Things To Do In Yangon

Yangon Things To Do

Most visitors to Myanmar will have their first stop in Yangon and will, typically, hang around for some sightseeing for a day or two.

If you’re headed to Yangon and are looking for things to do, you will find this guide helpful and may even stay for 3 or 4 days!

Our list of what to do in Yangon includes some of the typical attractions that first time visitors should not miss as well as some additional, off the beaten path, spots that may surprise you!

What To Do In Yangon – The Biggest City In Myanmar

Though Yangon is not the capital of Burma (Myanmar), it sure feels like it because it is the biggest city in the country.

Formerly called Rangoon, it seems that because it used to be the administrative capital, it is still carrying the title of the commercial hub of the country.

What To do in Yangon - Downtown

With charming colonial architecture as remnants of its past and shimmering pagodas as reminders of its roots, the city is a place where one can wander the streets and feel it’s soul.

In this article, we’ll take you to the major hot spots of Yangon and even drift off to the outskirts for some insight into the local life beyond the hustle and bustle of the center.

We offer some *Bonus* must see places towards the bottom, so don’t miss those if you are planning out your Yangon itinerary!

1. Shwedagon Pagoda

Anyone who has ever been to Yangon, will undoubtedly recommend that visitors should check out Shwedagon Pagoda.

Yangon Things To Do - Scwedagon Pagoda

An impressive Pagoda, to say the least, Shwedagon Pagoda is the most sacred place to the Burmese people.

You’ll know why it’s worth a visit when you see the massive Pagoda up close, surrounded my several other smaller pagodas, stupas, and shrines with hundreds of Buddha statues in various sizes. It may seem almost endless!

With what it offers to the Buddhists of Myanmar, it is no wonder that they would hold Shwedagon Pagoda with such high regards and significance.

Yangon Things To Do - explore Shwedegon Pagoda

For tourists, it is also a wonder to see!

The pagoda has a height of 110 meters and is covered in gold plates. Not to mention over 4500  diamonds at the top, with the biggest being a whopping 72 carats!

We visited Shwedagon Pagoda just after sunset and would recommend that for others as well.

If you want to take your time and really walk around the property, you’ll have a better time doing it without the sun beating down on your head the whole time.

A visit during the day is nice too, but if you go just before sunset, you’ll get to see both versions of the pagoda!

2. Sule Pagoda

At the heart of the city of Yangon lies the Sule Pagoda. Streets from all sides merge at this spot as if to lead all to this important landmark.

A circular roundabout surrounds the pagoda’s property making it look like the cars that are coming through are all dancing around it!

Yangon Things To Do - Sule Pagoda Downtown

We never made it inside this wonderful pagoda but seeing it and the surrounding area early in the morning was a treat!

The day was just starting and you could feel the energy of the hustle and bustle surging as the minutes went by.

The Sule Pagoda, however, seemed to hold its serene atmosphere, creating a calm in the middle of the busy city center.

3. Bogyoke Aung San Market

Being that Yangon is not yet super touristy, you may have a hard time finding souvenirs around town. This is not necessarily a bad thing, in our opinion.

We were happy to walk around and just be exposed to the authentic local life rather than someone trying to sell us something at every corner.

Yangon Things To Do - shop at Bogyoke Aung San Market

Having said that, if you want to make some purchases of local things to take back home, you can find great products at this indoor marketplace.

Grab your souvenirs all in this one stop shop!

Pro-Traveler Tip: I purchased a traditional skirt or Thummy to wear for visiting the temples in Bagan. It was very fairly priced and came in handy for wearing something comfortable and having my knees covered!

4. Yangon Circular Railroad Ride

Take the circular train in Yangon if you want a relaxing and eye opening experience of local life in this Myanmar town.

Yangon Things To Do - Ride circular train

The train station can easily be accessed by taxi and the tickets are pretty cheap. This is a great budget activity for those visiting Yangon and are looking to explore without having to take a tour.

What to do in Yangon - circular train map

Unfortunately, for us, the train was not running early in the morning on the day we were planning to take it around.

We knew that getting on it later would return us too late and that would lead us to missing our flight.

The train takes about 3 hours to complete the loop and is a wonderful way to see something so uniquely local.

It is said that there may be upgrades done to the trains in the coming years, so if you want to see it in its original and antique form, you better hurry!

5. Explore The Streets Of Yangon Burma

See amazing colonial architecture!

Having been an international center for exchange, there’s a lot of historical architecture in Yangon.

