10 Awesome Day Tours in and From Yangon
Searching for the best day trips from Yangon? From vibrant neighbourhoods to remote villages, glittering temples and palaces to mouthwatering market tours, explore the best of Yangon and beyond with this Yangon day trips guide!
If you’re travelling to Myanmar, there’s a 99.99% chance that at some point during your trip (probably at the beginning and the end), you’re going to find yourself in bustling, chaotic Yangon.
We’ve previously written a guide to our favourite things to do in Yangon, but if you’re looking to make the most of this rapidly-developing, somewhat bewildering city, or looking to escape its confines for a day altogether, we think the best way to do it is by jumping on an organised tour.
In fact, some of our favourite experiences in Yangon, like the Yangon Circle Line train and exploring the night markets, came from joining a local guide and discovering exactly what makes the city tick.
For those willing to venture a little further afield, there are also plenty of amazing sightseeing opportunities just beyond the city limits that many tourists miss, from ancient cities and glimmering pagodas to thriving Wetlands teeming with wildlife!
To help you make the most of your time in the city, we’ve rounded up our pick of the best Yangon day tours, our favourite day trips from Yangon, how to visit them, and some extra Myanmar travel tips to help you have an incredible adventure there.
YANGON CITY TOURS | THE BEST DAY TRIPS IN AND FROM YANGON
DAY TOURS IN YANGON | YANGON DAY TRIPS
#1 YANGON FULL DAY PRIVATE TOUR
This is the best option for travellers who want to make the most of their time in Yangon on a super short timeframe: a private full day tour of Yangon covering most of the main highlights.
You’ll visit Bogyoke (Scott) Market, Yangon’s famous covered market with more than 2,000 stalls, before heading to the ancient Sule Pagoda and onto the colonial streets of downtown Yangon.
After tea at the famous Rangoon Tea House, you’ll drop past Kandawgyi Lake and the Chauk That Gyi reclining Buddha temple before finishing up at Yangon’s most famous attraction: Shwedagon Pagoda. It’s a whirlwind day, but perfect if time is of the essence!
#2 YANGON CIRCLE TRAIN | YANGON DAY TRIPS
We’ve said it a million times already, but this Yangon day trip was one of our all-time highlights from a year spent backpacking around the world in 2015/6.
The Yangon Circle line train was built during the colonial era, and it remains the key commuter train for many of Yangon's locals, particularly those ferrying goods to market.
Taking the train provides a unique insight into Burmese daily life; the carriages transform into noisy moving marketplaces as papaya salads, the day’s paper, and Betel quids are bartered, while at Da Nyin Gone Station the wholesale market spills out onto the tracks. It’s sheer chaos, and a fascinating place to be.
We took this Yangon by Slow Train tour with Urban Adventures, which also includes a tour and tastings at the Da Nyin Gone market with a local guide (a must-do!)
BOOK | Yangon by Slow Train tour
#3 YANGON BY NIGHT | YANGON WALKING TOURS
Yangon’s street markets are a centre point of local life in Yangon; thriving and colourful during daylight hours, they burst into life in the twilight hours, as locals spill onto the streets in search of their evening meal.
This 2.5 hour Yangon by night walking tour takes you through the best of the city’s local alleyways and night markets, sampling some of the local fare along the way. You’ll also visit the Sri Kaali and Guanyin Gumiao temples before finishing up the night in the famous 19th street (aka barbecue street), where we can vouch for the deliciously barbecued fish washed down with a Myanmar Draught beer!
This tour is also a fab orientation walk, and would be worthwhile for anyone looking to get their bearings on their first night in the city.
BOOK | Yangon by night walking tour
#4 DELICACIES OF YANGON TOUR | YANGON FOOD TOUR
Look, we're not going to mince our words here…. we generally love local food, but Burmese food really wasn’t our jam.
We really tried, but something about the mix of fermented shrimp paste and bitter mustard leaf that dominated almost every dish just didn’t appeal to our taste buds.
In hindsight though, part of the problem was that we also didn’t really know what to eat, and never had someone around who knew the cuisine and could explain the dishes to us or help us work out what we liked.
This 4-hour gastronomic tour is with a local food expert, who’ll help you discover the tastiest dishes and best local restaurants and street food in town. It’s absolutely the best way to get your head around the cuisine here!
#5 YANGON CULTURAL TOUR
This one's for the culture vultures out there looking to discover the best of Yangon’s cultural scene as efficiently as possible.
