Compared to all the beautiful places in Myanmar- Yangon is not that great. However, it is often an unavoidable city as many people fly in here and so you should spend a day or two checking it out.
I know that I am not hyping it up much but Yangon does have some things to see. In fact, there are a few things here that are beautiful to see. I’ll start you off with the best.
This is one of the most famous landmarks in Myanmar. It is 100 meters of gold and beautiful from a distance and even more so up close. As you can imagine many travelers come to visit the pagoda but it is also busy with many locals. I was surprised to find the locals just as enchanted with the giant pagoda as the travelers. There were many locals taking pictures during their visit.
This pagoda is quite unique because like most pagodas you walk around it in a circle but there are also many shrines off to the side for you to visit or pray in. As well, you will find many monks walking around here.
I almost wouldn’t recommend you seeing this pagoda first because all others might pail in comparison. Visit at least one pagoda first so that you can truly appreciate the Schwedegon Pagoda for all its glory.
Locals get in free but tourists have to pay 8,000 MYR (about $6 USD).
This was the first Pagoda that I visited in Myanmar and chances are that it will be a lot closer to where you are staying since it’s located to many of Yangon’s other (yet limited) attractions.
This pagoda is hilarious to me because it actually doubles as a traffic circle. Talk about being resourceful.
This temple you will have some people approach you and try to show you around. They are ‘volunteers” who are looking for a donation for their help. There are also some monks that come here to talk to foreigners to practice their English.
This pagoda is less expensive to enter at 4,000 KRW or 3 USD.
Dala is technically another town but with it being just a five minute ferry ride across the river from Yangon it doesn’t seem that way. The ferry ride and about 4,00MYR round trip. Once you get to Dala you will be bombarded by motorbike drivers and tuk-tuk drivers to show you around.
Chances are that if it is you first day in Myanmar that you will get ripped off here because it is hard to bargain when you don’t know the cost of things yet. Just bargain hard and know that the first price they give you is way too high. They don’t rip you off everywhere in Myanmar but for some reason in Dala it is almost unavoidable.
My friend and I bargained on 5,000 MYR for 30 minutes. They ended up driving us around for 1.5 hours and charged us 15,000 MYR. We had agreed before getting in on a half an hour ride so we were pretty discouraged when they said they had taken us for an hour and a half- especially because they really only drove us to one place and we walked around there on our own two feet. They wanted to take us other places and I had to tell them we didn’t want to see anymore- I can only imagine how much that would have cost if we hadn’t told them to stop!
We talked to some other people who went to Dala and they said that they got ripped off too. However, all of us agreed that we thoroughly enjoyed our trip there.
Dala is a smaller and more quite city compared to Yangoon. We were taken to a village where we were walked around and talk to the locals. I was pretty surprised by how friendly and welcoming they were- it could have had something to do with the fact that my friend I was traveling with apparently looked like a local. The children were also to die for. I couldn’t get over how cute and friendly they were- it melted my heart.
Our guide then told us that if we wanted we could make a donation. Well, he kind of guilt-tripped us into that one.
He took us to a rice store where we could buy a bag of rice and they would give it to the village. When we asked how much the rice cost he told us 40, 000 MYR. Holey Moley! Rice is probably the cheapest food in the world and it is also one of the main crops in Myanmar so I couldn’t believe how much that was. It was a big bag but still I knew that the price was way too high. Still I felt like an asshole if I tried to bargain over a charity item so my friend and I decided to split a bag of rice.
In hindsight I would have asked to go back and deliver the rice to the village because we never actually got to see if it made it to them. Or I would have brought cash with me and just given it to the villagers directly as a donation.
Since we had spent time buying rice to make a donation we were pretty upset when after they charged us for this time too.
Once we bought the rice they wanted to take us to the orphanage. Oh gosh. I could just imagine the guilt tipping already. It’s not that I didn’t want to donate but I didn’t like the way we were almost being forced into it. I volunteered at an orphanage while living in South Korea and so used that to morally justify skipping out on the Dala orphanage.
This park isn’t anything too special and you will see it right next to the Suda Pagoda. If you come here in the heat of day find some shade under the tall statue. Be wary that many beggars and scammers will approach you here. They are nothing to be afraid of though because even the scammers are quite friendly. My friend and I had some children begging so we just gave them our snacks and juice that we didn’t want to finish.
The best time to visit the park is when the locals do- as the sun is setting. It is a nice place to sit and relax once the sun goes down and to enjoy a picnic.
Just like every big city on the face of this earth, Yangon has a China town too. It’s not very big but you can come here for some Chinese food and snacks. They do have some beautiful Chinese temples if you feel like checking those out.
Overall if you head this way it won’t take you long to explore and it’’s just up from the night market.
I love food and so I loved the night market in Yangon. It is located between China town and the river. It is just one long strip that seems to go on forever. You will see a lot of the same dishes being sold at different vendors Everything is pretty cheap here so I love trying one thing and then hoping over to the next stall to try the next dish that catches my eye.
As a vegetarian I found that there were many options to try. I never got sick from eating anything but I am sure that being vegetarian helps.
There is one stand that you will see quite often at night markets in Myanmar that is a bunch of meat in the center and locals sit in a circle around it eating from skewers of meat. My friend had it and said that it was pigs ear. She ate it but said that it wasn’t her favourite thing in Myanmar- I should hope not.
Anyway have fun discovering all sorts of new and tasty dishes!
This lake is nice for a stroll if you feel like walking some more. As well they have a famous golden duck restaurant. Basically this restaurant is shaped like a duck, is gold and floats on the water. Come here for dinner if you feel like treating yourself to a nice night out.
It is best to come here around 4 pm when the sun is lower in the sky and not too hot- otherwise it will be more miserable than enjoyable.