Best Things to Do & See in Yangon

shwedagon pagoda-best place to see in Yangon

Located in the lower Myanmar, Yangon is the most fascinating city in Myanmar. With an abundance of interesting places & beautiful spots, there are so many things to do in Yangon. Being the commercial and artistic hub, Yangon reflects the changes that have taken place since the day the country reopened to the world. It exists in a wide range of new restaurants, bars and shops; skyscrapers, edifice sites, and traffic jams – everywhere. However, in the downtown, it remains the most impressive colonial architecture in all Southeast Asia in its pavements one vast open-air market. Consequently, Yangon is a unique place where modern and tradition are mildly intermingled.
In this article, you will find all the information you need about the top things to do & see in Yangon together with recommendations for where to eat and sleep, which will make a perfect Myanmar vacation and give you unforgettable memories.

Top 5 Best Things to Do in Yangon

Visit Shwedagon Pagoda

Shwedagon Pagoda is no doubt one of the most important religious and ancient sites in Yangon as well as throughout Myanmar. For all tourists, visiting the sacred pagoda is the best thing to do in Yangon tours. With a height of 99 meters, the golden chedi of the pagoda is noticeable from any spots over the city, it glints beneath the sun with its amazingly gold-colored exterior. You would be overwhelmed with your eyes squinted when taking a look at the pagoda, the gold is so fantastic and real.
Shwedagon Pagoda is a time-honored monument which has a huge historical and religious values as well as the exceptional structure. It is a popular and sacred pilgrimage site for many Buddhist followers in Myanmar.
When visiting the pagoda, you will see a series of rituals performed by the Buddhist followers according to the day on which they were born and they also walk around the pagoda’s base.
The interesting part is on the top of the pagoda, within the little golden umbrella, called a hti, which is made of gold, jewels and thousands of diamonds. Despite some binoculars are placed on one side of the pagoda, it’s quite hard to contemplate the whole beauty of the top umbrella.
The easiest way to get to Shwedagon Pagoda from the downtown Yangon is to take a taxi. The open hours are 4 am – 10 pm but it is open during 24 hours on Waxing Day of Tabaung (the day before full moon day of the Myanmar Lunar month Tabaung (around March)) and Waxing Day of Wakhaung – the day before full moon day of the Myanmar Lunar month Wakhaung (around June which is the beginning of the Buddhist Lent).

Sule Pagoda

Not only is a religious and historical site, but Sule Pagoda also is a city navigational landmark since it seems that almost all roads and paths in the downtown Yangon finally open on to the pagoda. This makes visiting Sule Pagoda one of the top things to do in Yangon. Also, numerous government buildings, offices, and a center for bus and road transportation are placed here.
Besides being acknowledged and treasured for its long ancient history, the pagoda has served as a strategic space for politics, rallies, and protests. After paying the entrance fee, you’ll have the chance to enter the gates and see the pagoda up close as well as contemplate the stupa gilded in gold that has been existed for around a hundred years.
If you are in the central downtown Yangon, finding the way to Sule Pagoda by walking or taking a taxi is just a piece of cake, since it is the main rotary intersection right in the middle of downtown. The open hours are from 6 am – 8 am during the week.

sule pagoda - ideal place to visit in Yangon

Chinatown Yangon – Eating and Walking

Walking up and down from 17th to 24th streets as well as Bo Ywe, Latha, Sint Oh Dan Streets and along Maha Bandoola Road – here you find Yangon Chinatown – in other words, Tayote Tan -one of the busiest and most rip-roaring areas of town that have been listed in top 10 best tourist attractions in Myanmar.
Chinatown is an interesting place in Yangon where you will discover Chinese medicine, gold and jewelry stores, restaurants and Chinese Temples. The highlight is in the evening – especially 19th street with its restaurants – turns into a colorful night market, where both sides of the streets are full of food stalls with steaming dishes, snacks like fried insects, vegetables and fruits as mangoes, durians, mangosteens, pomelos, apples, tangerines, grapes, lychees, rambutans, and bananas. Also, 19th street is famous for the barbecue street that has glass cabinets reserved for skewered things ready to be picked and grilled. All you need to do is grab a table at a restaurant then choose the skewers that you want and take it easy while your food is barbecued.
If you’re staying in central Yangon, it’s easy to walk to Chinatown, it takes about 10 – 15 minutes to walk from Sule Pagoda to the town but you have to take care when crossing a few main streets due to the traffic density. The open hours are from 10 am – 6 pm, but it’s best to go to Yangon Chinatown in the evening.

