How to spend 24 hours in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest and vibrant city!
There are many words that can describe the city of Yangon. Adorned with golden stupas, this vibrant city can appear hectic, noisy and to be quite frank, rather smelly at first glimpse. But during our 24 hours in Yangon, we found the city to be one full of diversity, a place where tradition blends seamlessly into the modern and crazy bustle of city life.
We loved its crazy mix of traffic jams and buses full to the brim with young Burmese alongside harmonious pagodas, open air markets, colorful streets and the kindest people we have ever met on our travels.
We had been very fortunate to have family friends take us in during our stay in Yangon, preparing a full day itinerary in Yangon. We were also very lucky to have our own driver called TunTun who took us wherever we wanted to go. So here are the highlights and how we spent 24 hours in Yangon.
Things to see and do in Yangon
1. Aung San Suu Kyi House
A drive downtown took us to the house of Aung San Suu Kyi near Inya Lake. Although we knew we wouldn’t be able to see the house you can see the famous gate behind which she was held under house arrest for 15 years.
2. Chauktatgyi Buddha
Our next stop was the Chauktatgyi Buddha, one of Myanmar’s more beautiful reclining Buddhas. It’s definitely worth seeing, as it is encrusted with jewels and it’s not far from Shwedagon Pagoda. We didn’t pay to go in here but they do recommend a small donation.
3. Bogyoke Aung San Market
Next was the famous Bogyoke Aung San Market with over 2000 shops and stalls selling everything from typical souvenirs of lacquerware and handicrafts to gold jewellery, sapphire and ruby jewels, traditional wear such as a Longyi and whole range of materials to pick from to have your own Longyi tailored to you. It’s a very busy market, but it was a good chance for us to try out our haggling skills!
Our lovely host MoMo did tell us to be careful of the jewels at the market, as you may pay more for rubies here than in other places and also you can’t always trust their authenticity. But we did purchase Mangosteens that were very nice and sweet! Yum!
Read all about “What not to buy in Myanmar” for helpful tips to avoid being scammed or purchasing fake souvenirs!
4. Yangon University
Yangon University was once the most prestigious university in the whole of South East Asia, and today the largest in Myanmar. We visited the grounds of the campus as it marks an important site in the history of Yangon and Myanmar. In 1988, Yangon University was the scene of brutal attacks and murders of students as part of the 8888 Uprising, a significant date in Burmese history.
Read all about the 888 uprising here “The Day A New Era Was Born”
5. Inya Lake
Inya Lake is the largest in the city and a great place to visit if you’re seeking local hotspots and places to meet local people. Don’t be surprised if you find delicious street food being cooked, young couples taking a walk or even local monks and school kids approaching you to practice their English!
6. Shwedagon Pagoda
The last stop of the day was the famous Shwedagon Pagoda, the highlight of our tour of Yangon. We entered from the South Gate and paid an admission fee of $8 each which unfortunately goes to the government, but it includes the lift up to the main platform. We arrived an hour before sunset when it was still quiet, but as sunset approached the area became very busy with tourists.
Its great to sit and watch the color of the pagoda change with the sun, and its a great atmosphere in the evening. During the heat of the day the floors can get too hot so the evening is a better time to visit.
Once we had watched the sunset, we left and had dinner at the Golden Duck. The food here is mainly Chinese but it’s a local spot that was very busy and we were the only tourists. Food here was cheap and very tasty. 18,000k for a meal for four people including beer, starters and a main each. We went home to bed after this as we had a long day over 24 hours of being awake! Zzzzzz
The story continues….Day 2 Discovering The Ancient City Of Bago