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. Although I’ve had my share of the good, bad and ugly in travel, I try to create opportunities where I can. 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 Catching the Bus in a Foreign Country.
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.