I can imagine this place having something like the heritage sites in Singapore!

Right now it seems to be in this middle stage where it’s not quite what it used to be during the British rule of the 19th and early 20th century, but there is something that it wants to become.

Yangon Things To Do - see Colonial Architecture

Either way, take some time in Yangon to just walk around inside the city. There are some gorgeous buildings with so many beautiful colors all around town.

It gives one a nostalgic feeling that should really be savored while it lasts.

What to do in Yangon - explore streets

6. Eat Myanmar Food And Drink Tea

Local food stalls are the best for Myanmar’s famous Shan noodles, but you can also get some great dishes at restaurants like Rangoon Tea House.

What to do in Yangon - food and tea

Of course, you want to make sure to grab a cup of tea here as well!

Burmese food is one of the best international foods we have ever had and we highly recommend eating as many different plates as possible!

7. The Park In Town – Maha Bandula Park

After doing a lot of walking around town you might want to sit and chill at the park for a while. Maha Bandula Park is a great place to go and just people watch.

Yangon Burma - Maha Bandula Park

There were numerous group exercise classes going on inside the park when we visited.

So many locals were either strolling around or getting a great jog in at this park right by the Sule Pagoda.

8. Yangon River

Make sure to check out the Yangon River even if you don’t plan on leaving the city center or crossing over. The dock at the river is full of local life!

What to do in Yangon - Ride Rive Ferry

Here is where you will see people commuting from the other side of the Yangon River to come in to work or get some errands done in the city.

Ride the ferry across just for the experience!

9. Local Fresh Market

We may have not witnessed any of the amazing sights across the river had it not been for finding a great local tour guide!

The guide picked us up from The Loft Hotel Downtown Yangon and took us to the ferry where we crossed the river to Dala.

Our guide lives in this area and took us to some amazing hidden spots!

Yangon Things To Do - local market

The first of our stops was the market right after getting off the ferry. He showed us the different vendors and told us what they were selling.

We were introduced to some produce we had never heard of before!

Yangon Markets

10. Snake Temple – Paung Taw Choke Pagoda

The second stop on our tuk tuk ride was in an area called Twantay. Our guide told us all about this magical temple where huge boa constrictors live.

We were told they only drink milk and never attack people or even small animals to eat for food!

Yangon Myanmar points of interest - Paung Taw Pagoda inside

It was a surreal experience walking around being surrounded by these enormous snakes that could easily kill and swallow you whole!

Yangon Burma - Paung Taw Pagoda snakes

There we snakes in all corners all curled up sometime together, sometimes alone. What a sight to see!

Yangon Myanmar points of interest - Paung Taw Pagoda surrounding

The temple is quite small and is located in the middle of a man made lake where it can be accessed by walking over a bridge.

There’s not much around the area, but there is a local spot to grab a water or snacks right across the street.

You can purchase live fish in plastic bags to release into the lake for good luck, or you can buy fish food to feed the ones that are in there already.

Yangon Burma -Paung Taw Choke Pagoda

11. Buddha Statues – Kyaik Par Buddha Statue 1000

Another amazing point of interest on this side of the Yangon River is the Kyaik Par Buddha Statue 1000. Here, you will find rows after row of Buddha statues in various poses.

What To Do in Yangon - Kyaik Par Buddha Statue 1000

There are thousands of statues, so walking on the paths in between them is a meditative experience in itself!

12. Twantay Bridge

The Twantay Bridge was another one of stops on this tour. The picture below shows the tuk tuk we were taken around in for the day!

Yangon Myanmar points of interest - Twantay Bridge and Canal

Our tour guide can be found here. Htoo Htoo was an amazing guide who taught us a lot about the life of the locals in Yangon and the outer villages.

As part of his tour, he even fed us a meal in his own home!

Yangon Things To Do - eat Burmese food and drink

The cost was about $35 USD and well worth it!

Yangon Travel Tips

Here are some of our hotel recommendations for Yangon:

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12 Awesome Things To Do In Yangon
2 responses
  1. Kathy@DavesTravelCorner Avatar

    Myanmar’s pagodas always amaze me. Their shimmering structures are mesmerizing. Bagan. Mmm :)

    1. Taiss Nowrouzi Avatar
      Taiss Nowrouzi

      Hi Kathy! They are pretty amazing! I could never get tired of visiting them!

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Hi! We’re Rob and Taiss. We set off to live a life in as many places as possible. To actually live in locations around the world long enough to get to know the locals, the culture, and the food, not just a taste of it.
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