Formerly the nation’s official capital, nowadays Yangon is the most important commercial hub in Myanmar. The city’s skyline is prevailed by the ‘blinking wonder’ of Shwedagon Paya, a dazzling Buddhist temple that draws palmers from all walks of life. Yangon is an incredible blend of golden pagodas, intact colonial buildings, hastily-erected scaffolding and history-stained streets.
The city’s structure manifests its colorful history of ethnic and religious diversity while providing a backdrop to the vibrant energy of the daily urban life. The city hosts a lineup of museums, art galleries and markets, in which you can take in Myanmar culture and haggle to your heart’s content.
However, it is also so-called a city of the past, as seen by longyi-wearing, betel nut chewing hikers, their hospitality towards strangers, rustic and smiling street vendors and its pungent smells. The flapping saffron of the Buddhist monks’ robes is seen often around the crowded streets during their morning alms walks or sometimes in block-long lines. Wander around the streets and explore the nooks and crannies of the city slowly, visitors head to some of the most beautiful sights; linger in tea shops and get to know local delicacies.
Things to know when coming to Yangon
When coming to Yangon, here are some things you should know:
1. Visa Requirements: Check if you need a visa to enter Myanmar. Make sure to obtain the appropriate visa before your trip.
2. Climate: Yangon has a tropical monsoon climate. It’s generally hot and humid throughout the year, so pack lightweight and breathable clothing. Carry an umbrella or raincoat as rainfall is common.
3. Currency: The official currency in Myanmar is the Burmese Kyat (MMK). It’s advisable to carry some cash as credit cards may not be widely accepted. Money exchange centers and ATMs are available in the city.
4. Language: The official language is Burmese, but English is spoken in many tourist areas, hotels, and restaurants. Learning a few basic Burmese phrases can be helpful when interacting with locals.
5. Transportation: Getting around Yangon is mainly done by taxis, ride-hailing apps, and public buses. Taxis may not always have meters, so negotiate the fare before starting the trip. Traffic can be congested, so plan your journeys accordingly.
6. Safety: Yangon is generally a safe city, but it’s advised to take precautions like avoiding walking alone late at night in dimly lit areas. Keep an eye on your belongings and be cautious of your surroundings.
7. Etiquette and Culture: Myanmar has a rich cultural heritage, and it’s important to respect local customs and traditions. Dress modestly when visiting religious sites, remove your shoes when entering temples, and be mindful of Buddhist practices.
8. Cuisine: Yangon offers a wide range of delicious Burmese cuisine. Don’t miss trying local specialties like Mohinga (a traditional fish noodle soup) and tea leaf salad. Street food stalls and local teahouses are worth exploring for authentic flavors.
9. Places to Visit: Yangon has several attractions to explore, including the famous Shwedagon Pagoda, Chaukhtatgyi Buddha Temple, Bogyoke Aung San Market, and the colonial buildings in downtown Yangon. Take some time to experience the lively street markets and local neighborhoods.
Remember to stay updated with travel advisories and guidelines from reliable sources before your trip. Enjoy your visit to Yangon!