How to Spend 1 Day in Yangon
From chaotic street markets to Shwedagon Pagoda’s gleaming spire, Yangon is a colorful first taste of Myanmar for many travelers. With one day to experience Yangon, you can visit Theravada Buddhism’s holy sites, explore colonial-era architecture by train, and sample Myanmar’s vivid cuisine. Here’s how to make the most of your time.
Morning: Ride the Circular Train
Ride the Yangon Circular Train that loops for 28.5 miles (49.5 kilometers) through the city, and you’ll be exploring local neighborhoods with a friendly commuter crowd. Since the train departs from the historic Yangon Central Railway Station, check out the colonial-era landmark as you board one of the aging trains. Watch for food vendors hopping on at each station, and enjoy a glimpse of daily life as you pass through places where Yangon locals live and work. Riding the entire loop takes roughly three hours, but many tours of the Yangon Circular Train offer the chance to see a particularly interesting section, visit a market, and return to the starting point by vehicle.
Afternoon: See Shwedagon Pagoda
After pausing for a late lunch, head to Yangon’s most famous landmark: Shwedagon Pagoda is a Buddhist shrine and an important symbol of the city. Whether you’re visiting on your own or taking a tour, leave plenty of time to take in the unique atmosphere here, browsing the surrounding market stalls or strolling past shrines with flickering candles. Linger long enough, and you’ll see the golden pagoda glow in the sunset light—it’s why early evening is a wonderful time to photograph Shwedagon Pagoda.
Night: Discover the Night Markets
When daytime heat begins to ease, Yangon markets fill up with local crowds. There’s plenty to eat, drink, and see at the 19th Street night market, while Chinatown’s shops and restaurants stay bustling well into the evening. Instead of eating a single dinner, sample a little bit of everything as you stroll through these areas. To learn more about the unique food and drink you’ll find along the way, consider a food or market tour that highlights delicacies you won’t find anywhere else.