Meet with the guide and driver at the hotel to venture downtown and explore the city centre and its fabulous mix of architecture and sites. The streets are filled with historical buildings, many of which have a faded colonial charm not seen elsewhere in Asia. Start at the Post Office – a lovely historic building- and walk to Sule Paya in the middle of downtown. Along the way, pass by Strand Hotel, Mahabandoola Park and Independence Monument. Then visit Little India and Chinatown, a colorful cacophony of restaurants, temples and markets. Reach Bogyoke Market, formerly known as Scott’s Market, where there is time to browse through dozens of stalls and shops. This is Yangon’s best market for handicrafts and other goods, so be sure to pick up some souvenirs (Note: Market is closed on Mondays and public holidays).
Lunch at a local restaurant where delicious Burmese cuisine is served in a clean, comfortable environment.
After lunch, visit Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda, home to a 70-metre long reclining Buddha. A visit to Kyaukhtatgyi provides a great overview of Buddhism with murals depicting the life of Buddha, and a statue carved with traditional symbols. Many locals often gather here to pay homage and pray.
Continue to a local tea shop for a chance to experience an integral part of Burmese life: drinking tea! Select from an array of snacks and enjoy a coffee or tea while sitting amongst businessmen, friends and families who gather at the tea shop to socialise or conduct business.
Next the guided tour goes to Kandawgyi Park, one of central Yangon’s greenest spots. Here, see the glittering Karaweik Barge, a replica of the royal barge, and the vast lake with views of Shwedagon Pagoda in the background. Depending on the day of the visit, Kandawgyi may be busy with local families who come here on the weekend to relax in the fresh air.
From here, continue to Shwedagon Pagoda the most revered Buddhist temple in Myanmar. Although the origins of the pagoda are unclear, local legend has it that the original structure was built 2,500 years ago then renovated several times before taking its current shape in the 15th century. The 8-sided central stupa is 99 metres tall, gilded with gold leaf and is surrounded by 64 smaller stupas. Follow the guide’s lead while touring this massive complex and learn why it’s so revered among locals.