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Ultimate To Do List in Yangon

What to shop, eat and do in Yangon

Known to some as Rangoon, Yangon is the former capital of Myanmar as well as the country’s largest city with a population of about six million. The humble city boasts almost as many colonial edifices as religious sites, built on streets that are full of character. If you’re seeking to immerse yourself in its local culture and traditions, here are seven things you shouldn’t miss.

1. Watch the Alms Giving Ceremony

Robed in burgundy and saffron, the salient shaven Buddhist monks tread the streets barefooted with a bowl in hand every morning to gather alms from the people. Monks do not beg or ask for food directly from the folks. They do not make eye contact with the donors, nor do they express thanks in this ritual, lest their actions cause them to receive more alms. You may also see little girls, or nuns with similarly shaved heads, dressed in pink robes participating in the ceremony as well.


2. Visit the Shwedagon Pagoda

Address: Township, Yangon, Myanmar.
Opening Hours: 4:00am to 11:00pm daily, last admission at 9:45pm
Admission Fee: USD 8 per person

A majestic golden temple that can be seen from almost anywhere in the city, the 100-metre tall Shwedagon Pagoda is undoubtedly the single most sacred site in Yangon. It shines both in the day and at night, when the entire 2,500-year-old structure is lit up. Not to mention, its upper dome has over 5,000 diamonds and gems. As it is a religious site, visitors are advised to wear knee-length bottoms and long-sleeved shirts. Shoes are not allowed in the shrine either, so it’s best to swing by near sunset when it’s cooler.

Get directions | See other pagodas in Yangon


3. Free the birds at Sule Pagoda Temple

Address: Junction of Sule Pagoda Road and Maha Bandula Road, Yangon, Myanmar
Phone Number+95 1 652 323 
Opening Hours: 4:00am to 10:00pm
Admission Fee: USD2 per person 

Near the entrances of some temples (most likely the Sule Pagoda) in Yangon, you will see vendors with cages and baskets filled with little brown birds. But they are not to be kept as pets – they are to be set free as a symbolic spiritual offering. The birds also symbolise the freedom of the Burmese people, who for decades in the past had suffered in captivity.

Get directions


4. Get your face painted with Thanaka cream

Buy it at: Bogyoke Aung San Market
Addresss: Bo Gyoke Road, Yangon, Myanmar 
Opening Hours: 10:00am to 5:00pm (closed on Sundays) 

Used traditionally by Burmese women for more than two millenniums, thanaka is a type of natural sun lotion made from ground bark that helps keep your skin smooth and protected. You can either purchase a jar and apply the yellow-white paste yourself, or have it painted on your cheeks for you in the shape of a leaf or a simple circle. Buy it at the Bogyoke Aung San Market just 10 minutes' walk from PARKROYAL on Yangon. 

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5. Try wearing a Longyi

Buy it at: Bogyoke Aung San Market
Addresss: Bo Gyoke Road, Yangon, Myanmar (Burma)
Opening Hours: 10:00am to 5:00pm (closed on Sundays) 

It’s the easiest way to blend into the local crowd. The Burmese people are pretty conservative, and it shows in their simple garments that cover most parts of their bodies – you’ll rarely see locals in bikinis on the beach even. Men and women both sport this traditional sarong-like skirt known as a longyi. With endless colours and patterns to choose from, you’ll surely find one that suits your taste.

Get directions

6. Dig into some local eats

Address: Rangoon Tea House, 2nd Floor, 77-79 Pansodan St (Lower Middle Block) Yangon, Myanmar, 11182
Phone Number: +95 9 979 078681
Opening Hours: 8:00am to 10:00pm daily 

Finally, no travel experience is complete without a cultural escapade for your taste buds. Local dishes, such as the mohinga (pictured) and the laphet thoke, are definite must-trys. A staple in Burmese cuisine, mohinga is a type of mildly spicy soup made with vermicelli noodles and catfish. It is known as Myanmar’s national dish, and usually eaten for breakfast as well. Laphet thoke, on the other hand, is a fermented tea leaf salad – yes, you don’t just drink tea; you eat them too. We recommend you try the renditions from Rangoon Tea House, located just a few minutes' drive from PARKROYAL Yangon. 

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7. Ride the Yangon Circular Railway

What better way to explore the metropolis than by train? With 39 stations, it circles the entire city, including the rural regions with charming villages and farms. It’s an unorthodox way to see the parts of Yangon that normally go unnoticed by travellers. Pick up some fresh fruits and vegetables on the way too as you pass by markets beside the tracks. The full ride lasts three hours, so feel free to hop off at any point and grab a cab back to the city centre – don’t worry, the taxi fares there are as affordable as train tickets.

Can’t wait to check these items off your list? Start planning for your Yangon trip and book your stay at PARKROYAL Yangon for the best local experience! 

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