yangon River. There are also many restaurants, cafes, and shops in the area, making it an ideal base for exploring the city.
Day Trips From Yangon
Take the tour that takes you to explore the ancient city of Bago, located about 80 kilometres from Yangon! The tour includes a visit to the magnificent Shwemawdaw Pagoda, the tallest pagoda in Myanmar. You’ll also get to see the historic Kyaikpun Pagoda and the famous reclining Buddha at Shwethalyaung Pagoda. The tour also includes a visit to the Taukkyan War Cemetery, which commemorates Allied soldiers who died in Myanmar during World War II. Lunch is included in the tour, giving you the chance to enjoy traditional Burmese cuisine. The tour is led by an experienced guide who will share insights and stories about the history and culture of the region.
If you’re looking for an exciting day trip from Yangon, you might want to consider the full-day excursion to Golden Rock. This tour will take you on a scenic journey through the countryside, past verdant rice fields and rural villages. When you reach the base camp, you’ll board a truck for an exhilarating ride up the mountain to the famous Golden Rock. Once you arrive, you can explore the area and take in the stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Your expert guide will provide you with insights into the history and significance of this sacred Buddhist site. You’ll also have time to visit the nearby pagoda and monastery before returning to Yangon!
Thanlyin, located just a short drive from Yangon, Myanmar, is a great place to visit on a day trip. Formerly known as Syriam, this small town is steeped in history and culture. You can explore the colonial architecture of the Portuguese church, the ancient ruins of Kyaik-Khauk Pagoda, and the magnificent Thanlyin Bridge that spans the Bago River. Take a stroll through the local market and sample some of the delicious street food on offer. You can also visit the Kyauktan Pagoda, located on a small island just off the coast, accessible by boat. With its stunning views and rich cultural heritage, Thanlyin makes for an unforgettable day trip from Yangon!
Extra Tips for Visiting Yangon
- Bring cash (USD or local currency) as credit cards are not widely accepted.
- Book transportation in advance to avoid being ripped off by taxis.
- Be prepared for the heat and humidity, and bring appropriate clothing.
- Respect local customs and dress modestly, especially when visiting temples and pagodas.
- Try local food but be cautious with street food and make sure it is cooked properly.
- Consider hiring a guide or joining a group tour for safety and to learn more about the local culture.
- Have a flexible itinerary and be prepared to change plans if necessary.
Make sure you have everything you need
What to pack for your next trip?
Make your next trip as simple and as enjoyable as possible by packing smart. It’s amazing how much stress top travel items can save you, so choose carefully.
Things like lightweight travel backpacks, for example, are ideal for short trips and allow you to move around with ease, and a passport holder will make sure you keep your documents safe at all times.
Check our travel checklist guide for 2021 to make sure you haven’t missed anything, and travel to your next destination in style and with maximum comfort.
Romi is a llama coach from Split, Croatia. This sounds made up but it’s true. She lived in Toronto, Canada for about ten years, give or take, but she wasn’t working with llamas. She was working in PR, restaurants, daycares, one yoga clothing store. She doesn't know how she got that job as she has never done yoga at that point. She taught English in Colombia and Vietnam. Traveled the world for two years. Then she got into writing. Actually, she was always writing, but then someone paid her to write. Then more people paid because they saw she was making them money. Then it became a thing she does for a living. And here we are now. Specializing in travel, real estate, and digital nomad guides, familiar with SEO, and always ready to learn something new so she can branch out and take over the world.