How To Spend One Day in Yangon

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma

Yangon has a bit of a bad reputation.

For most travellers, this is the first place visited whilst in Myanmar. It serves as the main international hub (although I do use that term lightly) for Myanmar and is often described as ‘just a big dirty city’.

Whilst I can definitely see how some could get that impression, I ended up being pleasantly surprised with the hustle and bustle of Yangon, and really enjoyed my time there.

You could comfortably see most of the sights in Yangon in two days, but if you find yourself with only a single day it is still possible to see quite a chunk of the city.

Schwedagon Pagoda

Also known as the ‘Golden Pagoda’, this massive stupa is arguably the most famous attraction in all of Yangon. On the day I visited it was incredibly overcast, which unfortunately meant that the incredible colour of the pagoda just didn’t translate in pictures, however, that didn’t stop me from persevering!

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma

Standing a massive 99 metres tall, Schwedagon is the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in all of Myanmar, and it was certainly a wonderful introduction to the land of many (many, many, many) pagodas.

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma

During my time at this pagoda, I was honestly surprised at how few foreign tourists there were! I went into Myanmar fully aware of the genocide that was taking place (something I will discuss much more in depth in a later post) and as such, I had assumed that tourist numbers would be down, but I was still shocked by how much! I spent an hour at this pagoda, and in that time I only saw three other travellers!

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma

Instead, the pagoda was full of Burmese people coming to pray, celebrate their religion….

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma

…and to attend to repairs!

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma
Not an occupational hazard in the slightest…

The entrance fee for Shwedagon is 8,000 kyats, which equates to approximately $8 USD. Also, if your legs are not adequately covered, you will be required to also rent a sarong.

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma

Cool off with a coconut

The weather in Yangon is humid and hot – think Thailand weather but with a little less rain. It is important to keep hydrated, and what better way than with a fresh coconut? You can find stalls selling coconuts for between 500-1000 kyats at many locations across the city.

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma

Kyay Thone Pagoda

This little known pagoda is far less grand and majestic than most, but it is also free to enter, full of locals, absent of travellers, and allows you to actually go inside one of the pagodas! It is located just across from Shwedagon pagoda and is well worth a visit.

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma

Get on the ‘catspotting’ and ‘dogspotting’

‘Nuff said.

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma

The Reclining Buddha

Dating back to the 1950s, this fricking enormous structure is one of the largest Buddha images in all of Myanmar, and easily the most famous in Yangon.  This Buddha measures an impressive 66m and is more colloquially referred to as ‘the big Buddha’ – for obvious reasons.

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma

My favourite part of the Buddha were its feet. Inscribed with 108 markings, these feet are probably the most detailed part of the image.

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma

While visiting the Buddha, make sure to keep your ‘catspotting’ eyes on – you may just come across some gorgeous kittens!

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma
I must be a midwife, I see breastfeeding everywhere I go!

My friend Chelsea demonstrated how to get a cute picture with these kitties…

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma

…meanwhile, in a rather ungraceful manner, I got a kitten paw stuck in my hair – resulting in this disaster of a shot!

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma

Sule Pagoda

Another pagoda! This one is located right in the middle of the city, and despite being much smaller than Shwedagon, this pagoda is actually much older, dating back potentially as far as 2600 years ago.

Entrance will set you back 2000 kyats, and it is best to keep your shoes in your bag rather than left at an entrance – some of the ‘friendly’ women working there will demand money in exchange for having kept your shoes safe.

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma

The Architecture

Sure, the pagodas are gorgeous, but make sure you don’t overlook all the stunningly unassuming architecture that can be found all through the city.

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma

Get a fancy ass cocktail

After a long day of pounding the pavement, what better way to cool down than with a delicious drink?

The Strand hotel is quite close to Sule pagoda, and is arguably the most iconic and well known hotel in Myanmar. Dating back to 1901, this timeless hotel boasts a cool, quiet and lovely bar with an extensive cocktail menu. The prices are expensive by Burmese standards, but if you only splurge on one drink during your time in Myanmar, make it this one.

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma

Eat ALL of the noodles

To be honest, there isn’t much else in Myanmar to eat except noodles, but every once in a while you find a particularly delicious bowl.

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma

Kandawgyi Park

This (really very strange) park is a local favourite for dinner, for dates and for watching the sunset. Depending on which entrance you enter through you may be charged a 20c entrance fee.

If you only have one day in Yangon, this a perfect place to see it off.

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma

yangon-travel-blog-backpacking-budget-solo-travel-travelling-myanmar-burma

THE  LOWDOWN

Getting to Yangon: International flights arrive from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong regularly
Pickled Tea Hostel: A really lovely hostel, prices start at 16,000 kyats per night, click here for more info
Shwedagon Pagoda: One of the most important pagodas in Myanmar, make sure you dress appropriately
Taxis: The best way to get around the city, but be prepared to haggle
Camera: Images captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 in conjunction with M.Zuiko 12-40mm f2/8 lens
Remember: Bring mosquito repellent with a heckuva lot of deet in it!

Posted by

20-something year old Australian backpacker writing her way around the world.

28 thoughts on “How To Spend One Day in Yangon

  1. I do feel sorry for these dogs and cats you find in faraway places. I guess life finds a way but it must be a hard life for them, natural selection rampant, where they have to learn how to survive. Did the mother not mind you picking up her babies?

    It’s always sad, too, to see old (properly built) buildings – which are always preferable – in a right state of dilapidation.

    I once worked for a chemical company in Manchester who were having new (cheaper) labs built in Bangalore and the photos we got sent of progress looked like yours…albeit the wooden poles seem to make more sense here when they have to bend around a dome.

    1. No she seemed rather chilled out – im guessing it wasn’t her first litter! And I know what you mean, but then you come to some places (I was recently in Chile) where people leave out food and water dishes for the dogs! Situations like that leave you feeling much more positive for the animals.

  2. The last photo is stunning! I really want to visit Yangon specifically and Myanmar generally. They is some sort of a mysterious and curiosity longing among us in Southeast Asia since this country had just opened up to the world quite recent.

    The setback, apart from to try and get a cheap ticket to fly there, is the requirement of a visa since all ASEAN nations can visit each other Visa-free, except for Myanmar.

    Nevertheless, this is a great posting which could help me if I were to visit Yangon, sometimes in the future.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Makes me want to get on a plane a fly to Yangon. Your photos capture so much of the city’s beauty! Looking forward to reading more about Mynamar and seeing pictures. I wanted to get there when I lived in Thailand, but didn’t end up having the opportunity.

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