Guide to Yangon, Myanmar

Updated: Apr 3, 2020

The former capital city of Myanmar- filled with all the hustle and bustle you would expect of a big city. If I'm being completely honest, it wasn't my favorite and traveling solo as a female in Myanmar this was the only place I felt a little unsafe on my own. But, since it is the biggest city you will most likely fly in here, so I recommend just spending one day here and then hopping on the night bus somewhere else!

First things first: VISA

Make sure you apply for your E-visa ahead of time here. The process usually takes 3-6 days for them to email you the E-visa, but apply early enough just to be sure. The visa is only valid for 90 days from the date you are issued it, so make sure you don't apply for it too early before your trip. You are permitted to stay in the country for 28 days. Once you arrive in Myanmar they will just look at the paper (quite briefly) and stamp both your passport and the E-visa paper. Very easy! (No full-page visa sticker in your passport)

Getting from the airport to the city

There is a Yangon airport shuttle bus right when you walk outside. There are 2 different buses with 2 different routes, but you will most likely take the Kabar Aye Pagoda Road Route because it goes to more touristy spots. It costs 500 MMK and will take you about 1 hour from the airport to the Shwedagon Pagoda. (A taxi will costs around 10,000 MMK)

1) Pyay Road route (Green)

- Yangon International Airport

- Miles Ocean

- Miles Junction

- Mile Hotel

- Ady Junction

- Lotte Hotel

- Innya Kan Boung

- KBZ Head Office

- Junction Square

- Dagon Centre

- TawWin Centre

- City Mall (St. John)

- General Hospital

- Junction City

- Yangon Railway Station

2) Kabar Aye Pagoda Road Route (Red)

- Yangon International Airport

- Miles Junction

- Yangon Hotel

- Nawaday Cinema

- Kabar Aye Pagoda

- Sedona Hotel

- Myanmar Plaza

- Melia Hotel

- Excel Hotel

- Shwe Gone Dine

- Shwedagon Pagoda

- Zoological Garden

- Park Royal Hotel

- Thamada Cinema

- Shangrila Hotel

- Sule Square

- Sule Pagoda

- Yangon Railway Station

It's not a hop-on-hop-off bus, it's a normal city bus. So if you get off on 1 stop, then you must pay another 500 MMK ($0.33 USD) to get back on and go to the next stop.

Things to do

1. Shwedagon Pagoda

The 2,500 year old pagoda is arguably the most famous in all of Myanmar. It's the most sacred and impressive Buddhist site for the people of Myanmar. The temple grounds consists hundreds colorful temples, stupas, and statues, and the actual Shwedagon Pagoda is covered with hundreds of gold plates and the top of the stupa is encrusted with 4531 diamonds; the largest of which is a 72 carat diamond.

Cost: 10,000 MMK

Hours: 4am-10pm

2. Sule Pagoda

According to legend, it was built before the Shwedagon Pagoda during the time of the Buddha, making it more than 2,600 years old. The pagoda itself looks very similar to the Shwedagon Pagoda with the gold plating and jewels, but on a much smaller scale. My advice is to look from the outside, but not pay to go in because the temple grounds are very small there isn't too much to see aside from the pagoda itself.

Cost: 4,000 MMK

3. Bogyoke Aung San Market

Maybe a bit touristy, but worth a look. A large building filled with artisan crafts and trinkets being sold. Make sure to bring cash and be ready to barter with vendors for all your souvenirs! (Also, right across the street there is the "New Bogyoke Market" which has small clothing vendors on the bottom and a luxury mall on top!)

Note: Closed on Mondays

4. Kandawgyi Park/Palace

The park consists of a large lake and surrounding grassy areas. Take a walk along the infamous wooden bridge over the water, and enjoy escaping the craziness of the city.

Cost: free

Hours: 4am-10pm

5. Sule Square

A very western and modern shopping and restaurant area. This is a nice place to come and shop, or just relax in an air conditioned building and escape from the craziness of the city outside.

6. Chaukhtatgyi Paya

The temple of the 65 meter long Reclining Buddha decorated with very expressive colors, white face, red lips, blue eye shadow, and a golden robe. The only problem with this site is that it's not walking distance from all the other sites to see, so you'll need to grab a taxi.

Cost: free

Photo by Tiberio Frascari © / flickr

7. Botahtaung Pagoda

Another golden pagoda! The beautiful part about this one is it's location right along the river. You can easily see the pagoda grounds from the outside, you don't need to pay to go inside. So walk around and then continue on down towards the river to watch the sunset over the water.

Getting to the Bus Station

Most likely you'll be taking a bus to your next destination in Myanmar since it's the most common way to travel around the country. The biggest bus station is Aung Mingalar bus station, which is actually farther from the city than the airport. But, if you hop on Bus 36 (there's a station right outside of Sule Square) it will take you straight to the bus station in about 1 hour and 20 minutes. It costs 500 MMK.

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