This post was first published in 2015 and has since been updated in 2019 with even more great ideas for things to do in Yangon.

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Yangon isn’t like other large cities in Southeast Asia. It doesn’t knock you off your feet like the organized chaos of Ho Chi Minh city’s scooter flocks. It doesn’t swarm you with tourists like the neighbouring Bangkok. Still, when it comes to things to do in Myanmar, Yangon won’t disappoint you.

Its scents and sounds don’t smother you to the likes of Mumbai or Delhi. And while the city is far from being clean and orderly, it’s got nothing on filthy Jakarta.

We’ve never been huge fans of large cities, but Yangon’s old colonial charm, dazzling Buddhist temples, and fascinating day to day street life gave us a reason to linger longer than we typically do.

Perhaps it’s the lack of tourists or the lack of street sellers that pull you into their shops to buy some Aladdin pants, but 3 days in Yangon felt like an adventure off the beaten path in itself.

Being the largest city in Myanmar there are plenty of things to do in Yangon. If you’re wondering how many days in Yangon you’ll need, you can easily fit most of the must-see activities into a 3 day Yangon itinerary. We know because we did!

3 days in Yangon: Busy street market in Yangon. Myanmar
Busy street market in Yangon
3 days in Yangon: Busy street market in Yangon. Myanmar
Locals stocking up on their essentials

Everywhere we went during our 3 days in Yangon, we were greeted with nothing but genuine curiosity.

“What country?”, older men would ask, letting their betel nut rotten red teeth shine through their heartwarming smiles.

“Canada”

“Ah yes, yes”, they would nod, adjust their longyi (local sarong-like skirt worn by men and women) and continue waddling down the street shading themselves from the mid-day sun with an umbrella in hand.

3 days in Yangon: Street in Yangon, Myanmar
Local men and women can be seen wearing longyis all across the country, including right here in Yangon

Needless to say, we loved our 3 days in Yangon, exploring this fascinating city! If you are planning your Yangon travel and wondering what to do in Yangon for 3 days, then read on!

Using our own personal experience we’ve put together this list of the best things to do in Yangon to help you make the most of your Yangon itinerary.

Things to do in Yangon

Experience Authentic Street Markets

Exploring street markets are one of our favourite pastimes, and it was definitely one of our top things to do in Yangon. We felt like kids in a candy store! Every little street, every turn, and every stall are an attraction in their own right.

We weren’t hassled or bothered. No one tugged us on our shirts or offered us a slew of services/products like they typically in the nearby Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur. Most vendors didn’t even bother to greet us.

Street food stall in Yangon. Myanmar
Street food stall filled with locals oblivious of our presence
Burmese woman selling fruit at a street market in Yangon. Myanmar
Burmese woman selling fruit at a street market in Yangon, Myanmar
Street stalls in Yangon. Myanmar
Street market stalls in Yangon

These street markets aren’t here for the tourists. They are the lifeline of the locals, those unphased by the recent economic developments who are carrying on with life as if they are back in the late 1900’s.

Walking through the flurry of activity, we almost felt invisible. But not for long.

3 days in Yangon: Street market, Yangon, Myanmar
Just another street market

Discover Yangon’s Colourful Streets

Make your way along Maha Bandula Street and Shwe Bon Thar Rd and marvel at the brightly coloured decaying buildings, a prime example of what is left of the 19th century British Colonial architecture.

3 days in Yangon: Colourful buildings in Yangon. Myanmar
Colourful buildings line the streets of Yangon
3 days in Yangon: Street in Yangon. Myanmar
Busy, vibrant Yangon!

The streets are humming with activity. Pop up market stalls inhabiting the sidewalks peddle everything from fruits, to raw fish, and Myanmar’s deadliest addiction – the betel nut wraps. We could have easily filled all 3 days in Yangon with people watching on the streets!

