Mingalarbar (pronounced in a sing song-y way “Ming-ga-la-ba) is the cheerful greeting you hear when you reach Myanmar every time. Yangon is the capital and one of the historic city of Myanmar. Here are the top 5 places you should go when you reach Yangon for the first time.
1. Shwedagon Pagoda
If you visit Yangon, I firstly recommend to go to Shwedagon Pagoda. The pagoda is well over 2,500 years old and it is very extensive. It holds 8 hairs of the Gautama Buddha and this was the reason for building the Pagoda in the first place. When you reach there, make a clockwise circulation and enjoy the views of the myriad of pagodas. It is also a place of rich history, culture and myth. You can also enjoy the rich golden reflections from the pagoda especially from its rims and the natural back light from the sun changing hue and intensity as the sun sets and watch the evening colors transform into amber and or Ange hues. It is the best time to take photos and I am sure you will get unique scenes of Shwedagon Pagoda.
How to get there: The easiest way to get to the Shwedagon Pagoda from downtown Yangon is to take a taxi. From downtown, Taxi fees will be 2,000 Kyats
Open hours: 4 am – 10 pm daily
Price: 8,000 Kyats ($8.11) for entrance into the pagoda
2. Sule Pagoda
The next place you should go in Yangon is Sule Pagoda. It is located next to the city hall. Outside Sule Pagoda, visit a palm reader or buy a few of the little doves anxiously trapped in cages, waiting to be liberated. I recommend to go there by foot in the night time if you visit Shwedagon Pagoda in the daytime as the night view of Sule Pagoda will impress you. Take photos on the footbridge near the Pagoda. Enjoy the night view of the downtown area.
How to get there: If you are in central downtown Yangon, you can easily find the Sule Pagoda, it’s the main roundabout intersection right in the middle of downtown
Open hours: 6 am – 8 pm daily
Price: $3 for entrance into the pagoda
3. Bogyoke Aung San Market
Most of the local people say it is one of the best markets located in downtown Yangon. If you want to purchase souvenirs for your friends or relatives, this historical market is definitely the best. You can find many shops are selling authentic jade and jewelry and also local products like Pathein umbrella (I’m sure you will like it) and drawings. I recommend to do a little scouting around before buying something on the first store you see. I am sure you will leave this place with s slimmer wallet.
How to get there: The easiest way to get to there is to take a taxi. From downtown, Taxi fees will be 1,500 Kyats
Open hours: 9 am – 5 pm daily (Except Sunday)
4. Yangon Railway Station
Yangon railway station is the architecture of 19th century. There, you can take the Yangon circular railroad. Taking a ride on the Yangon circular railroad is not really a traditional attraction at all, but it’s a great way to experience and observe the life and culture in around the outskirts of town. The seats are hard and there is no air-con so it won’t be the most comfortable three-hours train journey of your life, but it will be one of the most interesting ride in your lifetime. You will also see people walking up and down selling fruits, vegetables and various fried foods. I recommend to bring some water and food before taking a ride.
How to get there: The train departs from Yangon Central Railroad station, which is located just north of the Sule Pagoda, in-between Sule Pagoda road and Pansodan street. I walked from the Sule Pagoda, and it took about 10 minutes.
Open hours: The easiest place to start is Yangon Central Station from platforms 6 and 7. (but the attendant will tell you exactly about every 30 minutes – 1 hour starting in the morning)
Price: 300 Kyats ($0.30) for a ticket
5. Kandawgyi Park
This is a place to visit at the end of the day after the bustle of Yangon centre. It is peaceful just to sit at the side of the lake and watch the world go by. Whilst the lake is man-made, it is quite beautiful in parts. You can walk or exercise with beautiful views of the lake, the Karawiek Palace, and the Shwedagon Pagoda in the background. If you go in the evening, on a nice day (when it’s not raining), you’ll have a fantastic sunset view of the Shwedagon Pagoda.
How to get there: It’s easiest to take a taxi from downtown Yangon for 1,000 – 2,000 Kyats
Open hours: 4 am – 10 pm daily
Price: 300 Kyats ($.30) for restaurant area, 2,000 Kyats ($2.02)