A Traveller’s Guide to Yangon
If you are planning a holiday in Myanmar, the capital Yangon would surely be on your list of places to stay, and this mysterious city has much to offer the traveller, with unique Buddhist temples and colonial architecture that reflects the British occupation. A city with more than 7 million inhabitants, Yangon (formerly known as Rangoon) offers the tourist a whole host of pleasant surprises.
Travelling around Yangon is easy if you use the taxis, which are not metered, so you must agree a price at the outset of your journey, and the good news is that most taxi drivers do speak English. The local currency is Kyat and the average fare for a taxi would be 2-3,000 Kyat (about $3), and the taxi drivers are very happy to tell you about their colourful history.
Many travellers to Yangon report that they find it difficult to change $US, and should the notes be anything less than perfect, many establishments simply won’t accept them. If you specifically ask for new notes when preparing for your trip to Myanmar, this will make changing money that much easier, and remember to carry small denominations as well as larger notes.
If you are looking for a 5-star hotel in Yangon, the Internet can help you select a hotel for your stay, and complete luxury is remarkably affordable in Myanmar, so you will be pleasantly surprised at the low room rates. There are at least 8 top rated hotels in the city and they are all centrally located and ideal for the tourist, and with online booking, reserving a suite couldn’t be easier.
You can’t visit Yangon without spending some time in the unique Buddhist temples, with the most famous being Shwedagon Pagoda, which is rightly the number one tourist attraction in this mysterious metropolis. The temple is said to contain relics of Lord Buddha and standing at 326ft tall, the structure is impressive indeed, with the surfaces covered with gold that was donated by monarchs and members of the public. Expect to spend at least half a day at this temple, and there are local English-speaking guides who can tell you all about the temple’s colourful history, which does make you appreciate it so much more.
The Circular Railway
You simply must experience the local train, which is similar to a metro and services the suburbs of Yangon, so expect it to be very busy during rush hour. There is a total of 39 stations and with a map, you can plan your day trips to include many of the local attractions, and you can simply stay on the train for the entire loop, which gives you a great view of various parts of the city. It takes about 3 hours to do a complete loop and we thoroughly recommend doing just that.
If you book your stay at one of the 5-star hotels in Yangon, you can plan your day trips and sample some of the local street food, which is comparable to that of Bangkok.