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Things to do in Yangon

Things to do in  Yangon

Welcome to Yangon

Part British Colonial throwback, part emerging modern city, Yangon (Rangoon) is welcoming a tourism boom after several decades of isolation. Myanmar's largest city is also its former capital and commercial hub, populated by a diverse blend of cultures. Shiny new skyscrapers have sprung up amid beautifully restored colonial buildings, ancient pagodas, and traditional fisherman's huts, but much of the infrastructure remains behind the times, so it's wise to rely on a guide to show you around. Make the pilgrimage to Shwedagon Paya, a glittering, 114-acre temple compound topped by a 344-foot (104 meter) golden stupa that is studded with diamonds and rubies. The local Buddhist monks are eager to chat about their traditions and will even tell your fortune—for a small donation. Also on the don't-miss list: Sule Paya, a 2,000-year-old gilded temple; colorful Bogyoke Aung San Market; Chaukhtatgyi Paya's 213-foot-long (65 meter) reclining Buddha; the lavish displays of royal wealth at the National Museum; and the floating dining hall at Karaweik Palace. Travelers wishing to explore further can board the Circular Train, a pleasant ride that includes oft-overlooked spots such as Little India and Chinatown. Along with its many important historical sites, modern Yangon offers fine dining, art galleries, and day spas. Wind down your city tour with a drink at the venerable Strand Hotel, an oasis of relaxed elegance since 1901. And while Yangon is a worthy destination on its own, it's also an easy jumping-off point for trips to Pegu (Bago), Inle Lake, Mandalay, and beyond.

Top 10 attractions in Yangon

#1
Shwedagon Pagoda

Shwedagon Pagoda

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In a country full of religious shrines, Shwedagon Pagoda is considered the most sacred. Its golden steeple rises high above Yangon’s skyline and relics of previous Buddhas, including a water filter, staff, hairs and a piece of robe, are all kept safe within its structure’s walls. Historians say the pagoda, known locally as Shwedagon Zedi Daw, was built between the 6th and 10th centuries and since then numerous dignitaries, religious figures and political powerhouses, including Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama, have passed through its halls.Visitors must remove their shoes before going into any of the four main entrances. Travelers will likely pass by religious pilgrims as they ascend the stairs, making an offering of candles, flowers, flags and fruit—an act known as dana—meant to pay homage to Buddha. Visitors should be sure to check out the pagoda’s stupa, which is encrusted with more than 4,500 diamonds, including one that is 72 carats.More
#2
Bogyoke Aung San Market

Bogyoke Aung San Market

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Since 1926 this city heritage site known for its rare antiques, old coins, Burmese jade and black market moneychangers has been a destination for locals and travelers alike. The halls of this crowded labyrinth are lined with bustling stalls where local artists sell traditional handicrafts, handmade clothes and hearty regional dishes.Bogyoke Aung San Market has one of the largest selections of traditional longyi and gemstones, and since the first sale of the day is considered good luck, those who arrive early are likely to get some of the best prices. Travelers can watch jade being fashioned into earrings or bracelets and see clothes being stitched by hand on the second floor of Bogyoke.Visitors looking to escape the intensity of the market and the sounds of the city can stop into the nearby Holy Trinity Cathedral for some peace and quiet contemplation.More
#3
Chaukhtatgyi Paya (Chaukhtatgyi Buddha Temple)

Chaukhtatgyi Paya (Chaukhtatgyi Buddha Temple)

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Chaukhtatgyi Paya, with its 65-meter-long reclining Buddha, is not only a must-see, its sheer size and rich details make it one of the most memorable stops in all of Yangon. The Buddha’s bright white face hovers some 16 meters above the ground and is decorated with brilliant red lips and bright blue eye shadow. Its golden robes drape down to the statue’s feet, which are covered in 108 intricately designed lakshanas representing each of the noble characteristics of the Buddha. Travelers can witness local monks from nearby monasteries honoring Buddha’s teachings as they wander the grounds, thick with the scent of burning incense and fresh flowers.More
#4
Sule Pagoda (Sule Paya)

Sule Pagoda (Sule Paya)