3 days in Yangon: Woman with thanaka paste on her cheeks is reading a local newspaper. Yangon, Myanmar
Woman with thanaka paste on her cheeks is reading a local newspaper
3 days in Yangon: Betel nut wrap stand on the street in Yangon. Myanmar
Betel nut wrap stand on the street in Yangon
3 days in Yangon: Betel nut wraps ready for sale. Yangon, Myanmar
Betel nut wraps ready for sale

3 days in Yangon: Chicken bits on sticks on sale in Yangon. Myanmar

Visit Bogyoke Aung San Market

At the end of Shwe Bon Thar Rd, is another type of market – a major bazaar and tourist destination, formerly Scott’s Market, but now known as Bogyoke Aung San Market. Today, the market is a major trading destination dominated by antiques, Burmese handicrafts and jewellery shops, art galleries, and clothing stores.

And though geared towards tourists, it’s a must on your list of things to do in Yangon.  Buying from these local vendors helps the local economy and ensures you’re bringing home authentic souvenirs from Myanmar!

3 days in Yangon: Bogyoke Aung San Market. Yangon. Myanmar
Bogyoke Aung San Market
3 days in Yangon: Jewellery at Bogyoke Aung San Market. Yangon. Myanmar
Jewellery stall inside the market
3 days in Yangon: Longyis on sale at the Bogyoke Aung San Market. Yangon. Myanmar
Huge selection of longyis

But despite being one of the most tourist attractions in Yangon, Bogyoke is still a great place to stock up on the local fashion must-haves (i.e. the longiys) and sample some great local street food. Oh- and you should definitely try the papaya salad and freshly squeezed orange juice!

3 days in Yangon: Food stall outside the Bogyoke Aung San Market. Yangon. Myanmar
Food stall outside the Bogyoke Aung San Market

Start the Day with a Cup of Tea

Mornings in Yangon were all about tea. If you ask us, it should be that way in every country, but in Myanmar, tea was unlike anything we’ve tasted before. It was dark, strong, and served with a spoonful of mind-numbingly sweet condensed milk.

3 days in Yangon: Burmese tea. Yangon. Myanmar

Typical cup of tea in YangonTea houses are an institution in Yangon. For years they have been much more than a place to enjoy a cuppa, and to this day they remain a gathering spot where locals discuss the latest news and happenings. They are also typically a great place to try Mohinga, a rice noodle fish soup, that has long been a breakfast favourite in Myanmar.

3 days in Yangon: Drinking tea in Yangon, Myanmar
What to do in Yangon? Drink tea, of course!

Explore Temples around Yangon

Thanks to the fact that the majority of the Burmese people practice Theravada Buddhism, the oldest style of Buddha teachings, finding a temple or a pagoda in Yangon is easy!

There are at least 12 well known Buddhist Temples in the city, ranging from the famed Shwedagon Pagoda and Chauk Htat Gyi Buddha, to the lesser known Nga Htat Gyi and Baungdawgyoke Pagoda.

Shwedagon Pagoda

The Shwedagon Zedi Daw, otherwise known as the Shwedagon Pagoda, the Great Dagon Pagoda, or the Golden Pagoda, is the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in Myanmar. It’s believed to play host to numerous sacred relics belonging to the four previous Buddhas, and it hosts the Shwedagon Pagoda Festival to celebrate Tabaung, the twelfth month of the Burmese calendar.

Kyaiktiyo Pagoda

Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, also known as the Golden Rock, is a Buddhist pilgrimage site, and though it’s fairly small, it’s built on top of a large boulder precariously balanced at the edge of a cliff. It sees a fair amount of foot traffic and is an important site amongst Buddhists, though at the present time women aren’t allowed entrance beyond the outer balcony or the lower courtyard.

Sule Pagoda 

Sule Pagoda in the heart of downtown Yangon is a Burmese stupa, rumoured to be older than the first Buddha according to local legends. Outside of legends, Sule Pagoda has also been a focal point in Yangon and Burmese politics, serving as a rallying point for several revolts.

3 days in Yangon: Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon. Myanmar

Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the most impressive temples on our Yangon itinerary

3 days in Yangon: Sule Pagoda. Yangon. Myanmar
Sule Pagoda
3 days in Yangon: Entrance to Shwedagon Pagoda. Yangon. Myanmar
Shwedagon Pagoda entrance
3 days in Yangon: Monk at the Shwedagon Pagoda. Yangon. Myanmar
Monk at the Shwedagon Pagoda

3 days in Yangon: Shwedagon Pagoda. Yangon. Myanmar

3 days in Yangon: Shwedagon Pagoda. Yangon. Myanmar

3 days in Yangon: Shwedagon Pagoda. Yangon. Myanmar

Visit A Local Monastery

If you’re wondering what to do in Yangon and you want to take your Yangon travel adventure to a deeper level, pay a visit to the  Vicittarama Buddhagaya Monastery.

