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
Moustache Brothers Show
Burmese dancing and English-language jokes come together in this live performance, which gained notoriety in the 1990s when their jests about the government landed the comedians in prison.
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.
Sein Myint Gallery and Museum
Stop by this gallery to browse the paintings, sculptures and other handmade goods by local artisans. Artist Sein Myint can sometimes be found in the building, and is always happy to offer a free tour.
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.
Atlas Rooftop bAR
This breezy bar offers spectacular views of Shwedagon Pagoda’s glimmering façade, as well as finely made cocktails and live jazz.
Set in a stately colonial building with wide verandas and wooden ceiling fans, this impressive new restaurant has been the talk of the town for months, thanks to its range of regional flavours, from tongue-scorching salads to comforting stews.
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.
Close to the airport, this rooftop bar gives guests a chance to sip on a craft cocktail while enjoying a panoramic view of the famous U Bein Bridge in the distance.
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.
Hidden down an alley behind a hairdresser, Yangon’s newest speakeasy looks nondescript from the outside but can get pretty raucous due to its popularity with students, who love its cheap, potent cocktails.
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.
Mingalabar Myanmar Restaurant
Delicious curries, salads and endless complimentary side dishes are probably the reason why this Burmese restaurant is so highly regarded. The friendly staff are happy to explain the dishes, and vegetarians will find plenty of options as well.
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.
With an elegant setting in a wood-and-glass house, this chic restaurant serves a diverse array of Indian and Burmese food. The wine list has also been carefully selected to complement the diverse food options.
The Little Mushroom Coffee
Sip on some fresh juice or enjoy an aromatic cup of coffee in this comfortable outdoor space, which provides a quiet reprieve from the city’s bustle.
The Social House
“Eat, drink, be social” is the chipper motto of this new barbecue restaurant. It offers a bustling pub indoors, and a more relaxed vibe on its outdoor terrace. Enjoy tasty snacks such as yakitori-style chicken skewers and deep-fried chicken thighs with six dipping sauces.
Be Cool Mandalay
From handmade boxes to vibrant miniature marionettes, this locally owned boutique has a beautifully curated selection of Burmese crafts with a modern twist. Be sure to check out their traditional gem paintings, which the owner’s family has been making for generations.
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.
Occupying an airy loft in downtown Yangon, this non-profit social enterprise offers a retail outlet for local designers and artisans. With a heavy emphasis on eco-friendly products, most of the items sold here – including bags and lampshades – are made from recycled materials.
Junction City Mall
Junction City is a playground of international brands and local styles. If you get hungry after all that shopping, there are multiple options available, including a food court with a diverse array of cuisines.
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.
Bagan King Hotel
Statues of ancient Bagan kings greet visitors in the lobby of this ornately decorated hotel, and the rooms are spacious and tastefully finished. The rooftop bar is perfect for watching the sun set over the distant mountains.
Belmond Governor’s Residence
As the former home of Burma’s colonial administrators, this is one of the most lavish places to retreat to after pounding the streets of Yangon. The mansion remains a verdant oasis of comfort with a crystal-clear pool and top-notch dining options.
Hotel by the Red Canal
Located close to Mandalay Palace, this 25-room hotel is filled with homey touches such as fresh flowers and a swimming pool lit by candles in the evening. Each room is tastefully decorated according to the four major ethnic groups in Myanmar: Chin, Kachin, Rakhine and Shan.
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.
The former British colonial-era headquarters of the Steel Brothers Company has been renovated as this 74-room hotel. The modern interiors are accented with vintage flourishes such as antique phones and typewriters.
Myint Myint Khin
曼德勒林可83号精品酒店(The Link 83 Mandalay Hotel )