Yangon (Rangoon) Travel Guide
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- 98%Local Culture
- 75%History Buffs
- 63%Adventure Travelers
Member Reviews (48)Write a review
- Yangon (Rangoon)Member ofOutdoor EnthusiastsAdventure TravelersJul 17, 2014
Though it's easily the best-connected place in Myanmar, dusty, disordered Yangon still feels pretty far out of the way. With the exception of the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda, it's without any particularly memorable sights, but the interesting back streets and tasty teahouse culture (have a fish mohinga and some diabetes-inducing sweet Burmese tea) make it a place worth a night of your time, if nothing more.Recommended for:
- Yangon (Rangoon)Member ofLocal CultureOutdoor EnthusiastsBudget Travelers+ 5Dec 17, 2013
I actually liked Yangon a lot more than I thought I would. I usually try to avoid spending a lot of time in the biggest city of a country just because sometimes they have a sort-of blah international lack-of-culture. But I was pleasantly surprised to find a lot of interesting local culture in Yangon, really friendly people, excellent food, and fantastic markets. On the downside, Yangon is painful noisy and traffic-filled.Recommended for:
- Yangon (Rangoon)Member ofLocal CultureFamily TravelersFoodiesHistory BuffsDec 06, 2013
Myanmar (Burma) is one of my all-time favourite places to visit. It feels like you’ve entered a time warp straight into the ‘innocence’ of the 1950s. It’s filled with history, ancient monuments and a photographer’s dream destination.
What struck me about Burma was the people. It was so easy to chat with them. I made friends with a blanket seller on the boat and she invited me back to her house. When I was watching the sunset in Pagan, a little girl came over and gave me a butterfly brooch as a present.
Here are the main places to visit for first time visitors of Myanmar
Swhedagon Pagoda - The beautiful golden stupa dominates the city. This is not to be missed. Spend a morning or afternoon here, just taking in the atmosphere.
Bogyoke Aung San Market - Pick up beautiful tribal weaves (they make great cushion covers) monks slippers, puppets.
Much of the old city of Mandalay was burnt down. Visit the temple on Mandalay hill. Take a boat trip from here to Pagan. There are boats geared for tourists but I took the local ferry and made friends with the Burmese passengers. A great way to travel.
A plain covered with two thousand stupas and pagodas. Rent a bicycle and hop from stupa to stupa. Take your time here. The sunsets are magnificent. Spend at least 2 days here. The Burmese form of Bhuddism has evolved to include the worship of nat spirits (in short, the worship of lost souls) Look out for Nat Pwes (Nat Festivals). There are lots of kids hanging around the stupas. I always bring a whole stash of pencils / colouring pens for the kids as presents.
Stay on the lake. When I was there, you can stay cheaply on a simple floating accommodation on the lake. These days, there are quite a few luxury options. Locals row the boats with their legs. Visit the jumping cat monastery. Sit and chat with the monk while you watch their pet cats jump
Get to know the locals:
You will feel out of place wearing pants here. Everyone wears a longyi and you should try wearing one too! The kids and ladies rub tanaka ( a yellow powder made of ground bark) on their faces as a natural sunblock. The patterns they make on their faces with the tanaka can be really beautiful. One advice before you go there: read up about it, especially the history. Norman Lewis wrote a very good book on Burma: Golden Earth - Travels in Burma. Mingalaba! (Hello and Goodbye in Burmese)Recommended for:
- Yangon (Rangoon)Jan 29, 2013
Incredible. Definitely one of the highlights of Myanmar. Zigzag through the bustling streets and you'll forget what century it is. As of now, it's totally unspoiled by tourism, and the people are kind and honest. Don't miss the Schwedagon temple!
- Yangon (Rangoon)Jul 05, 2012
I wrote about this visit for the Irrawaddy. Rangoon is a broken down town of tea shops and children skipping school. People pile into busses and actually enter and exit through the windows, they are that crowded. The junta runs the joint and if a Burmese person meets with you, you can guarantee that they are someone of importance and that the government is aware that you are meeting them. My guide, a local journalist, took me to a family's house in central Rangoon. It took us some time to find the apartment building. They all kind of look the same. When we found it, we entered the elevator lobby with our gifts of Coca-Cola and nuts. We traveled to the sixth floor and they greeted us warmly with the color TV blaring loudly and a set of family photo albums on the coffee table. We drank Burmese moonshine and talked about the soap opera. My host said, "Do you know what is happening in this soap opera?" I said, "yes, it's a love story." He said, "No, it is more than that. It is the political bullshits!" Apparently, the woman in the soap opera symbolized Burma, and her jilted lover represented the government. The woman was cheating on him with foreign imposters and the resolution sought was her faithfulness with him. Well, it got resolved, but my host insisted this was still "the bullshits." He opened up his photo album. Mixed among pictures of his daughters on family trips were photos of him and his wife. The year was in the early 1980s. There they stand, dressed in Mao suits, hefting Ak-47s. Rebels in the north, trying to create a free country. Here they are now, watching "the bullshits" on TV. Burma is a sad country, because so much of its human potential is locked under paranoia. Visit it, to give its people hope and something to talk about. It's the talking that gets them to take action.
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