From pagodas to parks, museums to markets, this full-day cultural tour takes in the unique traditions and culture of Myanmar’s largest city.
You’ll visit local neighbourhoods, wander around the peaceful Kandawgyi (great royal) Park and lake, visit Yangon’s most famous tourist attraction, Shwedagon Pagoda, at sunset and see the reclining 65m long bejewelled Buddha at Chaukhtatgyi Pagoda, one of Myanmar’s most revered Buddha statues.
This is definitely a deep-dive into the cultural highlights of Yangon. Be sure to dress appropriately (covered knees and shoulders!) as you’re visiting many a sacred site today!
DAY TRIPS FROM YANGON | TOURS OUTSIDE YANGON
#6 GOLDEN ROCK DAY TOUR | KYAIKTIYO PAGODA
Many travellers opt to visit the famous shimmering ‘Golden Rock’ (Kyaiktiyo Pagoda) on an overnight stay — the local bus takes 4-5 hours to get to Kinpun at the mountain’s base, and then another truck or taxi is required — but it’s definitely still possible to visit one of Myanmar’s most religious sites in a single day if you’re short on time.
This full-day Golden Rock group tour starts early (5am!) with a hotel pickup in a private air-conditioned van and takes in a brief stop at the Taukkyan War Cemetery for Allied soldiers of the British Commonwealth and breakfast at the Phayar Gyi Junction before arriving in Kinpun.
You can then choose between public truck or cable car to the top where you’ll have plenty of time to explore the site and eat lunch at the top before heading back to Yangon again in the afternoon.
Remember to wear temple appropriate clothing — this is a deeply religious site for locals, and you’ll need to have your knees and shoulders well covered!
#7 EXPLORE DALAH AND TWANTE
If the hustle and bustle of Yangon feels crazy, there’s a whole other world waiting for you just across the Yangon river.
Jump on a ferry from Pansodan Jetty and potter across to Dalah (10 minutes away), a tumbledown rural Burmese Delta village that is a surreal contrast to the ever-growing metropolis on the other side of the river.
Do be aware that Dalah has been known to attract some unscrupulous touts, so always research prices before you go.
Because of this, we’d actually recommend spending only a little time exploring Dalah and then grabbing a shared taxi and heading 30km west towards the town of Twante.
Twante is known for its traditional handicrafts (particularly pottery-making), an ancient Snake Pagoda (home to over 30 live snakes….ick!), and natural beauty along the Ayeyarwady Delta.
If you’d like to really immerse yourself and learn how the local artisans hone their craft, it’s also possible to take a hands-on pottery class and tour in Twante. We recommend this Twante Like a Local + Pottery Class tour.
#8 THE ANCIENT CITY OF THANLYIN | DAY TRIPS FROM YANGON
Once a bustling, powerful city on the Irrawaddy Delta, Thanlyin was an important port town in ancient Myanmar for centuries, before it was eclipsed by a rapidly growing Yangon in the late 18th century.
Today, the forgotten town of Thanlyin is rich in history, scattered with ancient ruins, pagodas, and historical monuments. It’s connected to the city that overtook it (Yangon) by one of Myanmar’s longest bridges, and remains one of the city’s major port areas. It also has easy access to the third-century Kyauktan Ye Le Pagoda, a famous temple located on a small island just off the coast.
To get to Thanlyin, either take a private taxi across the bridge from Yangon (approx. $30-40 USD for the round trip), or join this group half-day trip that includes a trip to Thanlyin, the Kyauktan Pagoda (and boat ride), an open air food market, and working monastery.
BOOK | Half-day Thanlyin tour
#9 EXPLORE ANCIENT BAGO | BAGO DAY TRIP
Like Thanlyin, a day trip to Bago is a walk through the history and culture of one of Myanmar’s most powerful ancient capitals.
Bago was the centre of power for many ancient Mon and Burmese Kingdoms, particularly after the fall of the Bagan Kingdom in the 13th century, and also became a key centre for Theravada Buddhism in the fifteenth century.
As such, the town is brimming with golden Buddhas, peaceful ancient pagodas, and treasure-filled palaces that have withstood the test of time, earthquake, and the rise and fall of Kingdoms over the following centuries.
Special highlights include the Shwe Man Daw Pagoda (the tallest in Myanmar), the Shwethalyaung reclining Buddha, the splendid Kanbawzathadi Palace, the Snake Temple (which yes, is home to a resident Burmese python!), the Mahazedi Pagoda, and the Four Figures Pagoda.
