48 Hours In Yangon: Perfect Family Holiday Ideas For Kids and The Elderly
Contemplating Yangon holidays with the family, but wondering if the developing city can accommodate the needs of your multi-generational family? Hesitate no further.
“If you are looking for 5-star luxury resorts with kids’ clubs and Disney-themed activities, Myanmar may not be the place for you (yet),” writes a blogger for the child-friendly travel site Suitcases & Strollers. “If you are interested in discovering history, architecture, religion, and natural beauty with your kids by your side, then put Myanmar on your bucket list and prepare yourself to meet some of the friendliest and most caring people in the world.”
For the same reasons, visiting Myanmar can be equally fulfilling for elderly travellers, and an intergenerational trip could bring about treasured memories for everyone. Below is our Pan Pacific Yangon team's guide some essential Yangon travel tips for seeing the best of the city with your extended family.
First Family-Friendly Stop: Shwedagon Pagoda
When planning activities for an intergenerational trip, bear in mind that a less ambitious itinerary allows for flexibility and gives everyone space to enjoy the moment. Aim for two to three major activities in a day at most, and be mindful of the physical capabilities (or limitations) of your travel companions.
The star attraction of Yangon is the Shwedagon Pagoda, just five minutes away from Pan Pacific Yangon. It should be on the top of your list of must-see places in Yangon, if not the whole of Myanmar. As you will have to remove your footwear (including socks) to enter the pagoda, visiting closer to dawn or dusk will spare you and your family members the discomfort of hopping on sun-baked tiles.
Before you visit the pagoda, ensure that everyone adheres to the modest dress code—a sleeved top and knee-length bottoms at the minimum. If not, you will be asked to purchase or borrow a longyi (traditional sarong-style garment) at the entrance.
Off to an early start? Treat your extended family to a traditional Burmese breakfast of mohinga (fish noodle soup) at the New York Times-recommended Myaung Mya Daw Cho at Old Yay Tar Shay Street, which is a 15-minute walk from the pagoda. Open from 4:00 am, both the Shwedagon Pagoda and Myaung Mya Daw Cho are perfect for early risers.
If a family member is using a wheelchair, enter the pagoda by its southern entrance. The main platform of the pagoda and its information centres are wheelchair accessible.
Many visitors advise hiring a local guide while at the pagoda. However, those with mobility issues—as well as those with children in tow—may find it challenging to embark on a guided tour. The pagoda’s official web site is fairly informative, and you can read up about its history and architecture before your visit.
Post-visit, head to the Rangoon Teahouse, a 10-minute drive away—it was rated one of the best restaurants in Yangon by the Condé Nast Traveller.
If you plan to visit the Shwedagon Pagoda in the evening, begin your experience at the nearby Kandawgyi Lake (a 5-minute drive away) for the best sunset in Yangon, with the “glittering Shwedagon” reflected in the waters. In the area is a playground for kids, and a selection of lakeside cafes for the grown-ups. If the family is up for walking around Yangon, take a leisurely twilight stroll (25 minutes) to the Shwedagon Pagoda to see it ablaze in light.
Watch The World Go By At Botataung
There are two reasons to take your family to the Botataung Pagoda. First, it sees fewer tourists than the popular Shwedagon or Sule pagodas, making it easier for you and your loved ones to appreciate its spirituality. Second, your family—particularly the kids—will be fascinated by the building’s gilded maze-like interior. They will also love the terrapin pond in the pagoda’s southeastern corner.
“Our kids had great fun feeding turtles... buy a plate of goodies [to do so],” says one impressed visitor. “Outside the pagoda, towards the waterfront, is a gathering spot for hundreds of pigeons. Same procedure there: you buy a plate of bird food and your memory card in your camera gets warm on all the fun pictures you shoot.”
To prepare for your visit, read up on the pagoda’s origin story—it is believed to have once housed eight strands of Buddha’s hair, before they were distributed elsewhere. The original pagoda was destroyed in a World War II bomb raid, but at the end of the war, reconstruction workers were thought to have recovered its sacred relics, unharmed, in three cone-shaped caskets.
After admiring the Botataung Pagoda, take a short walk (2 minutes) to the Botataung Jetty for a picturesque view across the Yangon River, or treat your family to a sightseeing river cruise. Nearby is the Yangon Green Gallery, a family-friendly Thai restaurant. Reviews for the restaurant are glowing and the affable owner speaks English.
Feel The Buzz At The Bogyoke Aung San Market & Chinatown
One of the highlights of Yangon is the bustling Bogyoke Aung San Market, which typically opens at 10:30am on most days. (The market is closed on Mondays.) Look out for traditional toys that will spark your children’s imaginations and your parents’ sweet nostalgia. They include the papier-mâché doll known as “Pyit Taing Htaung,” a smiley-faced round-bottomed doll purportedly used to teach the virtue of resilience to Burmese children. Marionettes (string puppets) are also a common sight.
If your elderly family members are purchasing jewellery at the Bogyoke Market (or anywhere else in Yangon), they can have their gems appraised at the Asia Glory Gem Lab, which is located within the marketplace. It would also be prudent to read up about gem shopping in Myanmar prior to your trip, to avoid tourist scams.
To quell hunger pangs in a quieter environment, the nearby Nourish Cafe is a tourist favourite. The hipsterish eatery is meat- and dairy-free, plus you will find superfood ingredients such as quinoa and chia seeds on the menu.
In the evening, head to Yangon’s Chinatown (west of the Sule Pagoda) for more food and fanfare. Travel blogger Mike Wiens of Migrationology recommends visiting after 5:00pm, and centring your efforts around 19th Street if you love barbecued meats, or 20th Street if you want to sample other Chinese foods such as congee (rice porridge).
Experience The Comfort Of Home At The Pan Pacific Yangon
Need a restful and comfortable retreat for your loved ones after a busy day of travelling? Consider Pan Pacific Yangon.
Located in the heart of Yangon, Pan Pacific Yangon is within easy reach of the city’s top attractions. It is a luxurious and convenient place of rest during your Yangon holidays, and it offers a stunning view of the Shwedagon Pagoda.
You will be glad to know that our hotel complies with ADA guidelines, and service support animals are welcome. To ensure your safety and comfort, our hotel is equipped with the following facilities:
- Accessible guest rooms
- Accessible public areas and facilities, including meeting rooms and parking lots
- Audible alarms
- Bedroom and bathroom doors at least 32 inches (812 mm) wide
- Braille elevator
- Emergency call button on telephone
- Evacuation chair available to help evacuate a disabled person
- Grab bars in bathroom
- Level or ramp entrance into the building and to the lobby/reception area
- Lowered emergency evacuation instructions
- Roll-in shower
- Strobe alarms
- Visual alarms for the hard of hearing in hallways and public areas
Welcome to Yangon! Book your stay at Pan Pacific Yangon at least seven days in advance, and enjoy 25% savings on our best available rate. Or speak to our friendly team for more information.
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