This unusual day out, or a historical tour, is for those enthusiasms who want to seek unique experiences and cultural knowledge about Myanmar and its people. It’s so much to find out about Myanmar and museums are very important to pay a visit if you’re a fan. From the day since Burma kingdom has arrived in Pyu and Mon cities before Pagan (Bagan now), you can learn how Theravada Buddhism was found in ancient kingdoms, the rise of Taungoo dynasty or jump into the country’s politics and revolutions through Bogyoke Aungsan’s journey, or even the country’s precious gems and national races. Here is a list of museums in Yangon that you can complete as a one day itinerary.
Bogyoke Aung San Museum
His name can be seen all over the city, with roads, sports stadium and even a market named after the country’s independence hero – who also happens to be the father of the leader of the opposition, Aung San Suu Kyi. Previously only opened to the public on Martyrs’ Day (July 19), the museum is now open all year-round (except on Mondays), and is an excellent way place to visit to learn more about his influence on the country. Located close to the Motion Picture Museum.
Address: 15, Bogyoke Aung San Museum Street, Bahan Township
Tel: 01 541359
Hours: 9:30am ~ 4.30pm (closed on Mondays)
Entry: 200 Kyats
Drugs Elimination Museum
One of the more obscure museums you’re ever likely to go to in your life. Yangon’s Drugs Eradication Museum is a worthy visit for those looking for something a little bit different. The museum is located in a grand stately building, situated in enormous grounds, and was opened by the previous government to demonstrate how seriously they were addressing the drugs problems in the country. Highlights include a tableaux depicting the introduction of opium into the country, and a dark moody display room filled with emaciated and down-trodden mannequins highlighting the effects of drug abuse. There are a couple of surprises as well, so we won’t spoil them here, you’ll have to find out for yourself.
Address: Hanthawaddy Street (corner of Kyuntaw Street), Kamayut Township
Tel: 01 05260, 01 505261
Hours: 9am ~ 4pm (Closed on Mondays)
This is where Aung San and the eight other martyrs murdered alongside him were entombed. Until recently the Martyrs’ Mausoleum was only opened to the public on Martyrs’ Day (19th July) when thousands of locals would visit to pay their respects. The government made it open to the public in 2014 and today it represents a place of peace to pay respects and take time out from the city to relax.
Address: Ar Zar Ni Street (close to North Gate of Shwedagon Pagoda), Bahan Township
Hours: 9am ~ 4pm (closed Mondays)
Entry : 3,000 Kyats
Myanmar Gems Museum
Many visitors to Myanmar are attracted by the opportunity to buy and view gems and precious stones such as sapphires, rubies and jade. Although some of the country’s more elaborate gems have been moved to the gems museum in the capital Nay Pyi Taw, this museum in the north of the city does offer some gems (pun intended).
Address: 66 Kaba Aye Pagoda Road, Mayangone Township
Tel: 01 665092, 01 665115, 01 665870
Hours: 9:30am ~ 4:30pm (Tue – Sun) (closed Mondays)
National Museum of Myanmar
Housed in a particularly uninspiring building on Pyay Road, the National Museum moved to its current site in 1996, after stints on Shwedagon Pagoda Road and Pansodan Street. Don’t be put off by the exterior though, as the interior houses some great exhibitions and artefacts. The lower floors are more interesting, with some background into how the Myanmar language became what it is today, relics from the homes of Burma’s last kings and – the highlight – the Lion’s Throne. Sounding, and looking, very much like something from the Game of Thrones, this intricately designed seat was sat upon by Thibaw, the final king of Burma. The upper floors are a little less interesting, although one exhibition shows the variety of traditional dress of Myanmar’s many ethnic groups.
Address: 66/74 Pyay Road, Dagon Township
Tel: 01 371540, 01 378 652
Hours: 9:30am ~ 4:30pm (Tues – Sun)
National Races Village
The National Races Village was established to provide a unique opportunity to learn about the different traditions and cultures of the 135 ethnic groups that make up Myanmar. Examples of Chin, Mon, Rakhine, Shan, Bamar, Kayin, Kachin and Kayah villages are situated within the park and there are some small-scale versions of mountains and lakes from around the country. The village definitely falls under Yangon’s plethora of ‘quirky’ (rather than ‘good’) sites but it’s still a unique opportunity to learn a little more about the country.
Address: Shu Khin Thar Myo Pat Road, Thaketa Township
Tel: 01 378652, 01 547077, 09 7312 2742
Hours: 10am ~ 5pm
Not quite up there with LA’s Griffith Observatory, Yangon’s Planetarium is one of those Myanmar sites that are worth visiting more for the bizarre factor than much else. The planetarium’s staff seem a little shocked to see visitors and the announcer might be saying some interesting things – it’s just slightly difficult to understand anything through the muffled microphone.
Address: People’s Park Compound, Ahlone Road, Dagon Township
Tel: 09 4201 55087
Hours: 10am ~ 5pm (Tue – Sun) (closed Mondays)
Entry: 2,000 Kyats