Yangon, What to Do With A Day
Updated: Feb 25
Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon 2016
Yangon. This capital city lies in the country’s fertile delta region and is a central hub for transportation to Bagan and Mandalay. Yangon was built harmoniously around its cultural heritage sites. You'll be amazed by this developing city, the major city and gateway to Myanmar, as a British architectural relic surrounded by lush greenery. Drive past striking religious monuments and be won over by the city’s unique charm.
Psst…Want more Myanmar travel tips? Check out these other posts:
Read on for what I did in Yangon during my panoramic tour of the city.
Table of Contents
MY FAVORITE experiences in yangon
visiting the shwedagon pagoda
Although there are many pagodas in Myanmar, few rival the Shwedagon Pagoda in scale or beauty.
Towering above the green cityscape of Yangon at almost 98 meters with a diamond bud of 76 carats, the Shwedagon Pagoda is considered the most sacred Buddhist pagoda by the Myanmar people. The pagoda has relics of the four past Buddha encrusted beneath 4531 diamonds and enshrined within 7 gold tons.
Find the planetary post for your day of birth and pour water over it (one for each year of your life). There is the Myanmar belief that each day is tied to an animal. Knowing the animal which symbolizes the day you were born will make finding the post easier. Since I was born on a Friday, my animal happened to be the guinea pig. One thing I suggest while traveling in Myanmar is do not disavow yourself of some healthy superstition.
touring scott market looking for longyi
Scott Market, BogyokeAung San Market, has the largest selection of stalls and shops selling Myanmar arts and crafts. The 70-year-old market is located at the center of Yangon and a very easy walk from the city center. At the market, you can buy a variety of souvenirs from lacquerware to wood carvings to jewelry. Tour Scott Market for “longyi.” The most elaborate are known as “cheik,” a beautiful array of pattern made by the weavers of Amarapura.
I peered into the storefronts of the Scott Market advertising a dozen varieties of “tanaka”—the Myanmar are known for their natural sunscreen, and you can get some in many varieties from powder, to cream to wood you can grind with mortar and pestle.
The Scott Market is awash with activity as the locals carry out their daily shopping but arrive early (7 a.m.) to witness the procession of monks carrying their alms bowls.
LUNCH AT THE STRAND HOTEL
Learn about the rich culture and heritage of Myanmar. Yangon boasts a wealth of grand architecture. Streets like Strand’s where the hotel has stood for a century are a delight to visit for their amazing contrasts. Myanmar’s oldest hotel, The Strand Hotel, is listed as one of the most famous hotels in the world. Where else can you stay in the same hotel as George Orwell and Mick Jagger both?
I spent the afternoon walking outside, exploring City Hall and the High Court in the historical city center, which is half an hour away from the Shwedagon Pagoda. After a day on my feet, I headed to the hotel lobby to relax and enjoy this 5-star hotel.
Internet in Myanmar can be unreliable. Luckily, The Strand Hotel has great Wifi service which you can access after buying a drink.
deep-fried donuts AT A LOCAL TEA SHOP
Enjoying a refreshing coffee or tea and snacks at a local tea shop is another way to experience the daily activity of Yangon. Women ladle steaming soup on the street outside the Scott Market and sell a vast variety of fresh fruit and vegetables.
I ate deep-fried Myanmar doughnuts along with skewers of beef and pork grilled with spices right on the roadside. Relaxing and most importantly, eating on the streets of Yangon is another way to explore the exciting food culture influenced by India and China.