27 Fantastic Things To Do In Magical Yangon You Never Knew Existed - Updated 2024

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Yangon is definitely a novel place to be and a remarkable sight to see. With a trove of deep-rooted traditions and celebrated cultures, a visit to Yangon (formerly known as Rangoon) departs from the humdrum sightseeing tours to bring you an enriching experience of scenic temples, colonial buildings, and mobile street food vendors.

While Yangon is no longer Myanmar’s capital city, the country’s most populous city is still the most important commercial centre in Myanmar and continues to flourish more than ever. Surrender yourself to the infectious energy of the locals, coated in the beautiful tongue of the Burmese language, as you embark on this journey. Here are 27 things to get you started:

1. Appreciate Myanmar's diversity at the National Races Village

Rakhine Thingyan 2011
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Htoo Tay Zar used under CC BY-SA 3.0

While you may not have the time to visit every state and region in Myanmar, the National Races Village prides itself on giving visitors an invaluable experience of the country’s diversity. Constructed by the Ministry of Progress of Border Areas and National Races and Development Affairs, the National Races Village is a collection of homes belonging to Myanmar’s different ethnic groups, namely the Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Bamar, Mon, Rakhine, and Shan people.

You can look forward to learning about the blend of cultures and the traditional lives that the locals lead. Additionally, there are costume rentals and restaurants that serve the traditional cuisines from the various regions for you to better appreciate the array of cultures.

National Races Village

Address: Yandar Rd, Thaketa, Yangon, Myanmar

Price: 2.55 USD

Opening Hours: 9 am - 6 pm

2. Take in the grandeur of the Shwedagon Pagoda (from USD 33.0)

The main attraction in Yangon is undeniably the Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the most well-known pagodas in the world. The colossal gilded structure is 99 metres (325 feet) high and sits on top of a hill overlooking the city. It can be seen from most places in Yangon in the daytime and becomes part of the beautiful skyline at night. Believed to have been built some 2,600 years ago, the Shwedagon Pagoda is thought to be the oldest pagoda in the world.

A dazzling 7,000 diamonds, rubies, sapphires, topaz, and emeralds encrust the stupa, while the main dome is plated with shining gold. A dazzling sight no matter what time of the day, it is no wonder that the Shwedagon Pagoda is also affectionately termed as “The Crown of Burma”. The revered pagoda also enshrines strands of Buddha’s hair and other holy relics, making it a major pilgrimage site for Buddhists.

Half-Day Spiritual Shwedagon Pagoda Join in Tour in Yangon

Duration: 4 hours

6 reviews

3. Visit the reclining Buddha in Chaukhtatgyi Paya

Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda 1
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user C1815 used under CC0

Just northeast of the Shwedagon Pagoda is Chaukhtatgyi Paya, a remarkable temple that houses one of Myanmar’s most adulated reclining Buddha statues. Take in the astonishing grandeur of the 65-metre-long (213-foot-long) statue topped with a crown adorned with diamonds and other precious stones. With gold inscriptions on the Buddha’s feet that describe the many lives of the Buddha, have fun trying your luck at deciphering the symbols!

A small shrine and the Shweminwon Sasana Yeiktha Meditation Centre are also located within the temple complex for you to greater immerse yourself in the tranquil nature of the temple.

Chaukhtatgyi Paya

Address: Shwegondine Rd, Tamwe, Yangon, Myanmar

Opening Hours: 6 am - 8 pm

4. Spend a quiet afternoon at Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue

Musmeah Yeshua synagogue altar
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Esme Vos used under CC BY 2.0

The last surviving Jewish place of worship in downtown Yangon and the only synagogue in the country, Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue cannot help but enchant with its historical and architectural charms. Serving the few remaining Jews in the country, the synagogue is quietly tucked away on a small street, nestled between Muslim vendors and Indian paint shops.

Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue is a hidden jewel promising you more insights into the once-thriving community. A visit is highly-recommended if you are interested in learning more about the country’s Jewish heritage or seeking a quaint retreat in the heart of the city.

Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue

Address: 85 26th St, Pabedan, Yangon, Myanmar

Opening Hours: 9 am - 2 pm / Shabbat service on Friday 4 pm - 5 pm

5. Attend mass at St Mary’s Cathedral

St. Mary's Yangon
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jeremias used under CC BY-SA 4.0

St Mary’s Cathedral, with its exterior of striking red bricks and colossal spires, is Myanmar’s largest Catholic cathedral. Beautifully maintained from 1909, the interior is resplendent with intricate patterns, enough to make it akin to the venerated cathedrals in European.

