Located in south of Myanmar, Yangon is the largest city in the country. Streets are always full of people; eating and chatting while having coffee. Having an international airport, Yangon tend to be the first place where tourists visit; mixture of modern architecture and people’s traditional costumes gives you exotic feelings.
Here is my itinerary when I spent a day in Yangon. (I didn’t have enough time!) I visited a couple of major tourist attractions by walk, and tried some street food on the way. (I calculated 1000 kyats = $0.84)
7:00 Arrive at the bus stop
My friend and I took a night bus departing at 18:30 from Inle Lake the previous night. We booked the bus tickets at, and it cost us 13000 kyats per person. A truck came to pick us up at our hostel at 17:30. We were taken to Shwenyaung, a city 10 km north from where we stayed, and got on the bus.
After arriving at the Yangon Bus Terminal, we crawled through among the taxi drivers waiting for tourists and trying to scam, and finally found the local bus station just beside where we got off the night bus (took so long to get away from them!). We knew we had to take the bus number 43 (it was on a guidebook), so we asked a young guy working there and got on the bus.
It was the bumpiest drive ever. The bus shook harder than the one I took in Laos. Our hips were in the air every time the bus passed the bumps, and we were almost thrown out of the car! (But we survived)
8:00 Arrive at the hostel
We got off at the bus stop close to Sura Pagoda (here). We went on each other’s way, because we wanted to do the different things. We decided to meet up at the airport the next day, and said good-bye.
After I saw her off, I headed to the 20th Street Hostel, at which I found the cheapest dorm room on Agoda.com. However when I got there it was already full, so I booked the second cheapest hostel around the area, Agga Guest House, as the staff at the 20th Street Hostel recommended. I booked for a night as soon as I found it on the website. It cost me around $8 per night. The hostel was on the 13th street, so I walked a couple of blocks to get there.
10:00 Left the hostel
I couldn’t check in when I arrive at the hostel, so I did a little bit of research at the lobby, and headed for the city exploration.
10:15 Arrive at Cathedral
One of the top places I wanted to go was the Bogyoke Market (here), so I decided to walk to get there. On the way to the market, I found a cathedral right next to the market (here). It was one of the buildings from the British colony period. In Yangon, you will see many of them as you walk around the town.
10:20 Arrive at the Market
I was imagining it like open-air local market, as the one I saw at Nyaung Shwe, Inle Lake, but it was actually in a building. It makes sense when you think about the hot and humid weather in Myanmar, especially being surrounded by asphalt around this city center. Inside I noticed some jewelry, clothing and souvenir stores. There were also some places to eat, although the menu was in Burmese, which I don’t understand at all. (It makes me so sad as a foodie)
10:45 Arrive at the Yangon Train Station
After leaving at the market, I decided to go to the Yangon Train Station to check the ticket price (here), because I wanted to take the circle train going to the airport the next day. (I wanted to go cheap as always!) I went to the tourist information center inside, and a man showed me a map and a timetable. It was 200kyat to get to Okkalapa Station (here), the nearest station to the airport. I decided to come back the next day and take one.
11:15 Arrive at the Sura Paya
I decided to take a downtown walking tour on the Lonely Planet Myanmar, so I headed to the Sura Paya, the starting point of the tour. I went inside, and a boy stopped me at the entrance. I had to pay for 3000 kyats ($2.55) if I go inside, but I was so broke at that time, so I decided not to go inside and keep the money for the Shwedagon Pagoda, the most famous Pagoda in Yangon. (At least I managed to take a picture at the entrance!)
11:20 Yangon City Hall
There was a city hall right beside the Sura Pagoda (here). I noticed some burmese traditional features such as the little towers on the roof, but also seemed like there were some influences from British colonial period. I couldn’t go inside, so I took a picture and passed the place.
11:25 Arrive at the park
Across the street from the city hall, there was a big park with a fountain inside. It was a very hot day but there were barely shadows at the place, so I just walked through the place, looking the independence monument beside me.
11:40 Custom building
Yangon has many old wentern style building from the colony period. Walking around the downtoan, it was as if I were at somewhere in Europe. It was old but colorful at the same time, so I enjoyed taking pictures as I walked the streets.
