How to Spend 3 Days in Yangon
With three days in Yangon, sample the city’s history, culture, and cuisine at a more relaxed pace. From breakfast at local markets to Buddhist shrines, there’s a lot to experience. Yangon is an ideal home base for visiting Bago, so set aside one day for exploring pagodas in the ancient Burmese capital. Here’s how to plan.
Day 1: Top Attractions in Yangon
Rise early for a morning trip to Shwedagon Pagoda, arriving at the Buddhist landmark before the heat of the day. You’ll see shrines, candles, and images of the Buddha, but to learn the legends and traditions behind the important sites, visit on a guided tour. Following your time at Shwedagon Pagoda, head into the surrounding neighborhood for a hearty bowl of mohinga, a noodle soup that’s a favorite for breakfast. Whether you’re on your own or exploring with a guide, use the rest of the day to visit top landmarks, including Kandawgyi Lake, Chaukhtatgyi Paya, and the National Museum. When the sun sets, head to the bustling night market on 19th street for an evening of food and cold beer with the after-work crowd.
Day 2: Highlights of Bago
The city of Bago has a long history, and it’s speckled with pagodas, shrines, and other Buddhist sites to explore. Experience a handful of the most impressive destinations on a day trip, starting with the gilded Shwemawdaw Paya, which is guarded by an ornate pair of sculpted lions. Next, check out Shwethalyaung Buddha, a reclining Buddha statue that’s 181 feet (55 meters) long—vendors in the surrounding area make this a good place to shop for handicrafts, as well. More images of the Buddha can be found at Kyaik Pun Pagoda, known for four colorful statues facing in four directions. To see a working monastery, head to Kyaly Khat Wai Monastery, which is home to hundreds of Buddhist monks. Before returning to Yangon, seek out a meal of Mon-style cuisine in one of Bago’s many restaurants.
Day 3: Local Life in Yangon
Today, go beyond the tourist attractions to explore what daily life in Yangon is all about. A good way to start is on the Yangon Circular Railway, a commuter train that loops 28.5 miles (49.5 kilometers) through residential areas. While the entire ride is roughly three hours, it’s worth stopping along the way to visit some of the markets, neighborhoods, and lesser-known attractions near the stations. Instead of visiting a restaurant, make a meal of the many snacks sold by roving food vendors on the train. When you arrive back at the Yangon Central Railway Station, check out the ornate colonial architecture before you head to Bogyoke Aung San Market, another colonial-era landmark. With hundreds of vendors, it's the perfect place to pick up souvenirs that range from bright fabric to wooden carvings.