Mass is conducted in English and held twice a day and thrice on Sundays, making it a great opportunity to interact with the local churchgoers and understand their customs and traditions. Alternatively, the commodious compound gives you enough room to just bask in the quiet and peace that the church gifts.

St Mary’s Cathedral

Address: 372 Bo Aung Kyaw St, Botataung, Yangon, Myanmar

Opening Hours: Mass 6 am & 5 pm daily and 8 am & 10 am on Sundays

Contact: +95 1 245 647

6. Embark on a heritage walking tour (from USD 20.0)

Boasting an array of architectural influences, from the colossal colonial structures to the traditional humble abodes, Yangon is a tasteful blend of nostalgia and progression. However, with the skyrocketing demand for hotels and new spaces after the country recently opened up to foreign investment and tourism, many of these celebrated sites are rapidly vanishing.

Take the chance to embark on an architectural heritage walking tour to see the best of the city’s architectural scene before it makes way for the new. The free guided tour will walk you through Yangon’s architectural heritage as you stroll through the city’s energetic streets and lively neighborhoods.

Yangon Small-Group Walking and Culture Tour

Duration: 2 hours

14 reviews

7. Go on a foodie adventure around Yangon (from USD 41.39)

27 fantastic things to do in magical yangon you never knew existed | go on a foodie adventure around yangon

While it borrows elements from neighbouring India, Thailand, and China, Myanmar’s cuisine is easily recognisable with its unique flavours. Food stalls are aplenty in downtown Yangon, and it’s hard to go wrong with the choices, especially when everything is served piping hot and fresh.

Occasionally you’ll find low tables and chairs adjacent to the food stalls where you can sit and join in with the hearty chatter over a cup of Burmese milk tea. Great for a morning pick-me-up or an afternoon catch-up session, the drinks are usually paired with roti, an Indian flatbread, or freshly-made dough sticks.

Yangon: 4-Hour Guided Food Tour

Duration: 4 hour

15 reviews

8. Shop at Bogyoke Aung San Market

Jewellery Market, Yangon, Myanmar
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user worak used under CC BY 2.0

Home to more than 2,000 shops and boasting the biggest selection of Myanmar handicrafts and souvenirs, it is no wonder the Bogyoke Aung San Market is always bustling with locals and tourists alike. At times still referred to by its previous name of Scott’s Market, the colourful bazaar exudes an olde-worlde charm with its colonial architecture and cobblestone streets.

Hosting an assortment of shops that sell everything from Shan shoulder bags to chilli-coated pig organs, there really is something for everyone. Additionally, the market is known for its underground money changers, where jewellery merchants are able to change your notes.

Bogyoke Aung San Market

Address: Bogyoke Aung San Rd, Dagon, Yangon, Myanmar

Opening Hours: 10 am - 5 pm Tuesday - Sunday

9. Seek fun at People's Square and Park

Kandawgyi Lake, Yangon
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Hintha used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Previously part of the palace grounds of Queen Shin Sawbu, the city’s People’s Square and Park is a palatial and sprawling 135.7-acre (54.9-hectare) complex, ideal for leisurely strolls and interesting adventures with its mix of eclectic attractions.

Next to the famous Shwedagon Paya, the park is additionally revered for its wonderful views of the esteemed pagoda. Other activities also include a decommissioned Myanmar Airways Fokker, where you can climb inside a fighter jet or an old steam train, and a Natural World Amusement Park, suitable for a spontaneous afternoon adventure and a great place to take the kids.

People's Square and Park

Address: U Wisara Rd, Dagon, Yangon, Myanmar

Price: 4.26 USD

Opening Hours: 7 am - 7 pm

10. Take in the beauty of Kandawgyi Lake

Karaweit, Kandawgyi Lake, Yangon, Myanmar
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user yeowatzup used under CC BY 2.0

Can’t get enough of Yangon’s spellbinding sunsets? Take a walk along Kandawgyi Lake as it reaches dusk and watch as the reflective reservoir waters mirror the gleaming Shwedagon Pagoda as the sun goes down. Lakeside cafes are aplenty, so nestle into a good spot after your stroll and soak up the serene atmosphere.

