Yangon remains a relatively poor city, despite its importance to Myanmar; that comes partly as a result of its relative isolation until recent years. Tourists are not permitted to hire vehicles to drive themselves in Yangon although they can elsewhere in the Country. One way to learn more about daily life during a Myanmar tour is to take the circular train that runs through the city’s commuter belt. The main station is a real colonial relic with some Burmese influences. If you take the trip you will need three hours.
The ferry trip across the river from Yangon to Dallah is another thing to consider. You won’t get a similar opportunity during a Myanmar travel package. Traders offer all sorts of things on the two -tiered ferry where you can rent chairs on the lower deck; upstairs the seats are free. There is a pagoda in Dallah but not much else; it is the ride that is the experience. It is almost like a floating market.
Learning about Myanmar cuisine is fun; it involves going around the market where all the fresh produce is bought and then it is off to the first floor of Governor’s Residence Hotel to watch the preparations and learn how to make the traditional local salad. You will get similar opportunities in neighbouring countries if you book an Indochina tour so why not be able to go home with dishes from all the countries of South East Asia. Read more: Myanmar Food and Drinks
The culture of Myanmar has been damaged over the years though you can enjoy traditional dances while you dine in a number of the city’s restaurants. There are some special events at different times of the year in the National Theatre. There are plans to try to revive cultural activities, concerts and exhibitions and if the number of tourists planning Myanmar travel continues to rise, that might become a reality with plans to combine retail outlets with facilities to host events and exhibitions.
If you want to try yoga and meditation, then there are opportunities to enjoy them both. Yangon Yoga House has two studios in the City in hotels while there is tour where you can learn traditional meditation techniques.
It is perfectly safe to walk the streets of Yangon and enjoy the street food but you need to understand how poor many of the locals are, and therefore expect that you will be seen as someone with money; that doesn’t mean you will be robbed or anything like that. Chinatown is certainly one place you will enjoy just walking around. You may go into a restaurant or simply eat in the street; it is up to you.
Even if you don’t attend the cookery demonstration, you should go to the fresh market to see the array of produce. Bogyoke Aung San is a market selling all kinds of things; a little touristy perhaps but everything is still relatively cheap. There will be local crafts that make good souvenirs and presents for family and friends.