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The golden spire of this well-recognized pagoda stretches far into the skyline of downtown Yangon, making it easy to spot from even just about anywhere in town. Built more than 2,000 years ago, the pagoda is said to house a hair from that Buddha that was given to two Burmese merchants. Colorful spirits stand guard of a massive brass bell, which residents ring to signal good deeds. In addition to being one of these most recognized pagodas in Yangon and place of spiritual worship, the Sule Pagoda has also served as a meeting place during the 1988 uprisings and the Saffron Revolution, making it an important landmark in the country’s recent past.More
#5
Yangon City Hall

Yangon City Hall

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Yangon City Hall is the seat of the various departments of the Yangon City Development Committee, the city’s administrative body, the head of which is Yangon’s mayor. As the place where the city’s leaders meet, the building was also the point of many a demonstration protesting political decisions and situations. In 1964 for example, 200’000 people met here to support Thakin Kodaw Hmaing, an important leader of the peace movement. City Hall marks the center of Yangon and can be best viewed from the Maha Bandoola Garden right opposite the building.Construction of this building finished in 1936 and the city hall is now considered to be one of the most beautiful examples of combined British and Burmese architecture. It was designed by the prominent Burmese architect U Tin, who also planned Yangon’s central train station. U Tin’s style is well known for its fusion of the seemingly conflicting western and Myanmar’s indigenous styles. Accordingly, the newly repainted bright white City Hall building features tiered roofs, intricate ornamentations on the pillars and arches, but also the solid but elegant colonial build.More
#6
Kandawgyi Nature Park

Kandawgyi Nature Park

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Kandawgyi Nature Park, sometimes called Kandawgyi Garden, is one of the reasons why Yangon is often called the garden city. It is a retreat in the middle of the bustle and the noise, where couples, joggers and people looking for a relaxing stroll can unwind in a tranquil setting. The many picnic areas and playgrounds under the shady trees are especially popular with families and kids. But spread over 260 acres you can also find tropical gardens, restaurants and recreation centers, a big walkway along Kandawgyi Lake (the great artificial lake created in colonial times), a mini zoo and good views of the Shwedagon Pagoda and Karaweik Hall. The latter is an enormous replica of a royal barge comprised of three floors of dining rooms, performance halls and shops and reminds of the ancient Burmese kings, who used to travel the waterways of their kingdom on these glamorous boats.Kandawgyi Park is also the location where regular concerts and festivals are held throughout the year. At the beginning of January, for example, the Independence Day festival is celebrated in the gardens for seven days. Another prominent festival takes place in November, when oarsmen from all over the country compete in boat races on the lake. This annual regatta also includes a royal barge procession, which stands in contrast to the more rowdy races and pays homage to the old times and the beautiful vessels used back then with a lot of pomp and ceremony.More
#7
Yangon Central Railway Station

Yangon Central Railway Station

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Yangon’s Central Railway Station isn’t only the gateway to Myanmar where you can catch the train for further adventures around the country, but it is also the place where one can observe the fascinating everyday life. The station is a hive of activity, with thousands upon thousands of commuters passing through its halls every day. Especially photographers love coming here, interacting with the commuters and maybe even hoping onto the Circle Train for a three hour ride through the suburbs. This iconic line rattles slowly over 29 miles of bumpy tracks and through 38 stations, while vendors hop on and off, advertising their wares, and the uncomfortable benches in the stuffy train cars make your backside hurt.The Central Railway Station was designed by the famous architect U Tin, who created the station in his distinct fusion style of Western and Burmese elements after the original structure was destroyed by the retreating British forces. With its green tiered pyatthat roofs and golden towers, the bright white paint job, the big windows and graceful pillars, the building has become an iconic sight in Yangon. But although the elegant station is spectacular to look at from the outside and without a doubt very photogenic, it’s the little moments and the activity inside, that make the trip to the station worth it.More
#8
Taukkyan War Cemetery