Around 80km from Yangon, Bago sits astride the Yangon - Mandalay railway and old highway and is therefore a great stop if you're travelling between the two.
Alternatively, you can travel there by public bus, or take this full-day tour from Yangon to Bago instead which also includes a visit to the WWII War Cemetery.
Psst… Trying to decide between a day trip to Thanlyin or Bago? Personally, we’d opt for Bago due to the number of sites on offer and its significance as a former royal capital.
BOOK | Bago: Day trip from Yangon
#10 GET BACK TO NATURE AT THE MOE YUN GYI WETLANDS
Not far from Bago is a tranquil natural paradise that feels worlds away from the hustle and crazy of some of Myanmar’s towns.
The Moe Yun Gyi Wetland Wildlife Sanctuary is a former reservoir that transformed naturally into a peaceful wetland, and is now a haven for migratory birds fleeing the harsh Siberian winter.
If you’re lucky enough to visit during November - March, you can expect to see the Wetlands bursting with exotic birds, while the surrounding areas are a great insight into rural life in Myanmar too.
The wetlands reserve is two-hours drive from Yangon, so wildlife and nature enthusiasts may want to turn this into a slightly longer stay, We recommend Moe Yun Gyi Wetlands Resort, if you do!
GROUP TOURS OF MYANMAR
If you’re keen to explore Myanmar but would prefer to have someone else do all the organising for you, we recommend the following G Adventures tours (our fave small-group travel brand!) to see the very best of this incredible country:
14-Day Yangon to Yangon small group tour with G Adventures takes in the major sights of Yangon, Inle Lake, Mandalay, Bagan, Kalaw.
MYANMAR: HILLTRIBES AND SUNSETS
This 14-day tour from Chiang Mai to Bangkok is perfect for those looking for some offbeat places to visit in Myanmar, along with some of the more famous highlights It includes hikes to hill tribe communities in the Kengtung area, plus visits to Inle Lake, Mandalay, Yangon and Bagan.
MYANMAR ISLANDS: SNORKELLING & VILLAGE HIKES
This 11-day tour takes in the best beaches and epic hiking opportunities in Myanmar, including island hopping (and kayaking) around the Mergui Archipelago, visits to a community based ecotourism project in Dawei, and lush jungle-clad limestone karsts of the Tanintharyi Mountains.
TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR MYANMAR
Whatever you do, don’t travel anywhere in the world without travel insurance; the unexpected can, and often does, go wrong. Be it sickness, lost baggage, theft, or an accident, travel insurance is your best way of mitigating the issues and saving yourselve thousands of dollars down the track.
READ | Our ultimate guide to travel insurance
YOUR MYANMAR TRAVEL PLANNING ESSENTIALS
THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN YANGON
WHERE TO STAY IN YANGON
We recommend staying in downtown Yangon during your travels here, as it’s closest to the action and is the best connected in terms of transport:
The Strand | One of Myanmar’s most famous heritage hotels, opened by the Sarkies brothers (who also opened Raffles in Singapore) in 1901. Reopened again in a super luxurious
BOOK | The Strand Yangon
15th Street @ Downtown Yangon | Comfortable rooms, breakfast included, centrally located and super friendly staff. Rooms start from £19
HOOD Hostel | Located in the heart of Yangon, HOOD Hostel is refurbished from an old colonial building. It’s also a social enterprise offering vocational training for local youth; your stay directly funds their education.
BOOK | HOOD Hostel
EXPERIENCE THE BEST OF MYANMAR
YANGON ITINERARY | 9 wonderful things to do in Yangon (plus a 2-day itinerary!)
ON THE RAILS AGAIN | Our adventures on the Yangon Circle Line train
THE BEST YANGON NIGHT MARKETS | Discover the chaos and colour of Yangon’s night markets
TRAVEL INSURANCE | Don’t leave home without travel insurance (seriously, don’t!). Click here to get the best deals with World Nomads, our trusted travel insurance provider
PHOTOGRAPHY | Love our photography? Wondering what gear we use to get all of our photos around the world?
RESPONSIBLE TRAVEL | Responsible travel is important. REALLY IMPORTANT.
Learn our top responsible travel tips to help you, your family and friends travel more consciously around the globe
ECO FRIENDLY PACKING ESSENTIALS | Don’t leave home without our favourite eco-friendly travel essentials
PLAN YOUR TRIP TO MYANMAR WITH OUR USEFUL GUIDES
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