Walkthrough the monk living quarters, watch the young and old monks go about their daily lives, marvel at the beautiful colonial architecture and listen to the students’ stories of living and working in the monastery.

3 days in Yangon: Young monk taking a math lesson at a monastery in Yangon. Myanmar
A young monk is busy solving a math problem during a math lesson at a monastery in Yangon

Supporting local monasteries is extremely important in Myanmar because of the delicate political situation –  they don’t get much funding from the government and therefore are an essential part of the non-government social system in need of more attention.

Their community spirit touched our hearts as we listened to their stories of helping out an orphanage just outside the city centre. They showed us photos of the children and invited us to stay at the monastery and help out at the orphanage on our next visit. (We’ll definitely be taking them up on that offer!)

3 days in Yangon: Monk in a monastery in Yangon. Myanmar
Monk in a monastery in Yangon
3 days in Yangon: Living quarters inside the monastery. Yangon. Myanmar
Living quarters inside the monastery
3 days in Yangon: Monk studying in his living quarters at a monastery in Yangon, Myanmar
Monk studying in his living quarters inside the monastery
3 days in Yangon: Monks showering at the monastery. Yangon, Myanmar
Monks showering at the monastery

Try Our Favourite Dish in Myanmar

Tea leaf salad, a local specialty quickly became our favourite dish in Myanmar and it certainly deserved a spot on our list of top things to do in Yangon!

Take fermented tea leaves (yes, that’s a thing), add cabbage, lots of crunchy bits, season with lime and fish sauce. The result is a simple yet incredibly delicious snack that you’ll find on every menu in every restaurant across the country. (If it’s not on the menu, simply ask… trust us, they all have it).

3 days in Yangon: Tea leaf salad, a Burmese specialty. Myanmar
Tea leaf salad, a Burmese speciality

Experience the Yangon Circular Train

Some said that the most authentic, culturally rich experience a visitor can have in Myanmar, is the Yangon Circular Train, a local commuter train that serves the Yangon Metropolitan area. The ride promised to be slow, yet full of activity inside and outside the carriage.

We have to admit that we didn’t get to experience this for ourselves, but if you add it to your Yangon itinerary, let us know how it goes!

3 days in Yangon: Train tracks run across Yangon. Myanmar
Train tracks run across central Yangon

Visit Kandawagyi Park

Amidst the chaos of the city, Kandawgyi Park feels like a journey into another world. Peaceful, green, and perfectly manicured, it’s the place where young Burmese couples canoodle under palm trees, where teenagers gather to toss a ball, and young mothers and their toddlers stroll along the lily pads carpeted Kandawgyi Lake.

3 days in Yangon: Kandawgyi Park, Yangon. Myanmar
Kandawgyi Park

It’s the perfect place to escape the chaotic streets of Yangon without putting a strain on the local environment (the way a golf course or public pool might). The wooden boardwalk took us all around the lake, past the Kandawgyi Palace Hotel (which was destroyed by fires in 2007) and the iconic Karaweik, a replica of a traditional Burmese royal boat.

3 days in Yangon: Kandawgyi Park, Yangon. Myanmar
A Yangon itinerary 3 days must-see: Kandawgyi Lake
Kandawgyi Park, Yangon. Myanmar
Young couple in Kandawgyi Park
3 days in Yangon: Shwedagon Pagoda as seen from inside the Kandawgyi Park
Shwedagon Pagoda as seen from inside the Kandawgyi Park

Yangon: The Perfect Introduction to Myanmar

Yangon was the first stop on our 2 week adventure in Myanmar, but it couldn’t have offered a better introduction to the country’s culture, its history, people, and their values.

We contemplated extending our stay, past 3 days in Yangon, worried that we hadn’t seen enough, experienced enough, or come to understand the role Yangon played as the economic hub of Myanmar. And the truth is, we probably didn’t.

