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Golden pagodas rub shoulders with British colonial architecture in rapidly-changing Yangon. Since Myanmar reopened its borders, restaurants, bars, hotels and new residential buildings have shot up all over the city, so modernisation lies side by side with traditional culture. Tea houses are a favourite spot for travellers to grab a hot drink and dumplings or noodles. Yangon is also a convenient starting point to discover Myanmar from, as it has good connections to other destinations.
Yangon hostels range from budget to boutique. You can book into a renovated old shophouse, a vintage hostel decorated with murals from a local artist, a hostel full of statues and puppets or a chic co-working space close to Sule Pagoda. As well as standard dorms and private rooms, some hostels in Yangon have pods, including queen-size pods for couples or friends. Most hostels offer free extras like Wi-Fi, breakfast, Burmese snacks and walking tours. One Yangon hostel even gives you a free night when it's your birthday!
Many people stay in Yangon's downtown, the busiest part of the city. This area has a bustling central business district, elegant colonial architecture and lively markets. You'll also find Yangon's Chinatown, a popular neighbourhood with travellers. There are lots of places to stay here, and it's known for nightlife and street food. Head to Bahan Township for Shwedagon Pagoda, Inya Lake and upscale shopping, or to the leafy Dagon Township to explore its museums and parliament buildings.
If you're into history – or jewels – explore the National Museum to see the jewel-studded Lion Throne of Myanmar's last king. Shop for trinkets yourself at Bogyoke Aung San Market, one of the best places to buy Burmese handicrafts and art. Marvel at the gigantic reclining Buddha statue at Chaukhtatgyi Buddha Temple or stroll through the fountains and manicured gardens of People's Square and Park. Richly-decorated Shwedagon Pagoda is one of the country's most important pilgrimage sites, drawing thousands of devotees each year.
Yangon International Airport is a 30-minute taxi ride from the city. A shuttle bus also runs from the airport to Yangon Central railway station, which takes approximately 1 hour. Yangon is well connected by train to other cities in Myanmar, including Mandalay and Bagan, and the Aung Mingalar Highway Bus Station has routes to destinations across the country. To get around the city, flag a metered cab down on the street or use a ride-sharing app.