What to do with four days in Yangon

Yangon is really cool, it’s fun, and there’s loads to do and see for between 2-4 days, maybe a little longer too, but I was getting bored on the fifth day. I went for 4 nights and 5 days in February 2016. Even though, to some extent, it’s very, very undeveloped, there’s an edgy, up and coming atmosphere; you won’t struggle to find lots and lots to experience! Make sure you do the 4 hr circular railway for 200 kyat (k) to see greater Yangon (and you can get on and off it), the Shwedagon pagoda (8000 k), Sule pagoda (I think I remember it being 4000 k, but it’s being redecorated at the minute so its gold is covered), the reclining Buddha (free), Botataung Pagoda (4000 k, with Buddha relics you can actually see), Ngahtatgyi paya (free and, in my opinion, the best one to visit as it’s often overlooked and there is no one there) and Kandawgi lake (free, depending where you enter, and good for a romantic afternoon stroll on the boardwalk and a photo of the Keraweik). There’s another lake to the north of the city (Inya Lake) but I didn’t enjoy it as much as Kandawgi. Bogyoke Museum was only ok but worth a look if you like Aung Sang Su Kyi and history.

Bogyake market is great for shopping for souvenirs and local stuff (or antiques) and much much cheaper than Bagan! Always haggle! You have to for cabs. All cabs shouldn’t be more than c. 2000 k for a few miles ride (more than enough to go from place to place and walks are a good way to get around too, but remember in SE Asia, in general, taxi drivers can be hard work and there’s no meters in Myanmar); best advice is get them from the street or road rather than the bus station, tourist centres, port or airport. It should be 4000 k for a slightly longer journey (say from downtown to the reclining Buddha) and only 3000-8000 k from the airport to downtown (well, I met someone who paid 3000 but I paid 8000 and my guest house charged 8000 for one from there to the airport so, as always, keep your head screwed on and negotiate). There’s also very little traffic unless you’re going to or coming from the airport.

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Head to Chinatown and 19th street for food, local market browsing and drinks; in fact, all the things you might want that’s not a pagoda are in this area and the area around it. I recommend the Strand Hotel for a colonial cocktail (and it’s happy hour 2 for 1, 5.30pm to 10pm (I think everyday)), and down that way is more night life too. Night life in general is actually quite good, but you need to make friends to really enjoy it: I had a good night at Institute Francais with some Berlin DJs and expats, but just going down 19th Street and the surrounding area was a good crack or craic! I guess, in Yangon, stay at Agga hotel (there’s three of them, all with slightly different names, but it’s the same company, and all are close to each other in a good location, in downtown, which is where you want to stay) but I must say it’s too expensive for what it is; that seemed to be the Yangon way, unless you can afford a bigger accommodation budget, it’s not all that great. Wherever you stay though, you’ll love Yangon!


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