3 days in Yangon. Myanmar

But we can almost guarantee that this won’t be our last Yangon travel experience. We feel like our 3 days in Yangon were just skimming the surface, and there are plenty more things to do in Yangon that will warrant a return trip soon!  While we made a point of visiting some of Myanmar’s top sights and attractions, we haven’t seen it all yet.

Myanmar’s tourism is developing faster than ever with more and more areas of the country opening up to intrepid travelers from all over the world. We’re excited to see the ecotourism sector grow and flourish in this country.

It won’t be long before there is a reason to come back to picturesque Myanmar again, and a return trip to Yangon will definitely be on our list!

ESSENTIAL YANGON TRAVEL INFO

The Best Time to Visit Yangon

Yangon is hot, and humid year-round. As temperatures range from average lows of 17-24 degrees Celsius to average highs of 30-37.

Winter in Yangon is from November to February. It is best to visit during the peak winter months of December and January when average temperatures hover at a comfortable 25 degrees. However, this is also the busiest time of the year for tourism.

3 days in Yangon

The rainy season is from June to October, which means the humidity is often high but often cut with short showers throughout the day.

Visiting Yangon during the dry season is not for the faint of heart. Humidity is high and temperatures sometimes soar to over 40 degrees Celsius. Drink lots of water if you are planning your Yangon 3 days at this time of year.

3 days in Yangon

Getting Around Yangon

Walking is the best option for spending 3 days in Yangon. All the major things to do in Yangon are relatively close together, the public transport is not very developed, and you get the best feel for the city by wandering around! Plus walking is so much greener than traveling via car or scooter.

3 days in Yangon: Monastery in Yangon, Myanmar

Monastery in Yangon, Myanmar

What to Wear in Yangon

Most people dress rather conservatively in Myanmar and while dress codes are typically not very strict day-to-day, they can be strict at religious sites. It is important to note that both men and women should have their shoulders and legs covered when entering pagoda’s or temples in Yangon. A scarf or longyi wrapped around your shoulders or legs will do the trick. So, try to always have one handy in your daypack at all times.

3 days in Yangon: Shop in Yangon

Shop in Yangon

Where to Eat in Yangon

If you want something that will taste incredible but you’re in the mood for something casual, then Nourish Cafe could be exactly what you’re looking for. It has a plant-based menu, with vegan-friendly and gluten-free options. You can come in and sit down, or take advantage of their all-day take-away option.

For some excellent Burmese food, Taing Yin Thar has an authentic menu, including vegetarian- and vegan-friendly options and gluten-free options. Some items on the menu can get a bit pricey, though.

If you’re in downtown Yangon and you’d like a show to go with your food, then LinkAge Restaurant and Art Gallery can scratch that itch. It’s in the name: the restaurant, which has amazing food already, also doubles as an art gallery for Myanmar fine art. It’s part of a social project linked to the Tha-Nge-Chin-Myar volunteer group, and you can find vegan-friendly, vegetarian-friendly, and gluten-free options on the menu.

Where to Stay in Yangon

If you are staying in Yangon 3 days then you’ll need a good base to explore all the things to do in Yangon. Yangon’s bustling downtown area can be a great spot, or if you go a little further north, you’ll find yourself surrounded by Yangon’s fascinating temples. Since sustainability is a major factor in our lives, we tried to make our Yangon travel as eco-friendly wherever possible and that includes our Yangon accommodation.