Taukkyan War Cemetery

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The Taukkyan War Cemetery is a memorial in honor of allied soldiers, most of whom died during the Second World War in Burma. Altogether, there are 6374 graves of fallen soldiers from this aforementioned war, hundreds of them unidentified. Inscribed on the many pillars of the Rangoon Memorial are an additional 27,000 names of men of the Commonwealth forces who died during battles in Burma, but had no known grave. Because it was a multinational force with over a hundred different languages spoken within the platoons, the words “they died for all free men” are added in English, Burmese, Hindi, Urdu and Gurmukhi. Some burials were also transferred from other battlefield locations as well as isolated and scattered jungle sites when the graves couldn’t be maintained any longer. Fittingly, to commemorate these individual battles and the soldiers who fought and died there together, the graves at the Taukkyan War Cemetery are grouped together according to regiments, countries and these battlefields in Meiktila, Akyab, Mandalay and Sahmaw.The cemetery is a very peaceful place and well maintained by the many gardeners caring for the graves and the plants. But despite its beautifully landscaped grounds and its popularity with history buffs, the memorial is a sad place. Many people travel here on a personal pilgrimage to pay their respects to a loved one and often, you can see them taking off their shoes, as is the custom in Myanmar. When walking through the neat row of tombstones and flowers, reading the sheer mass of names and commemorations of soldiers from Australia, India, Africa, England and Burma, the heat and the noise of Myanmar seems to fade far away.More
#9
Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue

Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue

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The Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue is Myanmar’s last remaining Jewish house of worship. During colonial times, Yangon had a thriving Jewish community of over 2,500 people, most of whom had followed the teak wood trade to Asia. But today, after the Japanese occupation during World War Two and the long years of military rule that followed, only a handful of Jewish people remain. The whole weight of Myanmar’s Jewish history is now carried on the shoulders of one man: Moses Samuels, the keeper of the old synagogue, who is hopeful that his community will recover.The synagogue was constructed during the late 19th century and stands in a colonial-era neighborhood next to mosques, Hindu and Buddhist temples, churches, hawker stalls, stores and markets. The building itself is a beautiful blue, white and gold house with a high ceiling, stained glass windows and old wooden benches. Although it is still a functioning synagogue with regular services, it now serves as a reminder of a multicultural past and has become somewhat of a meeting spot for several neighboring religious groups. While those groups often don’t get along very well elsewhere in the world, even in most other parts of the country, they come together in this synagogue in a rare display of multi-religious friendship, to help each other out or celebrate festivals together.More
#10
Yangon Chinatown

Yangon Chinatown

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The Chinatown in Yangon, also called Tayoke Tan, is, if possible, even busier than the rest of Yangon. The trick is to let yourself be carried along by the crowd through the typical vibrant Chinatown-ness you can find in Chinese neighborhoods across the world. Big signs with Chinese characters fight for attention above jewelry, gold, flower, fruit, medicine and apparel shops and a variety of restaurants and food stalls beckon visitors with inviting smells, sizzling sounds and persistent attendants. There are a few temples to be found as well, such as the Guang Dong Kwan Yin Temple, where all the major Chinese festivals and celebrations are held throughout the year. These clan temples belong to either one of the two communities living in Tayoke Tan, the Hokkien community who historically mainly resided on Strand and Anawratha Road or the Cantonese community located on Mana Bandoola Road.Especially 19th street has become a bit of a landmark and is known for the extensive barbecue stalls and the many restaurants with the small plastic chairs. The street is packed at all times of the day with locals and tourists alike. Menus are a rarity and if you don’t want dumplings or pastries, you are instead expected to point at piles of whatever skewers of meat, tofu, chicken, garlic, vegetables and seafood you want. In true Chinese build-your-own-dinner style, these skewers are then tossed on the charcoal grills or into steaming hot pots and accompanied by a big mug of draft beer. Sit down where it’s busiest, as the food there is bound to be the best.More

