Today, my friend and I explored Yangon. We had an awesome day and I want to share the city’s highlights with you.
1. Yangon’s colonial treasures
Lonely Planet suggests a walking tour through downtown Yangon. The city center is chaotic, noisy and dirty but if you take a second look, you’ll see many ancient colonial buildings. Most of them are run-down but it’s still possibly to see how beautiful they must have been.
2. Donate flowers at the Sule Paya
Right in the middle of a giant round about, you will find a pagoda that is about 2000 years old. It has since been rebuilt a couple of times and it is a busy place where whorshippers come all day long to make their prayers. Buy flowers at one of the entrances. Look up which day of the week you were born (Thursday for me) and donate the flowers to the Buddha figure sitting at the shrine corresponding to that day. You can also wash the Buddha or the flowers or both.
To be honest, I’m not a hundred percent sure how it’s done (I watched the locals and that’s how I learnt) but no matter what, I’m sure Buddha will appreciate your efforts.
3. Sip tea in one of Yangon’s tea houses
I love tea. So what better place to stop by than a tea house? The one where we went for a break from walking around wasn’t the best place to get high quality tea. But then again, Myanmar isn’t the country to come to if you’re looking for high quality tea.
Tea houses are less about tea than about the atmosphere. Sitting here, watching the locals meet, sipping a hot lemon tea and a refreshing papaya juice is the perfect break if you’re tired.
4. Relax in Mahabandoola Garden
It’s a Sunday and Valentine’s Day. Maybe that was why we saw so many couples in the park, wearing couple t-shirts and dragging around plush animals (couple t-shirts are a huge thing here). In any case, Mahabandoola Garden seemed the place to hang out at so this is a perfect opportunity for people watching.
5. Shwedagon Paya
You cannot come to Yangon without visiting this impressive pagoda. Legend says that eight of Buddha’s hairs are enshrined inside. Whether you want to believe that or not is up to you. Fact is, there are no words to describe how huge and golde and impressive it is so I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves.
6. Kandawgyi Lake
We had dinner next to the lake and then took a walk on the seemingly endless plankway on the lake’s southern side. The wood is old, some of the planks are rotten and falling off but you have a nice view of the lake and it’s a nice place for an evening stroll.