Yangon, the golden city.

Yangon in Myanmar was the capital of the country until 2006 when the government relocated the capital but it is however the largest city in Myanmar. This is also where we begun our Myanmar adventure.

We had two full days to try and see as much of the city as we possibly could and Hannah devised a good rough plan to see the cities main pagodas and temples as well as the circle train but also allow us a bit of leeway if we saw anything of interest


The main items to tick off were the Shwedagon pagoda, the Sule Pagoda, Chinatown and the circle train. And on the first day after a quick test in the hotel, we decided on visiting the Shwedagon Pagoda. 

We walked from our hotel in downtown giving us the opportunity to take in a bit more if the city and it's actually a really nice town for walking around.there is a good bustle about the place but everyone is polite and friendly and for an Asian country it's quite clean with loads of places of interest to call in on the walk. We first went for a walk through Chinatown and then We dropped into a couple of minor Pagodas along the way to Shwedagon but they all pale in comparison to the main Pagoda of the city.

You can see the Shwedagon Pagoda from miles away a great towering Stoopa of gold topped with a huge umbrella and surrounded by a ton of temples and pagodas and more fine wood carving, marble work and Buddha statues than you can shake a stick at. 

As you arrive you have to remove your shoes and then walk up the staircase on one of the four sides. This will be lined with shops selling statues bracelets and other items for tourists and offerings to Buddha. 

This Pagoda is huge I do not say this lightly and we elected to take a guide around as there is so much to see and we wanted to have the more intricate parts of the temple explained to us. The tour itself was 3 hours long and we learned a lot about Buddhism and the temple itself. 

The whole thing came to 13000kyat which we felt was worth the cost going without a guide is fine but if you don't know much about the culture or the religion it is a good way to learn and the guide was very helpful answering all of our questions and taking photos for us on our way around.


When we were entering the temple we walked past an advertising board for Happy World this sign was literally singing at us to come to Happy World! We couldn't resist and after the temple visit, we walked across the road from the Shwedagon and into 1990. 

The entertainment park is everything I remember from being a kid they had a ghost train, a ghost walk, fairground stalls and arcade machines oh and of course a 4D cinema! There are random statues of computer games characters, skeletons playing cards and prizes for tokens collected at the stalls  I think the entry fee to get in was 300 kyat but this came with a free lychee drink and then it's roughly 1000 kyat per big ride and a varying cost of 400-600 kyat per stall it was really good fun and a total blast from the past. Just outside is a large park where there is a boating lake and places to sit and relax.

We then started to walk to Sule Pagoda but was pulled in by another more modern arcade this time that had a load of the crazy Japanese arcade games in. Like horse racing with a lifesize horse or drumline, like guitar hero with giant drums and sticks. in the arcade you have to buy an oyster type card that you top up with credit to then use on the machines for ten thousand we got a good 45 minutes to an hour of games but unfortunately we weren't allowed to take photos of the crazy machines they had in there. 

We finally got to Sule Pagoda and were walking around when a man approached us and began telling us about the temple. We walked around with him following even when we tried to walk away and then after a while he said I have told you about the temple now can you give me some money. It was basically a fleece and we felt that we had to give him something so I said we did say that we didn't want a guide and offered him some to which he said wasn't enough. This obviously left us feeling very uncomfortable and a bit ripped off so I would say if anyone approaches you in temples and begins to tell you about the place, politely say sorry but I don't need a guide and unless they are super persistent this should deflect the potential scammer. 

On day two we went for a ride on the circle train it's a three-hour train ride that takes you around the whole city for 200 kyats each and is caught from platform 7 at the cities downtown station.


It's a really good way to view the city and see the people who live in it and for the cost it's an excellent way to get a feel for Yangon. The trains themselves are old and a little battered, the seats are uncomfortable and there is no air-conditioning but that's all part of the experience. 

On the three hour trip you can sample fruit and some cooked treats from the various vendors that traipse up and down the train for the entire journey peddling their wares. After three hours you are returned to the main station.

After some lunch our time in Yangon was drawing to a close so we returned to our hotel to get ready for our 9-hour bus trip to Mandalay.

From downtown Yangon, the taxi to the bus station cost us 9000 kyats but I have since been told we could have got a grab (Asia's answer to Uber) cheaper. 

Yangon bus station is a sprawling chaotic mess so make sure you know what service you are using and get the taxi driver to drop you off at the right terminal or you could easily get lost in the pandemonium and bustle of the bus station.

We had booked online with  JJ express who have great reviews and offer a really good service. The buses are super comfortable, more than most planes and also came with built-in entertainment screens with games and movies supplied the food was ok but let's be honest here it's a bus not the ritz. The seats go right back to almost make a bed and you can manage to get some sleep but our drivers swapped at2.30am and the new driver put music on for the last couple of hours of the journey.

Although our trip was brief Yangon is a big city full of life and the lovely people of Myanmar. It has lots to entertain you and a literal shit ton of amazing, historical architecture to look at and if you don't mind. Sitting for a few hours a wonderful circle train that gives you a real feel for the life of the city.

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