Now let’s take a trip around Yangon! | Sunday Observer
Myanmar

Now let’s take a trip around Yangon!

Wanderlust but not sure where to start planning your next trip? The Youth Observer’s Wanderlust segment will take you to cities and exotic destinations around the world and help you plan the trip of your life. This week’s segment of Wanderlust takes you to the land of golden Pagodas - Myanmar’s largest city Yangon.

In 2012 Myanmar came out of decades of Army imposed hibernation. As tourists started trickling in, over the years Myanmar’s cities like Yangon and Bagan have become tourist hot spots placing the country firmly on the tourism map of South East Asia. While Yangon is Myanmar’s largest city, it is a metropolitan of nearly seven million people. Home to golden pagodas including the famous Shwedagon Pagoda the city also holds the most number of colonial-era buildings found in any South East Asian destination making it a haven for architecture enthusiasts. Open Markets, Lakes, Gardens, Mausoleums and a plethora of Pagodas are all part of Yangon’s charm. Despite opening its doors to the world nearly a decade ago not much has changed in Yangon, therefore still giving visitors a glimpse of the unadulterated real Myanmar.

Visa and flights

  •  Sri Lankan passport holders can apply for an e-visa by visiting https://www.myanmarvisacorp.com/ and the process would take less than 10 minutes to complete.
  •  A single-entry tourist visa valid for 28 days would cost 75 USD and be ready in three working days under standard processing. The faster you need the visa, higher the cost will be.
  •  A number of carriers operate flights to Yangon including Thai Airways, Malaysian Airlines and Singapore Airlines. Other options include Malindo and budget carrier Lion Air. There are no direct flights to Yangon and all airlines stopover at Bangkok, Thailand.

Accommodation

Cheapest - Surprisingly Airbnb offers some good options in Yangon for travellers on a budget. Many are studio apartments with its cost ranging from just 10 USD - 45 USD. Scott @ 31 street is a charming hostel where a private room is just 25 USD per night.

Mid Range - Being a commercial city many hotels are modern and sleek. A double room at the popular Lotte Hotel Yangon costs around Rs. 21 000 per night. Meliya Yangon is yet another option. The hotel is known for its views over the nearby lake despite being smack dab middle of the city. Book through booking.com for discounts.

Luxury - Yangon has a number of luxury options. The Strand, Savoy Hotel, Belmond Governors House and Rosewood Yangon are luxuries. Expect to pay around Rs. 50 000 per night for a room at these five-star hotels. However, if you are planning to be out and about, the best option would be to go for either budget or mid-range accommodation.

Things to do

When one mentions Yangon, golden gilded Pagodas as far as the eyes can see come to mind. But Yangon is not only about its Buddhist Pagodas. Its open markets are inviting and have an array of food as well as handicrafts. Among the many interesting things to do and see in Yangon, here are Wanderlust’s chosen top 5 things to do and see in the city.

Shwedagon Pagoda

Shwedagon Pagoda is perhaps the main and most famous tourist attraction in Yangon. It is the spectacle of all shrines surrounding it. During sunset the Pagoda is abuzz with people, especially, Buddhists visiting from around the world lighting incense and praying. The pagoda stands at 326-feet-tall and dominates the Yangon skyline. It is believed to contain relics of the four previous Buddhas. It is situated on Singuttara Hill, to the west of Kandawgyi Lake.

Yangon Circular Railway

For train enthusiasts, a ride on Yangon’s circular railway is a must. It is a 45.9 km railways system that runs in a loop around the city’s metropolitan area which connects Yangon suburbs to the main city. A relic from the past, it is today mostly a tourist attraction. If you have around three hours to spare, a round trip on the train is a must.

Kandawgyi Lake

A stroll along the 150-acre man-made Kandawgyi Lake is a welcome respite from the hustling and bustling Yangon city. It is located just east of the Shwedagon Pagoda. It has a number of restaurants including a boat-shaped restaurant called ‘Karaweik Palace’. It also houses a zoo, amusement park, and an aquarium.

Bogyoke Aung San Market

If you like to shop, the Bogyoke Aung San Market is the place to visit. It is still popularly known by its colonial name ‘Scott Market’. You can find everyday goods here including food. But also on offer are more exotic items such as Jade jewellery, lacquer ware, rosewood crafts, and silk cushion covers. Believe it or not, there are over 2,000 stalls at the market housed in an old colonial building, located around one kilometre north of Sule Pagoda.

Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue

This is the one and only Synagogue in Myanmar. The synagogue stands between Indian paint shops and Muslim traders on a small street near the city centre. It has been in existence since 1854 and used to house 2,000 Torahs. But today only two remain. The synagogue still serves the few Jewish people left in Yangon.

Other interesting sites :

  •  Sule Pagoda
  •  Meilamu Paya
  •  Inya Lake
  •  Maha Bandula Park
  •  Food to try
  •  Tea Lea Salad
  •  Shan Style Rice
  •  Burmese Curries
  •  Nangyi Thoke - Dry Noodle Dish
  •  Mohinga

Best Places to Eat:

There are many cafes lining the streets of Yangon but it is especially known for its tea shops. Locals can often be seen seated on dangerously low stools eating and drinking hot milky tea while chatting at the street-side shops. Lucky Seven Tea Shop on 49th Street is a good option to test out an authentic Burmese tea shop.

 

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