Yangon, known as Rangoon during British rule, was the capital of Myanmar after independence in 1948. The capital was moved to Naypyidaw in 2005, however Yangon still remains the largest and most important city for business in the country.
Most visitors will need a mix of US Dollars and Myanmar Kyat. Travel (hotels, airfare, etc.) is often quoted in USD, while everything else (food, taxis, souvenirs, etc.) is in MMK. US Dollars should be fresh, crisp and new as possible as to avoid rejection from banks and money changers. While
ATMS and credit cards are now more prevalent, many travelers still have problems using their cards and the majority of business in the country is still transacted in cash.
SIM Cards are now easily available and affordable at the many phone shops throughout the city. The main providers are MPT, Telenor and Ooredoo and cost around MMK 1,500. The plans are prepaid and you can ask the phone shop for recommended top-up based on planned usage.
Taxis in Yangon are not metered and must bargain and negotiate the cost in advance. Short distances within the city should cost MMK 1,500-2,000 and MMK 3-4,000 for slightly longer journeys. A taxi from the airport to city center costs roughly MMK 8,000.
The most important pagoda in Myanmar, gleaming in gold and measuring nearly 100 meters tall, no visit would be complete without visiting this 2,500 year old landmark. Experience Shwedagon at its best during as the sun's rays change and reflect over the pagoda during sunrise or sunset. Easily reachable by foot just a 10-20 minutes walk away from the hostel.
Yangon has several beautiful parks where you can escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. This park is across the street from the Shwedagon Pagoda near the hostel. The park has a series of tree top suspension bridges which make for a fun walk across the rickety wood planks as well as nice overhead views.
YANGON CIRCLE LINE TRAIN
Built in 1954 by the British, the Circle Line Train offers an opportunity to mingle with locals as they go about their daily lives as well as observe the picturesque rural landscape of Yangon. The loop takes about 3 hours and costs under $1 (MMK 300), but you can get on and off at any stop. Kyeemindaing Railway Station is the nearest stop to Pickled Tea.
BOGYOKE AUNG SAN MARKET
Also known as Scott's Market, this market is filled with shops selling antiques, handicrafts, jewellry, art, clothing and more. Open everyday 9 AM to 5 PM, and closed on Mondays and public holidays.
LOCAL WET MARKETS
Yangon is home to many local wet markets. Theingyi Zay Market and Thiri Mingalar Market are perhaps the largest, more famous ones, however many smaller markets can be found along the city roadside, particularly in the mornings, offering fresh produce, fish and livestock, commodities like rice and beans, textiles and more. These markets are buzzing with sights, sounds (and smells too!) and offer a great glimpse into locals interacting with each other as well as opportnities to interact with them as well! There is a small wet market just a 5 minutes walk away from Pickled Tea open each morning.
CHAUK HTAT GYI PAGODA
Famous for the giant 65 meters long and 16 meters high reclining Buddha image. Also surrounded by several local monasteries. Located a short distance northeast of Shwedagon Pagoda.
Located east of Shwedagon Pagoda, this calm retreat offers views of Shwedagon and a boardwalk along its waters perfect for early-morning jogs or strolls. Plenty of lakeside cafes and restaurants as well as a mini zoo.
COLONIAL BUILDINGS DOWNTOWN
Yangon is known for one of the highest number of colonial period buildings in Southeast Asia. Downtown in particular is filled with heritage buildings such as the former High Court, Secretariat, the Strand Hotel, just to name a few.