Yangon Travel Guide: Advice for Foreign Visitors

Yangon

Yangon (previously known as Rangoon) used to be Myanmar’s capital until 2006, when the government moved it to purpose-built Naypyidaw. Today, Yangon is the largest city in Myanmar, with a population of over 7 million people.

Those traveling to Yangon for the first time may wonder about document requirements, safety, and what to do in this historical town. Find all that and more travel information for Yangon below.

Yangon visa: Is It Necessary?

The vast majority of foreigners must obtain a visa in order to enter Yangon and the rest of the country. The Yangon visa requirements are the same as those needed to obtain a Myanmar visa.

Over 100 nationalities can get a visa for Yangon and Myanmar online. The new eVisa system was introduced in 2014 and allows tourists who wish to see Yangon to fill out the application form and request a permit online in minutes from the comfort of their home or office. All they need is:

  • A reliable internet connection and a current email address
  • A vald and eligible passport
  • A recent photo
  • Credit or debit card details

Processing times are extremely quick. Within 3 days, applicants will receive their Yangon eVisa via email. This allows for flexible travel plans.

Is there a visa on arrival at Yangon airport?

A limited number of foreign citizens can obtain a visa on arrival at Yangon airport. In fact, Yangon international airport, Nay Pyi Taw International Airport, and Mandalay International Airport are currently the only Myanmar entry points where this is possible.

Please note that choosing to apply for a visa on arrival may result in long queues at Yangon airport. Moreover, foreigners must arrive in Yangon with all the relevant documentation including the application fee in full and cash.

Is Yangon Safe for Tourists?

Myanmar is an overall extremely safe country for tourists. Petty theft and robberies are very rare across the national territory and Yangon is one of the safest Southeast Asian cities for foreigners. In general, crimes against visitors are extraordinarily scarce.

That said, common safety advice applies, including:

  • Avoid walking alone at night in poor-lit streets (especially if far from Yangon’s center)
  • Don’t flash expensive items like jewelry and cameras
  • Be especially careful while in crowded spaces like road crossings and shopping malls

Heavy traffic may represent a higher risk for Western tourists who are not used to Yangon streets. Simply keep an eye out for uneven pavements, motorists, and potholes. It’s also recommendable to bring a torch at night.

Those preparing for a holiday in Yangon should make an appointment with their healthcare practitioner between 8 to 10 weeks before departure. That is to receive personalized advice on vaccinations required for Myanmar as well suggested medications to bring on their trip.

What Is Yangon Known for?

Foreigners for the first time in Yangon may be surprised by the city’s blend of modern and ancient attractions. Yangon is Myanmar’s greatest commercial hub, buzzing with markets, busy office skyscrapers, and a vibrant nightlife.

However, Yangon is also the spiritual heart of the country, with ancient Buddhist temples, pagodas, stupas, and picturesque buildings of colonial heritage in the city center.

When wondering how many days are needed in Yangon, visitors should consider their specific circumstances. For those with a tight schedule, a few days will suffice. However, tourists wishing all that the Yangon region has to offer are advised to stay longer.

The following is a list of most popular Yangon landmarks and tourist attractions.

Is the Shwedagon pagoda made of gold?

One of the most famous pagodas on the planet, the Shwedagon pagoda is currently on the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites for Myanmar. It can be found on Singuttara Hill, right in central Yangon.

The 99-meter tall, gold-plated structure can be spotted from much of the city. The renowned dome is topped by a stupa containing over 7,000 diamonds, rubies, topaz and sapphires. A large emerald on its highest point offers a spectacle to those observing the pagoda at sunset.

The Shwedagon pagoda (also known as Gold pagoda) is said to have been built over 2,500 years ago and contains the sacred remains of the Gautama Buddha as well as the three previous Buddhas.

Sule Pagoda: closing time and more info

Located in downtown Yangon, at the intersection between Sule Pagoda Road and Mahabandoola Road, this temple is considered one of the city’s finest jewels. Many sacred objects and relics, including 10 bronze bells and one of Buddha’s hair, are preserved here.

Opening times are between 4 am and 10 pm, 7 days a week. The entrance fee is 3 USD per person.

What to buy in Bogyoke Aung San Market

The historic Bogyoke Aung San Market (also known as Scott Market) features over 2000 covered stalls and is situated in Pabedan township. It’s famous for the inner cobblestone streets and colonial architecture that make it unique.

Tourists can expect a large selection of Myanmar handicrafts and souvenirs as well as handmade cotton and silk clothes. There are also antique shops where to find coins, stamps, and jewels and a number of restaurants and arts galleries.