Wandering around Chinatown - must thing to do in Yangon

Relax at Kandawgyi Park

If you want to escape from the chaos and crowd of downtown and seek for a quiet and tranquil place, one of the best things to do in Yangon is to take a walk or have a drink in Kandawgyi Park – an evergreen lake park in Yangon.
There is a nice upraised platform situated on the lake boardwalk where you can walk or exercise with the picturesque sight of the park and Karaweik Palace, Shwedagon Pagoda in the background. You will have an opportunity to catch the sunset view of Shwedagon Pagoda if it is a fine day without raining. Moreover, it includes a number of restaurants with a few lake-side relaxing ones where you can eat and have a drink while watching the landscapes outside.
Visiting Kandawgyi Park is one of the cool things to do in Yangon because it’s such a paradise of peace for those who want the private atmosphere or want to slow down their life.
The easiest way to reach the park is to take a taxi from downtown Yangon. The open hours are from 4 am – 10 pm during the week, so you can go there whenever you want.

relax in Kandawgyi park - good thing to do in yangon

Visit The Local Fresh Markets

If you want to have the real and vivid experience of Yangon, visiting the local market is one of the best things to do in Yangon. You can take a trip out to Thiri Mingalar market. Located on the outskirts of town, it is one of the largest wholesale distribution markets in the city, there, you would have the opportunities to contact with the local life of people and see what goes into the local food. There is a wide range of goods, especially food and fruits which are so fresh and newly harvested from the fields and gardens of local farmers.
Moreover, there are a lot of fresh markets in the downtown Yangon, you can take a trip over these markets if you have enough time because you’d definitely have the interesting experience there watching the small delivery vehicles pass through the busyness and throng or trying the snacks and fast-food in the little stalls inside the market.

yangon street market-interesting place to see in Yangon

Recommended Things to Do In & Around Yangon

National Museum of Myanmar

If you are keen on the history of Myanmar and want to discover more about it from the early days, visiting National Museum is one of the worthwhile things to do in Yangon in particular and Myanmar in general. You will be wallowed in a tempting world of Burmese history and culture to understand more about this “sleeping country” as well as its mysterious angles.
Founded in 1952, the present National Museum is located on Pyay Road in a sumptuous five-storey building. A wealth of artifacts, religious relics, work of art, historical explanations and memorabilia, and tons of golden items from the royal courts of Myanmar are showed up in 14 halls on four stories. The second floor of the museum owns the pieces of Myanmar culture with one hall reserved for Myanmar music, song, and dance. On the third floor, there are 3 exhibition halls including Myanmar paintings, ancient ornaments, and jewelry. The fourth floor is the home of Buddha Images and the display of the ethnic races’ culture. Also, the traditional costumes of all ethnic groups in Myanmar are displayed on the top floor. Particularly, there are 3 halls (Lion Throne Room and Ratanapon Period pieces) located on the ground floor which holds exhibits on the evolution of Myanmar including the script and literature that are highly valuable and irreplaceable. They are all the heritages to keep for the next generation so that they can look back and treasure.
From downtown Yangon, the easiest way to get to the National Museum is by taking a taxi and the open hours are from 9:30 am – 4:30 pm (from Tuesday – Sunday, it’s closed on Money and official holidays).

One of the best ways to explore the best things in Yangon is to walk around without any plans and let the experience run into you without the intention. The friendliness and hospitality of the local people, the variety of delicious food, the truly gorgeous attractions, are just a few of the many reasons which encourage you to pay a visit to Myanmar and you would never be disappointed.

visit National museum of Myanmar - worthwhile things to do in Yangon

Take the Circular Train Around The City

If you do not have enough time to venture far outside of Yangon, taking a circular train around the city will be one of the best things to do in Yangon. Sitting on the train ride will make you feel like you are a truly native people! The exotic train route will lead you through scenic scenery and provide you a window to the simple life beside the track. You can get a glimpse at the life of man Burmese people, see them commute to work and witness what the real Yangon outskirt looks like. Since there is no restroom on the train. You will have to get off and go to a little village to use it in a family. Nevermind about it because the Burmese people are incredibly friendly and hospitable. They will allow you to spend their restroom and might invite you to a cup of tea after that!

Yangon Circular Train-one of the cool things to do in Yangon

Visit Bogyoke Aungsan Market

For those tourists interested in the colonial architecture of Yangon, Bogyoke Aungsan Market (formerly, it was called Scott market) is one of the most interesting places in Yangon to discover the relic of British imperialism. To date, it has been listed on the Yangon City Heritage List. Bogyoke market t is a great place to shop for gems, jewelry, woodcarving, lacquerware, and handicrafts. From the stairway to the main shopping area, you will find a variety of Burmese and Chinese products selling everything that you’re looking for. The market opening from 9 am to 5 pm every day and close on national holidays.

bogyoke aungsan market - one of the interesting places in Yangon


Admire the Reclining Buddha Image in Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda

Last but not least, once visiting Yangon, you cannot miss a chance to visit the reclining Buddha image in Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda for sure. It is one of the most well-known Buddhist temples and one of the most interesting places in Yangon. Stretching 66 meters long, it is really impressive and wonderful that you almost need to see it believe it. Also, the pagoda is where you will witness the Burmese pilgrim paying homage and pray.

visit chauk htat gyi pagoda is one of the top things to do in Yangon