Yangon (Rangoon) in Myanmar (Burma).
What’s in a name! When we have to compare Yangon to a different city, it would definitely be an Indian city like Delhi or Bangalore. Reason is the traffic, (non-) cleanliness, poverty and the high numbers of people. The average monthly salary of People in Yangon is approximately USD 200, while the average months house rent, amounts up to approximately USD 150. That does not leave much room for food or anything else. Yangon definitely has its own charm though.
China town in Yangon is known for its busy streets full of life, where you can buy all kinds of things and eat at one of the many food stands in the area.
In Chinatown lies 19th street, also known as: “Beer Street”! On this street you can find the vibrant Yangon night life. There are lots of restaurants and bars in this street, and 19th street is known by many backpackers as the place to be at night (that is, if you like loud music and alcohol!)
Picture: 19th street during daytime
You can also find the night market in China town. A long stretched market, opened from 17:00PM until 23:00 PM. On the market you can find all sorts of different things. From clothing to souvenirs. A nice but busy place to look around between the locals.
Spa & Massage
Between the night market and 19th street lies the Health Blessing massage salon. The massage salon is known as one of the best in the Chinatown area. A 1 hour massage costs approximately 15,000 Kyat.
Pictures: Spa Health Blessing, Chinatown Yangon
The Shwedagon pagoda is the biggest and most famous pagoda in Yangon. With the actual Shwedagon pagoda in the center, it is surrounded by beautiful (smaller) buildings, all filled up with different Buddha’s. You can easily spend several hours at the Shwedagon pagoda site without seeing things twice. The Shwedagon pagoda has 4 entrances; North, East, South and West. Remember from which entrance you entered the Shwedagon pagoda, or you may never find your shoes back again (which you have to leave behind in front of an entrance).
Surrounding the Shwendagon pagoda are small Buddha statues, each representing one day of the week. However, Wednesday has two Buddha’s: Wednesday morning and Wednesday afternoon.
Picture: Buddhist devotees bathing Wednesday afternoon Buddha in front of the Shwedagon pagoda for blessings
The entrance fee for the Shwedagon pagoda is 8,000 Kyat.
The laying Buddha. An immense statue and it is said that it is the biggest one in Myanmar. In front of Chaukhtatgyi buddha lies a big carpet on which people can pray.
Picture: Chaukhtatgyi buddha from the front
At first, it seems a little odd that a big statue is ‘hidden’ in a place that reminds you a little of a big warehouse. However, when you think about it, how else protect such a statue from the elements! The entrance road is also a bit strange as the site is in the middle of a domestic area with dirt roads, though still in the city.
Picture: Chaukhtatgyi Buddha from the feet up
The entrance to see the Chaukhtatgyi Buddha is free. If you wish you can leave a donation in one of the many donation boxes in front of Chaukhtatgyi Buddha.
Within and around Yangon are many places to visit. As we were limited in time, we asked a taxi driver to drive us around. He agreed for a fixed price of 6,000 Kyat per hour (approximately USD 4,50). It is not an expensive way to visit many sites if you do not have much time. Also, our taxi driver was great fun and told us a lot about Myanmar culture and sites (Overall, the Burmese people we met are very nice).
- Wear a hat as it can be very hot during the day. Many Burmese people carry an umbrella against the sun.
- In every site, you have to take off your shoes and socks/slippers, and go in bare feet. Do not forget to take them off as leaving them on is perceived as disrespect against Buddha.
- Wear clothing that cover your whole legs and shoulders. This goes for man and woman, or entrance to sacred sights will be denied.
- We have noticed that wearing traditional Burmese clothing is very much appreciated by the locals. We got a lot of compliments. Also, in Burmese temperatures, the long Burmese skirts (for man and woman) are great. Nice and airy! You can buy the skirts on almost every street corner.