It’s a must to catch a classical dance performance while in Myanmar’s cultural capital. Operated by a school for young performers, this theatre puts on nightly shows with elaborate costumes and routines.
SEE & DO
This gallery in the heart of Yangon’s historic downtown area has a reputation for boundary-pushing photographic shows. Recent exhibits have focused on natural resource extraction, as well as the plight of the persecuted Rohingya ethnic minority.
Thut Ti Myanmar Lethwei Gym
Try lethwei (a traditional form of boxing) at this spartan but wildly popular gym. Taught by veteran fighters, classes are frequented by locals and expats alike.
Yadanarpon Night Market
Located a little off the beaten track, the city’s new night market stands in the shadow of Mandalay Hill. Here, you’ll find food stalls, traditional music and puppet shows.
EAT & DRINK
Set on the ground floor of a colonial shophouse, this beer station-style eatery channels the tastes of central Myanmar (“Anya”) with flavourful curries and salads. Try the moreish dried beef, which pairs well with cold beer.
Tucked along a nondescript back alley, Café Salween is a surprising oasis of calm amid Yangon’s bustling downtown. Tidily furnished with wooden tables and masses of hanging plants – including an actual tree in the middle of the café – it also serves up superb coffee.
Another Mandalay branch of a Yangon institution, Ginki serves up Thai and Indian classics alongside Western fare. The leafy garden is a serene spot to while away a balmy evening over a few cocktails.
Happy Café and Noodles
Already a favourite down south in Yangon, this eatery recently opened a branch in Myanmar’s cultural capital. Slurp up noodle dishes made using recipes from across the country in the restaurant’s pretty alfresco area.
At this streetside joint, generous plates of biryani, coconut rice and beans are served up on tiny silver tables illuminated by strip lighting. Do also try the keema paratha (deliciously crisp rotis stuffed with mutton) which go nicely with mugs of sweet, creamy tea.
Yangon’s newest nightclub is fast becoming one of the most popular places in the city to dance away the humid monsoon nights. The regular LGBT-friendly Fab events draw considerable crowds.
Myint Myint Khin
This famous sweet shop is known for its rich, coconut-laced offerings – think traditional pastries in flavours like coconut and chocolate, coconut and carrot, and more. The semolina cake is also a popular option.
Recently opened, this sleek café is an air-conditioned escape from the hot and dusty Mandalay streets. It’s an ideal place to while away an afternoon over Western-style coffee and pastries.
This is one of the few places in Yangon where you can sample authentic fare from the secretive Wa state, which has been closed to foreigners for decades. Don’t miss the gloopy, congee-like moik, which is made with brown rice and vegetables.
Aimed at chic young women, Cici’s designs put a twist on traditional style – think bold prints and body-hugging, long-line dresses. The boutique recently launched a line of longyis (Burmese sarongs) with pockets.
This is where well-heeled locals come to get their slippers. Shwe Nagar sells a wide range of Myanmar’s favourite velvety flip flops – including wedges for women – at decent prices.
One of the best bespoke tailors in Yangon, this is the place for ethical Burmese fashion. Founder Pyone Thet Thet Kyaw, a former garment worker, is passionate about labour rights and offers free training to disadvantaged women. Bring some fabric and have an outfit made, or pick an off-the-shelf design.
The Hotel Emperor
Yards from Mandalay’s picturesque moat and royal palace, this hotel is both well-located and reasonably priced. It’s also a stone’s throw away from some of the city’s best restaurants, including the excellent vegetarian eatery Marie Minn.
The Link 84 Mandalay Hotel
This stylish new four-star hotel is located in the heart of the city, close to the Royal Palace and railway station. Its 33 rooms are neatly appointed, and its staff are incredibly friendly.
Myint Myint Khin
曼德勒林可83号精品酒店(The Link 83 Mandalay Hotel )