When you travel, what do you bring back with you? Souvenirs, stories to tell your friends, a drop-dead gorgeous Instagram feed, perhaps. Have you ever thought about what you leave behind? Every traveller has an impact on the places they visit. Here’s how to make sure your “footprints” in Yangon have a positive effect on the community.
iDiscover City Walks is a series of savvy Apps and handy maps that offer authentic travel experiences in historic Asian cities. Download the iYangon App, choose from a variety of walking routes developed by locals who share you passion for adventure, and you’re off!
A throwback to another time time at Thein Gyi Market
Each walk comes with a curated list of cool things to do along the way, complete with hidden, beautiful stories and secrets, handpicked by the discoverers and the friendly folks at Hla Day, the much loved craft store on Pansodan. While you walk, you’re also preserving Yangon’s authenticity by supporting traditional businesses, the backbone of the local community.
Trust us, these pathways through the city will even take locals by surprise. Here’s how our first adventure went.
App in hand, we hit the streets. In the downtown area we were charmed by old grandeur, crumbling facades of old banks and mansions that hark back to the era of old Rangoon. Nice finds were Anya Ahta, an authentic eatery run by local artist Aung Soe Min of Pansodan Galleries, serving food from middle Myanmar; and Bagan Books, an old-fashioned bookshop with a fascinating collection of Myanmar tomes.
A Chinese teashop in the Indian Quarter.
But the real highlights were in Yangon’s lesser known Chinatown and Indian Quarter.
In Chinatown we started with snacks at Bao Zi King, a popular hangout serving milk tea and savory pork buns. Then, meandering through quiet alleyways, peering into old clan houses and colorful temples, our walk came to an end at the jetty, Yangon’s vibrant riverside promenade.
Yangon’s riverside jetty.
In the Indian Quarter we became part of Myanmar’s multicultural heritage. We popped into 555 Guitar shop to check out some locally made guitars and get serenaded for a moment or two. We also found a Jain temple, mosque and synagogue all located on one street. We took in the scenery while sipping hot tea at Nam Sham Tea House, followed by a snack of samosas from a street vendor. And, of course, we couldn’t end our journey without a taste of Mi Mi Lay’s homemade ice cream. Hey, you burn a lot of calories while walking!
What we discovered is that, with this travel App, you won’t just find out where to eat, you’ll also find out the secret ingredient in the traditional recipe.
Food from Middle Burma at Anya Ahta.
Don’t be afraid to wander and get lost. The App makes it easy to find your way again. And anyway, isn’t losing yourself what traveling is all about?
iYangon’s maps are also available in hard copy form, each colourful and unique piece designed by a local artist. Pick up a free map at Hla Day, Gekko, Union Bar or Tin Tin. More distribution points will be announced in the coming months.
Download the iYangon App and get walking!
Download iYangon for free on iOS and Android and start exploring with one complimentary walk. Each additional walk is just USD1.99, with all proceeds going back to Hla Day, a local social enterprise that co-created the walking routes.