‘This is Burma’, wrote Rudyard Kipling. ‘It is quite unlike any place you know about.’
Often mistaken to be the capital of the country, Yangon is the heart of Mynamar. Formerly known as Burma, Mynamar is a country rich in culture and hospitality. As the economy in Mynamar is still picking up progressively, travellers haven’t invaded this beautiful haven in full force yet. So, be prepared to be heavily reliant on hand gestures and have tremendous difficulties especially with regards to moving around via public transportation when you’re there. If you’re stopping by in Yangon for a quick 48 hours or so, this post should help you in your planning so keep reading.
1. Shwedagon Pagoda
In a land of pagodas, Shwedagon Pagoda is the biggest and most iconic of all to marvel at when in Yangon. The grandness of the 99m tall stupa will amaze you as arrive at the pagoda and make your ascent up. What Angkor Wat is to Cambodia or Halong Bay to Vietnam, Shwedagon Pagoda is to Myanmar. Hence, anytime of the year it’s gonna be crowded with both locals and tourists alike. But, the good thing is the temple is large enough to find a quiet spot and have a moment.
2. Mingle with the locals
You’ll love the country for the warmth of the Burmese people and their hospitality. Most of them have trouble speaking proper English and yet, the depths they go, to try and help you out just warms your heart. At so many instances, when I struggled to move around or when I needed insider info on places of interest or about nearby towns like Bago etc. speaking to the locals was really helpful. After all, there is only so much travel blogs and books can tell you about a country.
3. Circular railway
This 3 hour loop train ride for USD 0.10 around Yangon is a must-do, if you don’t mind the rather long travel. It’s the best way to have a sneak peek into the lives of the locals. Over the various stops, you’ll pass by a couple of markets bustling with activities that you will be tempted to hop off the train for a purchase or just to snap a couple of photos. Not a huge fan of train rides, but I must say this was a pretty memorable ride.
4. Aung San Market
Yangon’s market isn’t really cheap as opposed to those neighbouring countries like Cambodia. Nonetheless, wandering around the market and manoeuvring through the narrow alleys in the afternoon is an experience by itself. The market ranges from sale of handicrafts to textiles to local food. You’ll be sure to pick up something along the way.
5. Local food
Trying out the local food is always the most anticipated activity for any traveller; I’m definitely no different. Mohinga, the dish shown above, definitely isn’t very appealing on the eyes but, tastes good. This rice noodle dish in fish based soup and accompanied with deep fried fritters is a very popular breakfast dish among the locals in Myanmar.
All images belong to Solosingaporean unless otherwise credited for. Please give credit where it’s due.