Modern Myanmar: How Tourism is Changing Yangon

As Yangon’s popularity among expatriates and tourists continues to grow, so do the city’s offerings. Previously cut off to the outside world, modern bars, restaurants, and gyms are being built to meet the rising demands of visitors and locals.


Photo © Miss Maps/Anika Mikkelson

Dining Out in Yangon

From street food to upscale dining, Yangon’s food options are expanding as quickly as an eager tourist’s waistline. Chinatown’s 19th Street remains a staple for a night of cheap dining, with outdoor grills and plastic tables on the dimly-lit street growing crowded at sundown.

For western eats and treats, opportunities are endless. The ever-popular Rangoon Tea House, Green Gallery, and House of Memories remain staples in the Yangon Foodie diet.

Nawaday Street, just north of Yangon’s Central Railway, and Pearl Condo in Bahan Township, are home to a plethora of restaurants offering cuisines from around the world. Whether you’re craving Mexican, Indian or Italian, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for at a range of prices.

Chinatown at night. Photo credit: Anika Mikkelson,

Bars in Yangon

Watering holes around the city are more luxurious than ever, now offering glistening views of the skyline and the iconic Shwedagon Pagoda.

Penthouse, YangonYangon, Eclipse, and Atlas Bars keep the party going to the wee hours of the night. Dress in style, and don’t make plans for the day after a visit to one of these rooftop bars!

Get in Shape

With stifling weather year-round, exercising outdoors can be difficult. Beyond the traditional walk around Inle Lake, expats have begun throwing themselves into sports such as Stand-Up Paddle Boarding at the Yangon Sailing Club, and kick boxing (Lethwei) at Phoenix Boxing Gym and the YMCA.

The Yangon Hash House Harriers, dubbing themselves as “a drinking club with a running problem” meet every Saturday near the University of Yangon.

Additionally, yoga and Zumba studios popping up throughout the city allow men and women alike to enhance flexibility and muscle tone, in an inviting and exciting environment.

Take it Easy

Several clubs are available for expats, visitors, and locals to participate in, including the board game club, which meets on Saturdays, and a diverse improv group which gathers Sundays and performs regularly at 7th Joint Bar and Grill.

The French Institute is perhaps the city’s most influential social organization, and offers ranging from film nights to week-long festivals, invite widespread communities to join together in engaging celebrations.

Information regarding these, along with stand-up comedy open-mic nights, can easily be found on social media sites – clubs are eager to invite any and all who show an interest.

Kay Pyi Taw Cinemar, Yangon. Photo credit: Anika Mikkelson,

Tour the Town

Several new companies are popping up in an attempt to offer an insider’s view of Myanmar’s Cultural Capital. Unchartered Horizons arranges tours to the nearby town of Dala on bicycle, while Myanm/Art Gallery offers single-day gallery tours within the city in addition to their multi-day, multi-city tours.

Wired on 39 is an art gallery, which invites visitors into their studio and takes groups on photo tours through interesting streets in Yangon.

Young men playing football on the streets of Yangon. Photo credit: Anika Mikkelson,

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