Additionally home to a small park, a kids’ playground, a paintball attraction, and the reconstructed Karaweik Palace, the enthusiastic traveller will definitely not tire of things to do at Kandawgyi Lake. Curious visitors should also visit Utopia Tower where the giant pile of artificial rocks houses restaurants, bars, karaoke, snooker, and a viewing deck.

Kandawgyi Lake

Address: Kan Yeik Thar Rd, Dagon, Yangon, Myanmar

Price: 1.70 USD

11. Grab the local draft at a beer station

Glass of beer
Source: Pixabay

While it can be somewhat of a challenge to chance upon nightlife in Yangon, it’s not difficult to find a glass of Myanmar beer for just 0.60 USD. Found on many street corners, the run-down, rustic beer stations are easy to spot and they offer a no-frills environment for a glass (or tower!) of beer and a night of chatting.

12. Pay your respects at Taukkyan War Cemetery (from USD 86.0)

Myanmar’s biggest war cemetery, Taukkyan War Cemetery is the final resting place of fallen British Allied soldiers who lost their lives during the Second World War. Containing the sombre graves of 6,374 Allied soldiers and a memorial bearing the names of approximately 27,000 soldiers who died with no known grave, the cemetery is far from your typical jovial adventure. It does, however, have an incredible amount of historical and political significance, and is a good place to pay your respects. Taukkyan War Cemetery brings solace and empathetic compassion for the lost lives.

Bago Private Tour from Yangon with Taukkyan War Cemetery

Duration: 7 to 8 hours

2 reviews

13. Learn about the country's past at the National Museum of Myanmar (from USD 19.0)

	learn about the country's past at the national museum of myanmar
Source: www.klook.com

It is almost essential to visit a city’s museum when you are travelling. After all, what better way is there to learn the wealth of the nation’s history and culture in a singular setting? The National Museum of Myanmar is a museum of Burmese art, history, and culture. It boasts an extensive collection of ancient artefacts, inscriptions, and artwork. Discover gems like the chandeliers from the colonial-era State House and the dazzling 26-foot-high (11-metre-high) Sihasana (Lion Throne) that belonged to the last king of Myanmar, King Thibaw Min.

Yangon National Museum Tour - Klook

Duration: 2hrsDuration

14. See the iconic house of Aung San Suu Kyi

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Aung San Suu Kyi has always been, and continues to be, an inspiring force behind the pro-democracy movement in Myanmar, but things have never been easy for her. Having been apart from her family and placed under house arrest for 15 years, her house is revered to be one of Myanmar’s iconic sights.

While you are not allowed to enter the house, the history of the standalone residence where Aung San Suu Kyi would talk to her people over the steel gates is a reminder of her huge sacrifice and unwavering devotion to her country.

Aung San Suu Kyi's House

Address: University Avenue Road, Yangon, Myanmar

15. Travel around the city on the Yangon Circular Train (from USD 37.0)

Before you fret about not having enough time for the rest of Yangon, hop aboard the Yangon Circular Train for a ride you won’t forget.

The local commuter rail network travels around the city in a 45.9-kilometre (28.5-mile) loop with 39 stops bringing you through landscapes of urban concrete, paddy fields, and rural villages.

The cheapest method of transportation in Yangon, the flurry of locals on board will give you plenty of opportunities to interact and share a thing or two. From monks to chicken-sellers, strike up a conversation to add spice to your journey, or just sit by the window and enjoy the diverse views and breeze.

Yangon Circular Train Sightseeing Tour, Market Visit and Lunch

Duration: 6 hours

114 reviews

16. Devour Myanmar’s unofficial national dish for breakfast (from USD 32.0)

Myanmar is a country that shares a border with many nations like Bangladesh, China, India, Laos, and Thailand. Also, as the country has many different ethnic groups, it results in their local cuisine being unique and diverse. When you’re in Myanmar, you must try out their unofficial national dish, Mohinga.

It’s a noodle dish that’s smothered with a hearty fish broth, that’s popular as a breakfast food. However, it’s slowly becoming an all-day dish, making it easy to find around the nation. Mohinga is delicious and you can customise your dish with all the toppings available to you, such as chilli flakes and cilantro. Just duck into any store or even sit on the roadside and enjoy a warm bowl of Mohinga!

