10 Travel Tips for Yangon, Myanmar

10 TIPS

1. Traffic in Yangon (or Rangoon)

Yangon is not, as one may assume, the capital of Myanmar, but it is the country largest city.

The population is nearly 6 millions and being an important commercial centre, the traffic can be a problem, with the peak hour around 6pm. Take measures in order to avoid getting stuck in the traffic around that time.

 

2. Iconic place to visit: Shwedagon Pagoda

Shwedagon Pagoda is the most famous religious site in Myanmar, more than 2000 years old, popular amongst tourists and pilgrims.

It’s opened daily from 4 am to 10 pm but I would recommend that you go later after 4pm, because the sunset view is spectacular.

The place is amazing, rich in history and culture that’s why the best tip that i can give to anyone is to take a guide from the entry (freelance locals are waiting and they don’t take more than 10$ for their service).

The entry fee is 8$.

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3. Go for a 3hr ride with the Circular Train

For only 1$ (how cheap right?) you can take a train from Yangon Central Railway Station that will take you all around the city.

Yes, there is no AC and the seats can be a little uncomfortable, but you’ll get to interact with the locals (friendly people) and observe how life sparkles in the markets that you’ll see along the way. You can even use it as an hopon hopoff if you want to take pictures or you are tired and just want to grab a taxi to go back to the hotel.

4. Don’t discuss politics

It’s better not to mention to any local about the anglo-burmese war (from 1852) or about the current conflict between the Buddhists and the Muslims. Those are definitely big”no-no” topics in discussing to the people of Myanmar.

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5. Eat/drink

Best thing to eat is their national meal, called mohinga, which is basically rice noodles cooked in a fish curry.

Best thing to drink: tea = laphet (traditional fermented tea leaf)

The Burmese people also eat the tea (which you’ll not see in other Asian countries), at every corner of the street you’ll find a kiosk selling hot laphet.

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6. Don’t accept damaged notes

If you receive as change banknotes that don’t look quite ok to you ( ripped, damaged) please don’t accept them. Later you’ll not be able to buy anything /or change the notes back into your currency.

Also if you are bringing dollars to change there you should make sure that the notes are in good condition, otherwise they will not be accepted.

7. Respect people’s prayer time and meditation

Shwedagon Pagoda is also a pilgrimage place for Buddhists so you’ll often see people gathered together for praying or meditation. They will be barefoot most probably and bending down on their knees.

Tourists are supposed to limit the noise level, remove their shoes in front of the temples, don’t point their feet at the Buddha statues, dress decent (covered shoulders for ladies) and try not to bother locals by taking flash photos when they are meditating.

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8. Don’t touch the monks

I think i said this in a post before :). Yes, they are nice people and they will accept you to take pictures of them or together but as soon as you try to just touch their shoulder they will step back fast. Don’t put yourself in this position cause you’ll probably feel embarrassed.

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9. Burmese numerals

Even if some of the locals do speak English it’s still easy to get lost because everything around you it’s written in Burmese (including the numbers), so if you are trying to catch a certain bus, it can only be a lucky guess to try to read the number.

10. Visit Yangon’s Chinatown

This place has been active since the British expanded Yangon in the 1850s, and is located in the center downtown.

Here you can try the local food, grab a snack, there are all sorts of barbecue, fruits (pomelo is amazing). You can also go for shopping – gold, leather, crafts, gems – all of good quality/price.

16 Comment

  1. Jenni says: Reply

    I would love to do the circular train and its so cheap

  2. Interesting tips, especially about the damaged notes. I’ll have to keep these in mind for a future trip!

  3. I’ve been drooling over all of the Myanmar posts I’ve been seeing lately! Thanks so much for sharing these tips with us!

  4. Hendrik says: Reply

    Fantastic photos and really helpful great tips – that’s how a travel post should be like. Well done. Especially the topic about the monks is quite important and a big thing in many Asian regions. Respect towards different cultures is very important and essential for any tourist everywhere 🙂

    1. Thank you Hendrik, this is very encouraging for me. I appreciate your comment 🤗

  5. This is great! Thanks for sharing so much information on Myanmar, I especially appreciate the cultural cues I should be aware of. 🙂

    1. Thanks Elisabeth Bunch 🤗

  6. fionarabbit2013 says: Reply

    Very practical tips you have written here. I think “Don’t accept damaged notes” and “Don’t discuss politics” are quite helpful tips to first-time visitors to Myanmar. I’ve never been there but some friends of mine have and they told me exactly the same things 😀 Need to take note for my future trip to Burma then!

    1. Thank you fionarabbit2013, i hope i’ll go back there one day as well 🤗

  7. This is a great roundup for visiting Myanmar. I think this country is often overlooked as a destination (it was for us), but your story brings new light to Rangoon as a travel destination.

  8. Wow I didn’t know the city of Yangon was that large. Very useful tips to make a visit to this place into a great one.

  9. gokulr27 says: Reply

    Those are really useful tips. Myanmar is pretty close for me as I am from India.

  10. whisperwanderlust says: Reply

    I will be traveling to South East Asia starting with January 24 for two months, but unfortunately, I will not go in Myanmar. But definitely, I will use your advice when I will plan my vacation in this corner of the world. You have provided some great tips!

    1. Thanks a lot, enjoy to the maximum your 2 months!!!

  11. Elise says: Reply

    I love Burma! It’s easily my favourite country in the entire world. Yangon was a struggle though, be careful of the street food there! Eat from the busy stalls, that the women and children are eating from. We were struck down by the most vicious food poisoning we’ve ever had!

    Shwedagon was stunning nonetheless, did you visit Bagan too?

    1. travellingtip says: Reply

      Hi Elise, no i didn’t visit it. Hope to do it one day :).

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