11:45 Arrive at the port
At the south end of the downtown, there was a port, where you can go across the river. When I went to the place there were many locals were passing through, so I guessed a ferry just arrived. Around the port was a street vendor place, so I saw many people selling fruits and drinks.
12:00 Arrive at the book street
After I left the port, I headed to the next check point. I noticed it was a book street, where people sell old books on the street. I wanted to buy some local magazines, but I figured I wouldn’t understand even one bit, so I just took some pictures and left.
I was pretty tired by the time I came back near the Sule Pagoda, so I decided to take a break. On the way to my next destination, I saw this burmese dessert everywhere, so I stopped and tried one. It was similar to the one in Thailand, with milk, toast, coconut and different kinds of jellies. It was a little too sweet for me, and I got bored of the taste at the end. But it was a nice sugar supplement for walk!
Just a few minutes walking away from the dessert place, I found a noodle place on the street, and it looked so good. I couldn’t read the menu (I didn’t even have money to buy a guide book…), I pointed to the one a man was eating. It was a small bowl of noodle in curry soup, with some fried chicken aside. It was really delicious, and it only cost me 200 kyats! ($0.17)
13:00 Passing in front of the Surti Sunni Jamah Mosque
On the way to the next destination, I passed in front of the Surti Sunni Jamah Mosque, the oldest mosque in Yangon. As I was walking through the little India in Yangon, I also saw a couple of others. People were having afternoon tea or coffee at the every corner of the street. I couldn’t believe they were drinking hot drink in this heat!
14:00 Arrive at the Kandawgyi Lake
After walking in the heat for more than 40 minutes, I finally arrived at the Kandawgyi Lake (here). (it was a bad dicision to walk in such a hot weather but I did save my money…) I walked along the pond, seeing dragon statue and temple in far away. There were barely shadows on the walking path so I walked quickly, and decided to move on.
14:45 Arrive at the Shwedagon Pagoda
It was probably the worst time to arrive at the temple. The temperature was around 40C, the ground was super hot that I almost burned my feet, because you are not allowed to wear shoes or socks inside. After paying the fee at the entrance (8000 kyats = $6.81), I walked around the pagoda, on the only remaining shadows at the place. Even the shadow was burning, and it disappeared on my way around, so decided to go back and take a rest. When I was sitting at the stairs, I saw people were marching around the pagoda, carrying umbrellas and gifts for Buddha. Unfortunately I missed the light up at night (I couldn’t bear the heat…), but hopefully I can see it next time!
16:00 Left the Pagoda
After spending quite some time at the temple, I decided to walk back to the hostel because I had been walking around all day, and I was exhausted.
16:25 Shopping mall
On the way back to the hostel, I saw a shopping mall, and as soon as it caught my eyes, I found myself walking inside and feeling the AC (I NEEDED IT!!). I looked around some shops, and went to the supermarket to check the price, because they always have the cheapest goods. Although I was tempted to buy everything on the row, I decided to keep walking back.
17:00 Come back to the hostel
When I came back to the hostel I could check in, and luckily it was 3 bed dorm room with aircon on the 3rd floor, even though I booked the cheapest fan dorm room. There were toilets and bathrooms on the 2nd floor. As for wifi, it was actually the fastest during my stay in Myanmar, although you can’t even book a hostel with that wifi… (There wasn’t any wifi at the hostel we stayed in Bagan, and it was also so slow at the one in Inle Lake!)
I met some people at the hostel, and we decided to go out for dinner together. We stopped at a Shan noodle place on the street. I had one with vegetables, and it was 1500 kyats. ($1.28) The noodle was chewy, and the soup was a little bit spicy, which was perfect for me. Because I was so hungry after the walk, I finished it instantly.
It was such a day full of walking. I definitely wouldn’t recommend to walk, because it will take your energy away in a split second. (I didn’t have choice so…) I saw so many street food places on the road, and how many times I wished I could’ve been able to read the burmese signs! I can’t wait to try other food next time I come back. If you have been to Yangon, let me know what you did, and comment your recommendations down below!