Join a Local for a Yangon Breakfast and Market Tour

Duration: 3 hours

26 reviews

17. Go on a train tour (from 33 USD)

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user calflier001 used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Explore the unique urban lifestyle of Yangon on a slow train. The meeting point of this tour is Central Railway Station from where you take a circular train running on a 45.9 kms (28.52 miles) loop. This trip goes through the entire loop with a stop at Da Nyin Gone Station. Here you’ll have 45 minutes to explore the local market and get a glimpse of local life in the region. The guide will tell you about the commodities, which are basic necessities for life here. Here you also have the time to grab a cup of coffee or tea from a local shop.

The tour also takes you downtown to Pazundaung station, where you can enjoy lunch at one of the local restaurants. Hit the road after you’ve had lunch and walk through the busy streets with many repair shops, tire sellers and more. Before you finish this tour, you’ll head to St. Mary’s Cathedral where the guide will tell you how it is different from other churches.

Let Yangon Take You For a Ride

Price: from 33 USD

Duration: around 6.5 hours required.

18. Learn to make authentic Burmese dishes (from USD 50.0)

A local market might be difficult to navigate if you don’t know the language. So how about taking this tour, that will allow you to walk around the local market! However, you’re not only here for fun, you’ll be looking around and shopping for fresh ingredients. The tour guides may even teach you how to bargain with the local sellers! Once you get the ingredients, you’ll head to a cooking class.

If you want to learn how to cook authentic Burmese food, you have to learn from the best. An experienced local chef will teach you how to prepare four dishes: a salad, a snack, a curry dish and a dessert. You’ll also be taught the secrets of the cuisine, and how it has developed over the years. Before you leave, you’re provided with a digital cookbook of the recipes taught and even other Burmese dishes, so you can prepare it for everyone back home.

Traditional Myanmar cooking class with market tour

Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes

22 reviews

19. Discover Yangon’s up and coming art scene (from USD 63.0)

In the past, artists had to censor a lot of their works and had to avoid producing political works. However, as the nation transitions to a democratic system, bold and colourful works are being produced and even being presented in public spaces. There are many creative individuals in Yangon, and galleries are popping up, so you should stop by to check them out.

One of them is the Pansodan Gallery, a large gallery with rotating exhibitions which often showcase vibrant works. They host contemporary art pieces and even some antique art! If you’re around the area on a Tuesday evening, you can head down for night gatherings. The event attracts both locals and foreigners, and you can have discussions about the art scene while indulging in a drink.

Half-Day Art Galleries Tour in Yangon

Duration: 4 hours

20. Explore the streets with a guide (from USD 27.0)

What do you think is the best Burmese street food? You’ll definitely find out after going through this tour! View the street markets through the eyes of a local, English-speaking guide and taste up to 10 different snacks while walking around. Feel free to ask questions about the dish you’re tasting and you can get answers from the guides and know more about the cuisine. The stores you’re eating from are handpicked, so you can be assured that the food are the best and most importantly safe. So head on down for this tour and snack till your belly’s about to burst!

Yangon Street Food Tours

Duration: 15 to 30 minutes

22 reviews

21. Pay respects at the U Thant House

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

U Thant was a Burmese diplomat who acted as the third Secretary-General of the United Nations. He’s an extremely respected diplomat and helped avert the possibility of a nuclear war during the Cold War when he facilitated negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union. U Thant’s grandson discovered his old and run-down home and decided to restore it. The home now stands as a beautifully restored building and is a fitting tribute to U Thant’s contributions to international politics.

Hanging on the walls are enchanting photographs and showcases U Thant with celebrities from the era like Nikita Khrushchev of the Soviet Union and the musical couple, John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Some of his public speeches are also showcased at the multimedia displays in the home. So whether you’re a history lover or not, you’ll enjoy a visit to this home.

U Thant House

Address: 31 Panwa St, Yangon, Myanmar

Price: Free-of-charge

Opening Hours: 10am - 5pm (Friday - Sunday)

22. Visit a Burmese teahouse

Myanmar Tea House Food
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mydaydream89 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Tea is the way of life in Yangon, and pretty much everyone has a cup of tea, everyday. Teahouses are a place where locals gather and socialise over some snacks and a cup of tea. The tea is sweetened with condensed milk and sugar, but you can still taste a strong black tea flavour, that will truly warm up right up.

Golden Tea is one of the best teahouses in Yangon, so just chill and sip on a hot cup of tea, while enjoying some of the fried snacks you can order. There’s a rotating menu of fried snacks but there are famous ones like the mini shallot samosas. Who knew that tea goes so well with fried snacks?

