Best time to go: November – February
Journey Time: 3 hours from Singapore
Duration: 1 day
As Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon is the gateway to the rest of the country.
It was also the capital until the then military Government relocated to Napyitaw in 2006.
As impressive as some of its historic sights and old colonial architecture (the train station, city hall and port buildings are probably the best examples) are, it is still seen by many visitors (including us) as a short stop-off on the way to their real reason for visiting Myanmar – normally Bagan and Mandalay.
There is plenty to keep you occupied but one day was enough for us to explore the city and see everything we wanted to see.
Part of Yangon’s biggest charm is still the lack of western influences compared to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and even Bangkok or Jakarta. You won’t find a Starbucks or McDonalds on every street corner (thankfully!) but instead you can soak up the local culture where Yangon’s streets are filled with local street vendors selling everything from fruit and vegetables to household products and local crafts.
But the lifting of Western sanctions means there are more and more companies coming in to Myanmar so if you want to experience the real Yangon, then it would be wise to travel there soon.
Getting around is fairly easy – a lot of the main sights are situated close to each other so walking is possible if you don’t mind the heat. Taxis are easy to come by but the traffic can be congested. Unlike other Southeast Asian cities, there are no motorbikes allowed (rumour has it the former Military government banned in for fear of assassination attempts!) so more cars mean more time stuck in traffic, especially during peak times.