1. Low Vibes City
Sure, the traffic can be quite maddening at times especially downtown but it doesn’t take more than a few hundred meters to find a quiet street.
It’s a gentle city that still reeks of old Asia charm when life’s rhythms are punctuated by temples and markets.
2. Tea Houses
Aside from serving up a cuppa and more, tea houses are important social places where people gather to gossip, exchange news, or simply watch the world go by. It’s refreshing to be in a place where people actually mingle and talk to each other rather than staring at a tablet or a smart phone.
3. Those roadside cafes
They’re everywhere—under a tree or in the shadow of a building. Mornings is the best time to come here, take a seat, and enjoy a bowl of mohingya and a cup of sweet tea with milk.
4. Shwedagon Paya
How can one not fall in love with this beautiful pagoda especially when lit-up at night. More than an architectural wonder, it is ground zero for the locals’ Buddhist faith.
Yangon’s two other temples, Botataung by the river and Sule at the center are beautiful too.
I am in complete awe by the fervor by which the people practice their faith in these temples. From solitary meditation to group chants.
With their spacious grounds, especially Botataung’s the temples also function as mini-parks for families and couples.
5. Colonial Heritage
Yangon has the best preserved colonial cityscape in Southeast Asia. You can take the walking tour in Lonely Planet and detour in a few streets to see other architectural marvels outside the guidebook’s radar.
Some are crumbling.
While others have been put to adaptive use.
Go ahead, take a peek inside.
Always remember to gaze-up and see beautiful architectural details.
Wherever you go, down an alley or a street, you’ll find your own architectural wonder.
6. Taxis are everywhere
It’s easy to flag-down a taxi anywhere and anytime. The usual rate is 2, 000 k. Some will ask for 2, 500 or 3, 000. Just flag-down another one. Most taxi drivers are really nice. They follow the usual 2, 000k rate and if they can speak English, engage you in conversation.
A taxi from downtown to airport costs 6, 000-8, 000 k. I left at 8am and took less than an hour, traffic included.
Have someone in your hotel write down all the places you wish to go to including your hotel address in Myanmar script. That way, you just show the address to your driver. Sights listed in Lonely Planet guidebooks have Myanmar translations. Taxis have a/c but most drivers leave it off and roll the windows down. Just ask them to turn it on. They’ll be most willing to oblige.
Yangon is a city best enjoyed leisurely. It’s charm grows on you.