Days 80-81: Jess is a Wanderer covered a lot of ground across Myanmar’s biggest city. Where should you go? What should you do? It’s all here!
Also, on a side-note, I used UBER quite a lot during my stay – especially to get to and from the airport and bus station. It worked like a dream but other travellers had heard that there were issues with the service. I was fortunate enough not to have any problems. You can download the local service: GRAB and apparently this is a more-expensive similar service.
Yangon is a busy city with nightlife galore. Be sure to visit either the main night market in Chinatown or one of the other more local shopping areas for a full Burmese experience. There’s loads of food to be sampled and the atmosphere is fab. Keep an eye out as the sellers are often passing things between each other or carrying their goods balanced on sticks and you wouldn’t want to get hit with a chicken drumstick as you’re wandering around.
There are also plenty of daytime sights to see at the markets. No matter the time of day, the streets are filled with people milling around. There are plenty of colours to see and smells to inhale as you pass through the colourful streets. The colonial buildings give the city some stunning architecture and there’s something different to see around every corner. Don’t miss the train station as that’s a real work of art. You can also pay less than £5 to ride the ‘loop train’. This gives you a real insight into Burmese life in the countryside. Be warned there are no toilets and there’s no AC buuuuuuut a little lady does come around selling drinks and snacks!
It’s super easy to walk around Yangon on foot or you can use public transport. From the city centre, bus number 36 will take you to Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon Zoo, Kandawgyi Lake and beyond. This is definitely worth doing (or you can walk, it’s around 5-7km depending on your route) but there are plenty of sights to see. The lake has a (rather rickety but seemingly stable) boardwalk going all around it. It’s mostly free to walk but certain sections require 200K or so (less than 20p) as an entrance fee. You can also see the muchos impressive Kandawgyi Palace. There are shops selling souvenirs, plenty of places to eat and a number of hipster cafes selling ‘out-there’ concoctions in strange-shaped glasses!
For food, try the ever-popular Rangoon Tea House. It’s been going for years and offers a variety of Asian delights as well as traditional Myanmar street-food. It is on the pricey side but you won’t be disappointed with what’s on offer. For something less touristy and more local. Try Lion World. It doesn’t look like much with its plastic chairs and sticky tables (if you’ve seen ‘The Apprentice’, imagine the cafe where the losing team spends its evening) but the food is delicious and super cheap too. If you can, sit downstairs and smoking is allowed upstairs and it’s not too pleasant an experience.