Eco-Friendly Hotels in Yangon

  • Chatrium Hotel Royal Lake: is a great option that’s both luxurious and eco-friendly. The Chatrium mission states that they aim for “Staying socially in sync and environmentally caring” throughout their hotel operations.
3 days in Yangon: Room at the Hotel Chatrium in Yangon. Photo by Hotel Chatrium
Room at the Hotel Chatrium in Yangon. Photo by Hotel Chatrium.
  • Inya Lake Hotel: sits on a stunning 27-acre property. We like it for its award-winning sustainable practices and great value. Inya Lake Hotel, along with the following hotels were also among the first hotels in Yangon to be named ‘Green Standard’ hotels by the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.
3 days in Yangon: Room at the Inya Lake Hotel. Photo by Inya Lake Hotel.
Room at the Inya Lake Hotel. Photo by Inya Lake Hotel.
  • Belmond Governor’s Residence: is another luxurious hotel with award-winning sustainable practices. It is located in the quiet embassy district of the city, within a historical mansion.
  • Sedona Hotel: is located close to Inya Lake. This eco-friendly hotel has a 5-star rating for its gorgeous rooms and great service.
3 days in Yangon: Room at the Sedona Hotel in Yangon. Photo by Sedona Hotel.
Room at the Sedona Hotel in Yangon. Photo by Sedona Hotel.
  • Sule Shangri-La: (formerly Traders Hotel) is an iconic symbol of Yangon. The views from the hotel are amazing, and the rooms are spacious and clean.
3 Days in Yangon: Suite at the Sule Shangri-La in Yangon. Photo by Shangri-La.
Suite at the Sule Shangri-La in Yangon. Photo by Shangri-La Hotel.

BEFORE YOU GO: DON’T FORGET TRAVEL INSURANCE

We can’t stress enough the importance of travel insurance, especially in a country like Myanmar. Whether you just plan to explore the cities, do a little bit of hiking, or go extreme (think surfing, scuba diving, or ever skydiving), being protected on your travels is an irreplaceable peace of mind. We learned about the importance of travel insurance the hard way and now we never travel without coverage.

  • From the US? Get a quote through Allianz Travel Insurance, our recommended travel insurance provider for US citizens/residents.
  • Live elsewhere?  Check out World Nomads, a great travel insurance provider for those based outside of the US. 

Have you ever visited Yangon? What is your favourite thing to do in the city?

 

** Read Next **

23 Photos That Will Make You Want To Pack Your Bags For Myanmar

Our Top Five Experiences In Myanmar

Photo Essay: The Daily Life of Burmese Monks

15 thoughts on “Best Things to do in Yangon, Myanmar”

  1. Nice blog post! Sorry to say though the university students with the ‘orphanage’ is a scam! I had the same scam. Did they ask you to donate to them? Hopefully genuine but not sure 🙂

  2. I’ve only been in Yangon for one day in 2013 and I’m still looking for a chance to revisit it longer. Your recommendations here seem interesting to try.

  3. It’s a wonderful post on Yangon, and your photos are really great, it makes Yangon more stunning, what camera do you use?

  4. Mark Metanczuk

    I spent two days there on my way to Thailand last month. I have a 7 day stopover in Yangon on my way home to Canada, starting March 5th. What really surprised me was that I didn’t see another Caucasian, and like you said, I felt invisible. Places like Delhi and Kathmandu really wear me out. I’m too polite to not say “No Thankyou” to people holding onto my sleeve or chasing me, and it does get tiring. Wish I had a local to tour me around, I’d be happy to pay them. By the way, in the local supermarket, cans of beer were the equivalent of 10c each, and a Mickey of rum was 85c. I took pictures of the signs, in case my friends back home thought I might be exaggerating! I’m addicted to SE Asia, I work two months, and travel here for two months. Love travelling solo, so much less confusion and hassle.

    1. Sounds like you had an amazing experience in SEA! It’s awesome that you got to check out Yangon on the way back! We really enjoyed the city. Hopefully, it sparked your interest to come back to Myanmar again soon? It’s such a beautiful country and is definitely lesser known and off the beaten path compared to Thailand!

  5. thanks for inspiring me! I’m planning for 2 days visiting on yangon (3-4 march) and your post seems like I wanted to do! 🙂

  6. Awesome post! How many days do you think will be sufficient to see the sights in Yangon when planning a budget trip? Is 3 days alright? Thanks for sharing.

  7. Awesome post you guys! I am visiting Myanmar in December and was looking to do a few things in Yangon and this helps a great deal. Apart from Yangon, what other places do you recommend visiting in Myanmar?

    Thanks,
    Divya

    1. Not at all. We really enjoyed the city and didn’t feel unsafe at all, but do keep in mind that we travel as a couple so our experience may differ from those traveling solo. Hope you enjoy your stay in Yangon!

  8. Russell Garth Bibby

    good useful information, but a bit too tree hugging and no mention of the superb meat crusine available which we all need for proper protein

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