Every visit to Yangon should include a trip to Shwedagon Pagoda. During the dry season, the weather gets extremely hot, so it is advisable to go in the morning. Your feet will love the cool marble tiles, and hopefully you’ll see the brilliant blue sky against the golden pagodas. Snap some photos here, spend a couple of hours just exploring and meditate if you wish. Then, head over to People’s Park, especially if you’re with children (or just want to satiate your inner child): there is a great amusement park here with rides that are quite cheap.
In the afternoon, head on over to Bogyoke Market for some local snacks and perhaps a bowl of Shan noodles. Here you’ll find fresh fruit and lots of sticky rice cakes. Upon entering the market, you may feel overwhelmed by the sheer size and liveliness. Keep walking inside and you’ll find stalls selling all types of souvenirs, from gold-flecked bowls to puppets to t-shirts to prayer beads, many things to remind you of your time in Yangon. Get a custom-made longyi, which will take only 10-15 minutes. Spend a couple of hours here exploring the fabrics and hitting up a couple of the more well-known shops, like Yangoods.
Head downtown and walk around Chinatown, then proceed to the area near Pansodan Road for some art and books. Take in the downtown Yangon vibes, full of heady smells and vibrant sights. Downtown Yangon is fascinating because there can be a church, a mosque, a synagogue, and a temple all within walking distance of each other.
If you’re hungry, the area near Sule Pagoda is full of tasty street food, from spiced chicken to paratha (chewy Indian bread) to exotic fruits and noodles. If you’re feeling adventurous, there are a couple of psychic palm readers on the pagoda’s perimeter. Make your way back to 19th Street for barbecued meat, vegetables, and cheap glasses of Myanmar beer. This is certainly the spot to indulge without hurting your wallet.
Grab a bowl of mohinga (rice noodle and fish soup) from a street stall, then start your morning with a visit to Kandawgyi Lake before it gets too hot. There are a few attractions on the lake, but mainly it is a beautiful place to hang out for the morning, perhaps check out the parks and mini-forests you might find while exploring. Then, settle down for a picnic lunch or head over to the Karaweik Restaurant or one of the many cafes lining the street. There, you’ll find a Japanese dollar store, ice cream, and other fun finds.
Once you’ve explored the lake, walk back downtown toward the river. You may choose to take a ferry ride or just sit by the river watching the sunset. Go to dinner at one of the many trendy restaurants in Yangon.
Yangon’s nightlife scene is thriving, and it seems that restaurants and bars emerge in many new neighborhoods every month. While many clubs now feature electronic and deep house music, there are also hip-hop events with local rappers and beatboxers, as well as classy bars like Atlas Lounge, that come with delicious views of Shwedagon Pagoda. Whatever you choose, you’ll get to experience a side of Yangon you wouldn’t expect at first glance.