goKonrad’s Yangon travel blog (Myanmar – Burma)
Myanmar is not the only country with a history of military dictatorship, civil war, and oppression, but it is perhaps the only one where its citizens have remained so friendly, welcoming, and fun-spirited. You will find the country’s dark history inconceivable when you sit outside on Yangon’s 19th Street and drink a Myanmar Lager while chatting with locals. As one of the last countries in Southeast Asia to open its doors to foreigners, it is a gem for travelers disillusioned by the waves of backpackers in Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. The time to visit is now, but do not skip off to the countryside and its many temples without spending a few days in Yangon. While the city is no longer the capital of Myanmar, it remains the economic and cultural heart of a country on the outset of a transformation.
Here are a few of my favorite things to do in Yangon that you should make sure to see and do on your trip:
- 19th Street : Located in city’s Chinatown, this street is the main spot for the city’s celebrated street food and nightlife scene. Pick out some raw meat and vegetable skewers to have cooked, grab a beer, and find an empty plastic chair to hang out with the lively locals and travelers.
- Visit temples and chat with monks: Myanmar is a Buddhist country and Shwedagon Pagoda and Sule Pagoda are two impressive temples you should not miss. Most of the monks are especially friendly and happy to chat with visitors.
- Reclining Buddha: Officially called, Chaukhtatgyi Paya, this is a massive, 65-meter reclining Buddha statue.
- The Strand Bar: This 1901-built hotel bar provides a glimpse to the British Empire’s colonial splendor. Whether you come for high tea or a cocktail, this grand bar provides a glimpse of what the early 20th century Handbook for Travellers called “the finest hostelry East of Suez.”
- Bogyoke Aung San Market: This is the city’s main market and is a fun place to browse for local artisan crafts and art pieces.
- Yangon Circular Railroad Ride: Riding the train around the city’s circular loop is the best way to get a glimpse of Yangon’s outskirts and neighborhoods. Start at the central train station and the entire trip should take approximately 3 hours.
- Rooftop Bars: Yangon is a great city to view from above with its faded buildings, stuffed rooftops, bright gold pagodas, and ocean views. Several downtown hotels have a rooftop restaurant and bar, but two of the city’s best include Vista Rooftop Bar and Sapphire Bar & Lounge.
- Aung San Suu Kyi: Suu Kyi is the renowned Burmese statesperson, politician, activist, and author. She was the daughter of Myanmar’s founding father and the Burmese government placed her on house arrest for 15 years when she began her political career. Suu Kyi is one of the most respected fighters for human rights and democracy in the world, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 for her tireless work. You can go see the outside of her house, famous for her years under house arrest, but I especially recommend reading both of her books while visiting the country: Letters from Burma and Freedom from Fear.
I hope you enjoyed my Yangon travel blog album!
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Yangon travel blog (Myanmar – Burma)