Trip ideas

Top Yangon City Heritage List Landmarks

Top Yangon City Heritage List Landmarks

How to Spend 2 Days in Yangon

How to Spend 2 Days in Yangon

Recent reviews from experiences in Yangon

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Great Cultural Experience
John_R, Mar 2020
Yangon by night
What a wonderful way to see Yangon by night.
star-4
Such a different experience from all the other things you can see in Yangon
Cecile_L, Jan 2020
Yangon Dala Discovery Tour on Bamboo Bicycles
it is a a different approach to visiting Yangon as the places you visit are completely different from the busy city.
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Yangon Highlights in one day!
Minna_T, Jan 2020
Yangon Full Day City Tour
She was knowledgeable, friendly, and ensured that we saw everything that we needed to see in Yangon.
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Cheap and easy
Kalevi_S, Dec 2019
Yangon Budget Tour
Can recommend if you want to see the main sights of Yangon without wasting too much time or money.
star-5
An amazing experiemces private full day to bago
lethi_d, Oct 2018
Bago Private Full Day Including Lunch With English Local Guide From Yangon
this private full day trip from yangon city offers tons of heritage to see and religion to experiences in bago.
star-5
Excellent way to visit Yangon.I...
Paulo L, Nov 2017
Private Yangon City Tour Including Lunch With English Local Tour Guide
Excellent way to visit Yangon.
star-4
An excellent introduction to daily...
Virginia J, Jun 2016
Yangon by Circular Train: Life Along the Loop
Our guide, Myo, was very personable, well informed and spoke good English, and made our trip come to life.
star-4
Excellent way to see a bit of...
Maria_A, Mar 2014
Yangon by Circular Train: Life Along the Loop
Excellent way to see a bit of everyday life in Yangon.
star-5
Great way to see Yangon city
Praveen_T, Jan 2020
Yangon Full Day City Tour
The itinerary for the whole day covered all the major attractions and more.
star-5
Shwedagon pagoda is amazing
emchavez678, Aug 2019
Private Yangon City Tour Including Lunch With English Local Tour Guide
He speaks English perfectly and is very fun and knowledgable.
star-5
An excellent tour in Myanmar
Qing_L, Jan 2019
8-Night Myanmar Private Tour with Flights from Yangon
The trip covers 4 main tourist attractions including Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, and Inle Lake.
star-5
It is very great tour to see major...
Mayo_O, Feb 2018
Private Full-Day Yangon Culture and Temples Tour With Shwedagon Pagoda
It is very great tour to see major spot in Yangon by one day efficiently.
star-4
According to the local agency, they...
RicardpGabriel_P, Oct 2016
Private Yangon Day Tour with Circular Train
As one of the attractions is close on Monday, we have been offered to pick another place a la carte so we have changed the schedule and we have visited a couple of other places with the nice guide.
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This 9 day tour covered a lot of...
Kenten_W, Mar 2017
8-Night Myanmar Private Tour with Flights from Yangon
Then, it is off on another early morning flight to Mandalay with another 2 full days of touring with another tour guide Mandalay tour is really 4 separate towns Sagaing, Mingun, Mandalay, and Amarpura a lot to see in short amount of time very enjoyable.
star-5
A wonderful experience
PAVEL_I, Jan 2020
Yangon Full Day City Tour
Very professional, knowledgeable, nice, friendly, and considerate, speaking good English, she was the perfect guide on a wonderful and complete city tour.
star-5
Interesting tour & Mr. Myo was great
Tara H, Jun 2019
Yangon by Circular Train: Life Along the Loop
Very interesting way to see and experience everyday life.
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This is an unmissable insight into real...
Robert T, Aug 2015
Yangon by Circular Train: Life Along the Loop
We were expertly guided by Thura whose knowledge and English were exceptionally good.
star-5
Excellent Private Full Day Yangon...
David N, Nov 2017
Private Yangon City Tour Including Lunch With English Local Tour Guide
I recommend it for the people that want to see many things within a day.
star-5
this is a must do , while in Yangon...
kevin m, Oct 2017
Yangon by Circular Train: Life Along the Loop
this is a must do , while in Yangon there were only two off us on this day and are guide was peter win who was a excellent guide after meeting peter at are meeting point , we took a short walk to the train station , as we were going past all off the different stations , peter was pointing things out to us and explain what they were , while travelling on the train , loads of local vendors were walking though the train selling there local produce , we stopped halfway and was taken around a local market , before continuing on the train at the end of the train journey we were then taken to a local restaurant to try the local food I would definitely recommend doing this tour if you want to see local Yangon life
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if you like to see the local people as...
Franco Ludwig L, Sep 2017
Yangon by Circular Train: Life Along the Loop
if you like to see the local people as they really are, this is the trip.
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