Before heading to Yangon in Myanmar, I highly recommend that you book accommodation in advance. There is not enough accommodation available for the amount of people that are now starting to visit the city. When I arrived I spent hours driving around in a taxi (very expensive!) and visiting around 10 different places before I found somewhere pretty average to stay for US$40. I was lucky and pretty relieved. With somewhere to stay I was finally able to start exploring the city. It’s a pretty rundown city but it is very busy and there is a lot to explore. I enjoyed walking the streets, trying different foods and visiting the markets.
One of the biggest attractions is Shwedagon Paya, which is a huge gold temple in the middle of the city. It is a sacred Buddhist place and said to have relics of former Buddhas kept there. It also apparently has 27 metric tonnes of gold leaf. It’s a great place to go and visit, filled with worshippers and monks.
I only had a short time in Yangon, which I think was enough. Cost wise, you’re looking at NZ$60 (US$40) per day, unless you can’t find somewhere to stay (like me), in which case it is more. My time in Myanmar generally has been truly eye opening. At first, when I arrived, I thought it was strange that this place was run by an oppressive military regime, however, after spending sometime here you soon notice the lack of infrastructure and poor conditions that the majority of the population live in. Not to mention the constant military check points as you travel around the country by bus. But change is afoot. I am grateful that I visited when I did and I truly hope the people here welcome a better regime soon.
Editor’s Note: Visited Myanmar in 2012, updated in 2017.