Exploring Yangon: Myanmar’s fascinating gateway to an ancient kingdom

Posted on 12/11/2018 by Storyteller

The former capital of Myanmar is a fascinating tapestry of history, religions, landscapes and cultures. With a long, and at times difficult, past, the country once known as Burma had been shrouded in mystery since closing their borders in 1962. Since the country re joined the international community and lifted the ban on tourists enter the country in 2011, Yangon has warmly welcomed travellers from around the world, eager to soak up the city’s charms. 

An enchanting mix of glittering pagodas and a fascinating colonial past, the city has emerged as a hotspot for intrepid tourist and is a great base for exploring the rest of the country. The city’s slow pace of life, decaying colonial architecture and relaxing parks and lakes give it a unique and appealing character that can’ be found elsewhere in Southeast Asia.


We go through some insights into the best way to spend your time in this captivating city. 


WHEN TO VISIT

The temperature in Yangon varies very little across the year and having a tropical monsoonal climate, which means that it’s hot and humid all year round. Similar to many other Southeast Asian countries, Yangon experiences a rainy and dry season, but its dry season is split into a prolonged spell of very hot weather and a period of cooler weather.
 

Generally the most comfortable period to visit Yangon is during the relatively cool season from December to March,  where rainfall levels are considerably lower and the ever-present humidity relents to a more manageable level. 


WHAT TO SEE?

Shwedagon Pagoda

Bring in the new day by watching the sun rise over what’s arguably the most famous and beautiful Pagoda in the world. The 2500 year old Shwedagon Pagoda is one of Buddhism’s most sacred sites and the 99 meter structure glistens in the morning sunshine. It is adorned with thousands of diamonds and rubies and a 76 carat diamond crowns the sacred pagoda. Talk about rise and shine!


Yangon Central Railway Station

Destroyed during World War II and later rebuilt in a traditional Burmese style, Yangon Central Railway Station is a major landmark in Downtown Yangon. The station serves as the hub of Myanmar’s extensive (but painfully slow) railway system.


Kandawgyi Lake


This major landmark is located in northern Yangon and is a popular recreation area for city residents. Like Inya Lake, Kandawgyi Lake is an artificial lake created during the country’s period as part of the British Empire as a source of freshwater.


Bogyoke Aung San Market

This enormous, sprawling market unravels across downtown, with more than 2000 stalls eagerly selling the country’s largest selection of Myanmar souvenirs and handicrafts. It is filled with handmade jewellery, artwork, fresh foods, bags and other clothing items so you’re sure to find something for loved ones back home.
 

HOW TO GET TO YANGON

Yangon is well serviced by a number of international carriers with daily flights from across Southeast Asia, China, India and the Middle East through state run international airline Myanmar Airways International and a number of other international airlines.
 

VISAS

Applying for your Myanmar visa online couldn’t be easier - a surprisingly modern process. Myanmar’s visa application process is completed online, even with just an iPad, in minutes. Passport holders from a number of North and Southeast Asian neighbours have visa exemptions in place but most visitors will have to arrange visas in advance. Visitors are able to stay for 28 days whilst business travellers can stay for 70 days.

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