Being a first-time visitor in Myanmar, I opted to kick-start my trip with a city tour in order to get my bearings and to immerse myself with a little bit of knowledge, information and experience before exploring this city for the 3 days. I checked Klook’s website to see if there were any affordable tours for this budget trip, and lo and behold, the Yangon Walking Tour fits the bill perfectly.
The email confirmation from the tour company themselves (Beyond Boundaries Myanmar) stated to meet at 9:00 am at the entrance of the Mahabandula Park, opposite of the City Hall, and to look out for their guide who will be wearing a light green T-shirt.
And true to their word, our guide was already there waiting for our group when we got there about 10 minutes before 9.00am.
Surprisingly, we were informed that we were the only participants of the tour today. Glad that they didn’t cancel the tour despite it being suddenly turned into a private tour instead.
Do note that as to not destroy the overall tour experience for everyone, I will only be mainly listing the places that the tour has brought us.
Do also note that as we were rather quick with our walking speed and our interest in the buildings around was quite high, the guide might have brought us to more attractions than promised in the stated Klook itinerary for the Join In Half Day Tour. As such, take this attractions list with a pinch of salt.
The tour started with a bit of Yangon’s history as well as the significance of Sule Pagoda.
Next up, Yangon City Hall.
The tour guide also had a book of old pictures which she used to describe the history and events.
Next, the tour moves on to Mahabandoola Park.
The Independence Monument stands in the middle of Mahabandoola Park.
Pretty interesting fact about all these grass that we are standing on, but I’ll leave you to join the tour to understand more about it.
The view from the middle of the park is pretty amazing, looks just like the UK except that it’s about 4 times hotter.
The foundation stone of the Independence Monument at Mahabandoola Park.
Next, the Yangon Region Court.
The tour next went past the Immanuel Baptist Church, but as it was a Sunday, we were not able to enter the church as there was a service going on.
Next, the Kyauktada Post Office.
Despite the classic interior, the Kyauktada Post Office is still a regular functioning post office.
Some old equipment used during the war on display.
The telegram codes of Myanmar.
The evolution of Myanmar’s stamps.
Walking past the Telegraph Office.
The main facade of Yangon Region Court.
Contrary to the country’s past with regards to education and communication, there are currently many stores along the street selling second-hand books in Burmese and English at nominal prices of 500 Kyats per book, though some nicely-displayed ones go for more. According to the guide, this is quite cheap for locals too.
The very British-looking Revenue Department.
Heading into an art gallery to check out the floor tiles.
The stairs up to the gallery, while old, is of excellent quality made of solid teak wood.
The tiles are of a pretty unique pattern. There was also an exhibition during the weekend, so that was an added bonus.
While exiting through the other side of the building, we walk past a disused elevator.
More second-hand books on sale along the streets.
The State Lottery Directoriate under the Internal Revenue Department. Wonder if I will ever have the chance to walk inside to collect some winnings, hmm.
The office of the Myanmar Times.
Visiting St. Mary Cathedral.
The Gothic Revival style of the Cathedral makes it look as if I’m back in the UK.
There’s some nice stained glass as well.
Walking past Basic Education High School No. 6 Botataung, which in the British colonial days was known as St. Paul’s English High School, the top school of choice for the elite.
Passing by the Secretariat Office.
Unfortunately, the Secretariat Office was under renovation, so we could only take a look at it from outside.
Passing by the modern “Bank Street” along Maha Bandula Road, not to be confused with the one later on in the tour.
Walking past Ga Mone Pwint.
Walking past the Central Post Office on Strand Road.
Crossing the short-lived Yangon Hiroshima Streetcar line to the waterfront.
Making a brief stop at the Yangon Water Bus Nan Thi Da Terminal to have a view of the Yangon River. The Yangon Water Bus operates infrequent services of around 4 times a day.
This spot is one of the few breezy places in Yangon.
The Myanma Port Authority building, located across the port.
Crossing the overhead bridge across Strand Road.
Looking at Myanmar National Airlines building and The Strand Hotel, the Myanmar equivalent of Raffles Hotel.
The main entrance of Myanma Port Authority building.
Walking down Bank Street where banks formerly dotted this street. Today, they are at Maha Bandula Road as mentioned above.
The Myanma Economic Bank across Bank Street.
The tour concluded at the Yangon Stock Exchange building.
From here, modern Yangon hits you again, and it’s just a short walk back to the original starting point of Sule Pagoda.
Overall, the Yangon Walking Tour was a great start to understanding Yangon and Myanmar. Our guide spoke excellent English and was very clear in bringing out all the points across, describing each attraction in detail, including the history of it and even old photos as a comparison to today’s sights for us to visualise history. The 3-hour tour covered the eastern part of downtown Yangon where distinct remnants of British India are. It gets hot in Yangon, so you may want to stock up on drinks and prepare an umbrella before embarking on this tour. At only USD10 per person, this might be the best value tour of Yangon around.