By Regina Sharpe
Yangon, the largest city in Myanmar, offers a bouquet of things to explore. As a visitor, expect to spend most of your time walking around to enjoy the city and soak in its culture. Here’s a concise list of options for any visitor to this rich and ancient land. From public transport to walking around, there are a lot of ways in which Yangon can be explored.
Downtown Yangon is completely walkable and in fact, is the best way to explore the area. All the must-see places such as Bogyoke Aung San Museum, Shwedagon Pagoda, and Sule Pagoda are located quite close to one another. Taking a walk will help you understand the vibe of the city as well as familiarise yourself to get around faster. It can get pretty hot during the day. Hence, do carry an umbrella or cap and don’t forget to wear sunscreen.
Yangon has a strong public transportation system and the city is well-connected through bus routes. Both air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned buses are available. However, the problem is most bus routes are written in Myanmar’s script and as a traveller, it can be difficult for you to decipher it if you don’t understand the language. You can ask a local for help, as they are usually happy to oblige. Bus travel is usually quite cheap with tickets costing 200 Kyat to 300 Kyat on average. It will certainly endear you to locals if you chose to join in the daily commute!
Taking a taxi is the most convenient option. They are generally not very expensive. A short journey starts from 1,500 Kyat while the longer trips start from 3,000 Kyat. Popular ride-hailing application Grab is also available, although the payment has to be made in cash. Beware of traffic during the rush hour as you might have to spend longer than usual time on the road. Many drivers do not speak in English, so communication can get tricky. A great trick is to switch on your Map app, so you can track your route and know you are going in the right direction.
Other Travel Options
Motorbikes are not allowed in Yangon, therefore apart from the occasional policeman, you won’t find anyone on motorbikes. Bicycles can be rented, however, bicycles are not allowed in certain areas. Trishaws are commonly used in downtown Myanmar and are a fun way of getting around to experience the city’s culture. However, the drivers tend to ask a higher price when they see a foreigner, so don’t hesitate to bargain.
Don’t miss a ride on the Yangon Circular Railways – a must-do activity when in Yangon. It is a 46-kilometre long commuter route which passes through the city of Yangon. It is an awesome way to see the city. [link to circular train article]. A big bonus is the fact that the train departs from an amazing train station in downtown Yangon. You’ll enjoy the architecture as much as the train ride that awaits!