With its tropical trees and beautiful lakes, pavement tea-shops and magnificent heritage buildings, Yangon is alive with spirit. You can enjoy an intriguing mix of Burmese culture and multinational communities. Yangon is the modern name for Rangoon and this vibrant and fast-changing metropolis is where Myanmar’s past and future collide.
Yangon has long been the heart of the country. Alaungapaya, the founder of the last line of Burmese kings, made Yangon his capital in 1753 and it remained Myanmar’s capital until 2005 Yangon remains the country’s largest city and the primary commercial hub, but the Myanmar capital has since moved to the purpose-built city of Napyidaw.
Fusion of east and west on Yangon holidays
Yangon has a rich cultural history drawing on Burmese, British, Chinese and Indian influence. You can find the legacy of the former British colonial rule within Yangon’s extensive collection of colonial period architecture. Yangon has the highest number of colonial buildings in Southeast Asia, much of which have faded to romantic dilapidation where gentle pastel colours are now draped with creeping vines. Some of these spectacular buildings have since been restored to their former glory, such as the renowned Strand Hotel Yangon, which is situated on the riverfront. Yangon is also renowned for its many parks and lakes and a relatively low-rise skyline, which earned Yangon the nickname 'Garden City of the East'.
Hovering over the Yangon at the top of Singuttara Hill lies the glorious, golden Shwedagon Pagoda, which is visible from many viewpoints. We highly recommend you put this first on your list of things to do in Yangon. Arrive a few hours before sunset so you have plenty of time to tour the many shrines before you watch the sun bathe this gorgeous temple in many hues of rose-gold light. Find a quiet corner and observe local worshippers performing their traditional rituals and ceremonies at this important Buddhist temple.
Once you have experienced Yangon, with its exciting fusion of east and west, set off to explore the temple-strewn plain of Bagan and the splendidly-serene Inle Lake.
Great sample itineraries
We have an array of popular itineraries that feature Yangon which we hope will help you plan your Myanmar travel. Call our Destination Specialists today and let us craft a tailor made holiday in Myanmar that is perfect just for you.
Tour Mandalay Yangon
Our favorite hotels
Yangon is a sprawling city. Find your haven and stay in the right location with our carefully-picked selection of hotels, below.
“Take the Circle Line train ride around Yangon. This is a three-hour circuit but you don’t have to do the whole thing. Opened in 1961, the train carries an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 people a day around the city. This is a popular route for local people to go about their daily routine, and is a great way to naturally participate in the local life.”
“Explore Yangon’s multicultural hotspots. Head to Chinatown for barbecued meat at the 19th Street Night Market, and go to the Indian Quarter on Anawratha Road for a delicious and authentic thali.”
Events & Festivals
Yangon boasts a couple of events and traditional festivals that are held throughout the year and can be enjoyed by everyone.
Thadingyut is Myanmar’s festival of lights and marks the end of the Buddhist lenten season. Local people welcome back the Buddha from heaven by festooning the streets, houses and public buildings of Yangon with coloured lights and candles. Thadingyut is celebrated with traditional musical plays and films, as well as many steaming food stalls.
Where to eat in Yangon
The House of Memories is a restaurant and museum in an old villa in Yangon. During World War II it was the headquarters of the Burma Independence Army and an upstairs office was used by Bogyoke (General) Aung San, the hero of Burma’s fight for independence.
You might also like these
We think you might also like to take a look at these destinations. If you'd like some advice, our Destination Specialists will be able to find something that is right for you.
There’s no question too small. Start planning your dream trip by talking to our Destination Specialists.
Sign up to our newsletter
Receive the latest travel inspiration and destination news.
How we tailor make your holiday
The Hayes & Jarvis Way
We've been tailor making holidays for 65 years. With over 60 destinations to choose from, talk to us and we'll listen to your travel ideas to create unforgettable holiday experiences.