A weekend break in Yangon, Myanmar

photo by CC user Thomas Schoch on wikimedia commons

Want to take a break from the grind in Bangkok or Chiang Mai, but are getting tired of the beach? With the Burmese regime to the west dissolved, you no longer have to feel guilty about taking a trip to Myanmar.

A weekend break in Yangon will prove to be one of the most interesting side trips you will have done during your time spent working in Southeast Asia. Let’s dig into the details on a short journey there…

Check into a bespoke place to stay

Despite the many years of an embargo against the former military junta that used to rule the nation of Myanmar with an iron fist, many of the old and elegant hotels that were established before this country’s dark ages began survived them.

They have been refurbished to their former glory, and for those looking for a weekend break in Burma’s captivating capital should look to these fine lodgings for a base during their time here.

The Strand Hotel is a fine choice for those that have the budget to afford a high end establishment; for $340 USD per night, you’ll get to stay in a place that has hosted the likes of Rudyard Kipling and Mick Jagger in the past.

If you can’t afford this Victorian hotel’s marble floors and chandeliers, the more modest but comfortable Alamanda Inn is a better option.

Small but clean, it is located amidst the lush greenery of Yangon’s Golden Valley neighbourhood, and it has an excellent French restaurant located next door for those seeking a decadent meal before turning in for their first night in Myanmar’s first city.

See the Shwedagon Pagoda

If you only see one prime attraction during your time in Yangon, make it the Shwedagon Pagoda. It is the most sacred site in all of Burma, as this pagoda is said to contain relics of four past incarnations of the Buddha.

Covered with gold leaf donated by benefactors over countless years in the past, it is truly an awesome sight to see in the sun of the late afternoon or early morning. Given its tremendous size, be sure to set aside a couple hours of lazy wandering to properly appreciate its magnificence.

Spend a night out on 19th street

Spend your second night in Yangon on 19th street, which is its most lively thoroughfare. Lined with BBQ grills cooking up the finest meat dishes that Burmese cuisine has to offer, you won’t have trouble finding a meal here … but you might have a problem trying to pick which one.

We recommend the fish, and with beer available for less than a dollar a bottle, you’ll have a long evening to get to know locals in the most joyous of circumstances.

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