What to do in Yangon? 9 places to visit


February 15, 2022

Our second stop in Myanmar is Yangon, located in the south of the country. Also known as Rangun, it was the country's capital until 2006. It is the largest city in the country, chaotic, messy and vibrant. We spent two days in this city and we think it is enough to get to know it.

How to get around Yangon?

The best way to get around the city is on foot and by taxi. Taxis are not at all expensive, but as in most Southeast Asian countries, they don't use a taximeter and the price is agreed in advance. We recommend downloading the Grab app (the Uber of Southeast Asia), either to order a taxi through the app or to see what the price is for the journey in question, so that you can negotiate better.

What to do in Yangon?

1. Schwedagon Pagoda

A must-see in Yangon. As soon as you set foot here you can feel the spirituality and special energy of this place.

This pagoda is believed to be over 2500 years old. The story goes that two Burmese brothers travelled to India to meet Siddhartha, the Buddha. He plucked 8 hairs from his head and gave them to them. On their return to Brimania, they give the hairs to the king, who decides to erect the pagoda and keep the hairs along with other relics in it.

Since the 26th century the pagoda has been rebuilt and enlarged by various kings to its present height of 100 metres. The stupa is gold-plated and decorated with 3,154 gold bells and 79,569 diamonds and precious stones. All the gold was donated by the Burmese.

It is undoubtedly an impressive place. You can spend hours appreciating the stupas, the neighbouring temples and watching the Buddhist faithful in one of their most sacred places.

Schwedagon Pagoda
Schwedagon Pagoda Myanmar
Schwedagon Pagoda
  • The entrance fee is 10,000 Kyats ($7USD).

Both men and women should enter barefoot and with their knees and shoulders covered. We also advise you to bring water, as it tends to be very hot and there is nowhere to buy it once inside.

2. Botatuang Pagoda

Another of Myanmar's oldest pagodas is Botatuang Pagoda, built 2500 years ago by the Mon dynasty and destroyed during World War II and rebuilt in 1948.

It is located near the river and is one of the most revered pagodas in Myanmar.

The main stupa is 40 metres high and is characteristic for being hollow inside and open to the public, and it is believed to enshrine a hair of Gautama Buddha inside. This is what impressed us the most, being able to enter inside the pagoda.

Following a walkway with glass mosaic walls, you can see several chambers containing glass cases with ancient artefacts, including some very old Buddha images that were discovered in the stupa after its destruction in 1943. There is one chamber whose walls and ceiling are covered with gold and contains the sacred relic of the Buddha. It is enshrined and displayed in a shrine made of ivory and decorated with diamonds and precious jewels.

We went at sunset and we could appreciate the Pagoda illuminated, we loved it. As in all religious places in Myanmar it is necessary to have shoulder and knee covers, if you don't have them, you can borrow them at the entrance. You must also enter barefoot.

Botatuang Pagoda

  • The entrance fee is 6,000 kyats ($4 USD).

3. Theingyi Market

It is the largest traditional local market in Yangon, ideal for a morning stroll. Walking around here is an experience for all the senses. It is located on 26th Street in Chinatown. It consists of hundreds of stalls on the street selling fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, etc. It is a beautiful chaos that will give you a glimpse of Burmese culture.

4. ChaukHtatGyi Paya or Reclining Buddha

Known for its incredible 65 metre long and 16 metre high reclining Buddha. The soles of the feet contain 108 red and gold segments representing images of the 108 lakshanas of Buddhism (the fundamental teachings).

Lying Buddha
Photo: Sunwand24

  • Admission is free.

5. Ngahtatgyi Buddha Temple or Sitting Buddha Temple

Known for its huge Sitting Buddha, it is a very imposing sight, a very sacred and important Buddha among the Burmese faithful. It is located a few metres away from the Reclining Buddha.

Sitting Buddha
Photo: AvigatorPhotographer

  • Admission is free.

6. Sule Pagoda

This pagoda is located in the centre of the city and is therefore one of the best known.

We didn't go inside but we saw it from the outside at night lit up and it looks very pretty. We think that after having visited Schwedagon Pagoda and Botatuang Pagoda it was not worth it.

Sitting Buddha
Photo: Ministry of Hotels and Tourism

  • The entrance fee is 3.000 Kyats ($2USD).

7. Kandawgi Park & Palace

It's a good place to disconnect from the chaos of the city. There is an artificial lake here, created by the British colonists to provide Yangon with a supply of drinking water at the time. You can walk across the lake via its wooden bridge and see several of the gardens in the park.

There is also the Kandawgi Palace Restaurant, a palace made restaurant that simulates a huge boat on the shore of the lake.

8. Colonial Quarter

In Yangon there is an area where several buildings with colonial architecture remain. This area is located east of the Sule pagoda, where Maha Bandula Park and the Independence Monument are located. Nearby is the Yangon City Hall and the Palace of Justice.

9. Circular Train

It is a three-hour train ride that circles the entire city of Yangon allowing you to see the daily life of the locals from a different point of view.

We couldn't make it because Charo got food poisoning, so we stayed at the hostel to rest, but we think it would have been a great experience to immerse ourselves a bit more in the Burmese culture.

The train can be taken from platform 7 at Yangon Central Railway Station, from 6:10am to 5:10pm. The fare is 200 kyats ($0.15 USD).