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11 Things to Do in Yangon & the Art of Getting Lost

Things to Do in Yangon, Myanmar | Yangon Travel Guide

There’s an art to “getting lost”… successfully.

“Lost” can mean stranded or it can mean discovery. It all depends on perspective and how you use it.

Just like in life, I like to create opportunities when I travel. When things go wrong or veer off-center, I like to take that as an opportunity to discover new things about a city, which aren’t necessarily on the tourist map.

Each trip I take, I employ “the art of getting lost” so I can create more personal experiences, connect with the local culture and find details which shape a better understanding of my environment.

11 Things to Do and See in Yangon

If you’d like to know what you can do and see in Yangon, you’re more than welcome to read this list. They were things I did enroute to finding and getting to the Shwedagon Pagoda. However, if you want to learn my travel secrets, watch my video, where I take you inside  how I get lost as a solo traveler.

1. Monks taking alms

Early in the morning, you may see a procession of monks walking through the neighborhoods, taking alms from locals.

2. Eat Pe Byeok

Pe Byeok is a traditional Burmese breakfast of seasoned lentil beans with a slice of naan bread.

3. Catch the Local Bus 

Why take a taxi to your location, when you gain much more cultural interaction by taking the bus.  Tourists often feel reluctant to take local transportation, like a bus. Transportation in a foreign country can operate differently and with potential  language barriers, many travelers don’t feel confident they can tackle it.  Additionally, Instead, many fear they will get lost.

When I first observed crowded buses in India, the mere thought of attempting to ride them, felt stressful. They were practically splitting open with people and I didn’t know the Hindi language, system of paying or knowing the bus stops to get off at.   I had no clue where my backpack would fit in such a compacted crowd and I was terrified of being lost and stranded in a random village, without a notion of how to find my way back.  Those imaginary stresses felt overwhelming.  Until I tried it.

Sure, I made mistakes and there was initial stress. But I also found my way, learned from observing others, asked locals for help and discovered tricks getting around the language barrier!  Today, I see public transportation as an adventure vs my enemy.

Read my tips on The Adventure of Catching the Local Bus in a Foreign Country.

Catch a Local bus

4.  Explore the streets on foot

You discover so many things, when you explore the streets on foot. You can see some of these things through a taxi, but when you’re on the streets it’s a completely different feeling and you get time  to take things in and really see things.

Watch my video to see my curious bamboo seller and the mysterious man, who looked like he was a “drug dealer”.

5.  Make Friends

Befriend and make small chit-chat with locals, who are just as curious about you as you are them.

6. Ask Questions

When you don’t understand a culture, it’s easiest to just find a local and ask questions.  Curiosity isn’t an illegal activity. While you might hit a language barrier, your curiosity could be the key to unlocking a cultural mystery.

Luckily I asked questions and discovered my “drug dealer” wasn’t a drug dealer after all.

7.  Seamstress Alley

Exploring the alleys and streets near the Shwedagon Pagoda uncovers many tiny markets and vendors.  I found a seamstress alley, where women make custom Burmese clothing.

8.  Betel Nut

A highly addictive chewing tobacco.

9.  Sculptor Shops

10.  Monk Boutique Shops

Even monks need to dress and there are shops that sell items for monks from begging bowls, spiritual books, slippers, bags and saris.  Check out the monk boutique shops and learn how to wrap a sari and lungi.

11.  Shwedagon Pagoda

To see what I found culturally unique about Yangon, watch my video on *Discovering Yangon* or read 19 Things to Know before you go to Myanmar .

How do you like to get lost?  What are your recommendations for Yangon?


  1. I love your “art of getting lost”. I always do the same and it’s the best way to get to know the people and culture 😉

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      Thanks Juan! It really is a great way to get closer to people and culture! =D

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