Golden Tea

Address: 99 Bo Sun Pat Rd, Yangon, Myanmar

Opening Hours: 6am - 9pm

23. Relax on the shores of the Inya Lake

Inya Lake embankment
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Wagaung used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Inya Lake is an ancient relic from the British colonisation, and it’s used as a reservoir in 1883. It’s located close to the home where Aung San Suu Kyi was under arrest. It’s now an amazing area to hang out at, with the gorgeous view of the lake, and you’ll be around many Burmese locals around you.

Bring some snacks and bottles of beer, and sit on a picnic mat or bench, while enjoying the view of the lake. Or head on over to an eatery on the shore and enjoy a meal while surrounded by the beautiful lake.

Inya Lake

Address: Inya Lake, Yangon, Myanmar

Price: depends on wherever you eat.

Opening Hours: Park area open 24 hours, but also depends on the eateries

24. Have a sip at the Sarkies Bar

Bar Pub Restaurant
Source: Pixabay

Even if you’re not staying at The Strand, the historical bar is still worth a visit! The Strand is one of the most iconic hotels in Yangon and celebrities like Noël Coward, Rudyard Kipling and Orson Welles have stayed in its premises. In the past, it was also the ideal location for many important people to drink and be merry. It has been revamped into a hip and upscale bar and now many people drop by to soak in the ambience.

It’s decked in colonial style decor and furnishings, and showcases its rich history in Yangon. You’ll see many tourists stopping by here for a casual drink, so you should join in the fun. How about trying out some of their signature cocktails like a Pegu Club, a gin-based drink or the Strand Sour, made with Myanmar rum!

Sarkies Bar at The Strand

Address: 92 Strand Rd, Yangon, Myanmar

Opening Hours: 10.30am - late

Website: Sarkies Bar at The Strand

25. Admire the panoramic night view (from USD 57.0)

admire the panoramic night view

Right at the top of the Sakura Tower lies the highest bar in Yangon. Yangon Yangon is an awesome bar with a breathtaking view of Yangon, you can view the sparkling stars and even spot the Shwedagon Pagoda in the distance. Just relax and soak in the cool vibes, have a drink and enjoy the mix of English and Burmese songs. And seriously, look out the windows, it’s truly a view that you won’t ever forget.

Yangon by Night: Markets, Rooftop Bar & Shwedagon

Duration: 4 hour

5 reviews

26. Go on a tour to learn about the city's tradition and culture (from 51 USD)

go on a tour to learn about the city's tradition and culture

Yangon, the capital city of Myanmar, has its roots deep in history, culture, and tradition. This cultural tour gives you the opportunity to experience local life and explore some city landmarks. The tour takes you to Chaukhtetkyi Pagoda, which is home to a reclining Buddha – the largest in the country. The Pagoda’s dome rises to 98 meters (321 feet) above its base. You’ll be walking alongside your guide through some local residential areas. You’ll also visit a local market, which gives a glimpse of how Buddhism has influenced daily life in the country.

The tour takes about 4.5 hours before you head back to the meeting point. You can opt to stay back and explore more, but in this case you’ll have to arrange your own transport for return.

Tradition and Culture in Yangon

Price: from 51 USD

Duration: 4.5 hours required

27. Explore Yangon at night (from 36 USD)

explore yangon at night

A Yangon city walking tour is a must if you want to immerse yourself in Myanmar’s culture. This walking tour takes you to downtown Yangon and you’ll be walking through the main market district. You’ll pass through the Shwe Bontha Street, bustling with locals selling secondhand items. The tour heads to China town and on the way, you’ll see a few Buddhist and Hindu temples. China town is crammed with streetside vendors selling everything from gold to vegetables. A cup of green tea or freshly squeezed sugarcane juice will give you the energy to keep going. The busy markets come alive during the night and you’ll find many shops and street stores selling antiques and curios.

If you get hungry, stop at one of the roadside stalls selling fresh seafood, fruits, vegetables, and local food. Heading to 19th Street, you’ll find many vendors selling charcoaled veggies, meats and more. Your tour guide will always be at hand to answer your queries about the local food here.

Yangon's Streets by Night

Price: from 36 USD

Duration: around 2.5 hours required.

The gift of Yangon

A trip to Yangon is deeply gratifying with its reminders of the simple pleasures of life and living. Revel in the colourful culture and interact with the endearing locals to discover the city and rediscover your love for travelling.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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Megan is an ardent writer, eater and sleeper. Studying communication studies at Nanyang Technological University, she is rewarded with learning every day in school and at work. She believes...Read more

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