Everyone I met on my travels through Myanmar either loved or hated Yangon; there was nothing in between. What was my verdict on the place? Well, at first, I sat firmly in that in between space; I didn’t love it and I didn’t hate it either. But in a very short space of time the city grew on me and I really began to like Yangon.
Now you will get stared at something terrible here. Not in an “omg I’m going to get raped in Cairo” kind of way, more a “check out this strange white chick walking down the street” kind of way, much the same as us western tourists gawk at anything different when we travel. It’s just your average third world city; think Bangkok, Phnom Penh or even Cairo.
I only spent a day here, but I would have loved to have had longer to explore. There are quite a few impressive pagodas here and I would also recommend jumping on the circle train where you can sit back, relax and watch the local way of life roll by. Now it does take three hours to do the full loop, but you can get off anywhere and it was only right toward the end that I’d started to want to get off the train. For the first two and a half hours I was thoroughly enjoying myself; I popped in my headphones and watched the various people get on and off the train, the people going up and down the aisle selling their wares and watching the countryside change as we slowly chugged past. And at only 200 KS (about USD$0.15) you really can’t get better value sightseeing than that!
If you’re nearby, go for a wander in the 5th Ward where it’s like you’ve been transported back in time! This area is full of old colonial buildings which all have tree’s growing out of them; it makes for an amazing sight, not to mention a great photo opportunity. So regardless of what you’re into, give Yangon a chance if you don’t like it at first. It grows on you and it has something for everyone if you look hard enough, or in my case if you stop looking at all!