Since 2020 has already started, let’s review what has happened in 2019 in Yangon and beyond. According to the records by the World Bank, it’s been a tough year for Myanmar and the country’s economy performed even worse than in 2018. Although many iconic bars and restaurants have closed down – some have survived – but they’re also new places that opened up in 2019. With the Secretariat opening its doors to the public, more and more landmarks and historical buildings have followed the saga. This is our list of important updates in Yangon. Please share yours too!
Food & Drink
Union Bar, a memorable signature of 57Below closed down and Port Autonomy made its comeback at the same location. Then at the end of 2019, it also closed down to look for an outdoor space as fans requested, so Parami Pizza will instead take over this location.
The Pansodan introduces the vibe of Old Burma where you can enjoy Burmese food with contemporary European style.
The team behind Rangoon Tea House launched another great concept with Namsu, a traditional Shan restaurant. It will definitely help your cravings for homemade Shan food with its fresh and delish Shan recipes together with a wide choice of cocktails.
Heaven Bistro serves its excellent taste within a cozy two storey building, a good place for a family dinner and a secret hide out.
Spruce Pansodan offers varieties and specially selected beverages which includes Japanese whiskey, wines from both West and East.
The Myst Bar & Lounge is another big scene for Yangon nightlife. With bright flavor cocktails and a long list of food items it could be your next favorite one. Plus they have live dj music every week.
Locale Café made another appearance at Central Boulevard, with its greenery aesthetic and western-eastern fusion of healthy organic dishes plus a small floral shop which turns it into an Instagram worthy spot.
Beauty In the Pot, a franchised restaurant from Singaporean has opened its second branch at Pyidaungsu Yeiktha Road in September.
50th Street Bar has been a place for sport lovers amid Yangonites for two decades. A dramatic closing of this waterhole in September fortunately resulted in a reopening under new management shortly after.
Harry’s Bar introduced its third branch at Royal Sportainment Complex in August. Not to mention its consistency in food and service, the third Harry’s is always a full house since the opening.
RedDot Brewhouse made its first appearance at Sayar San Road in January. Then opened its second branch at Kantharyar shopping mall in August, providing chilling vibes and great beer with the view of Kandawgyi lake.
Sushi Tei opened its second outlet on Pyay Road, corner of Yoma Yeikthar Street beside Vantage Tower, Kamayut Township.
The Brunch Society reopened at Pyidaungsu Yeiktha Road in May after settling at Sule Plaza for over 3 years. With its unchanging taste and beautiful decorations, itwas welcomed again by its brunch lovers.
As its third branch in Yangon, Sharky’s Myanmar opened a new outlet at La Pyae Wun Plaza in December.
Shwe Taung Group’s Junction Square Mall has revamped with a new Food Square in January 2019 with more food, more lifestyle.
Situated at the corner of Kabar Aye Road and Kanbe Road, The Central Boulevard is a new spot where some of the most luxurious shops can be found facing its front to Inya lake.
Kantharyar Shopping Mall was introduced in July, offering varieties of clothing shops, restaurants, playground plus JCGV cinema.
2019 is a year for Myanmar’s cinema uprising. Both Myanmar’s leading multiplex cinema exhibitors – JCGV & Mingala Cinemas – have expanded their services into Premium and Gold Class experiences which include online ticketing and payments.
Landmarks and tourism
The Secretariat, Yangon’s iconic colonial building, has finally opened its doors for visitors in October to explore the historic place with Victorian-style architecture. Along with daily guided tours, museums and art exhibit spaces, coffee shops and office spaces, The Secretariat introduced modernized features inside the historical landmark.
The Tourist Burma Building returned to the screen in September after 2 years of renovation. After its opening, it hosted events such as textiles display, jewelry crafting, lacquerware demonstrations and many more for about two weeks.
Times City complex was introduced to the public with its shopping malls, jewelry malls, office spaces and serviced apartments in November. Located at the busy and crowded Kyun Taw Road, Times City is another luxurious spot for locals and tourists to explore and its sister hotel, Hilton Yangon is known to open in 2022.
One of the most successful hotel chains in the world, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts under Marriott International, will open its first hotel in Yangon in June 2020. Situated on U Tun Myat Road near the famous Kandawgyi lake, this 5-star hotel will bring the best and luxurious experiences for the guests.
Zealax Hotel and Residence by Eskala, a five-star property, was opened on 1 January 2020.
Rosewood Yangon, housed in a heritage building, just made its debut in November. This elegant hotel is located at the junction of Strand Road and Sule Pagoda Road, offering exquisite facilities and ultra-luxury services to the customers.
Bagan, Myanmar was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2019 by the UN at the Azerbaijani capital Baku, nearly 3 decades after the complex of Buddhist temples was first nominated for listing by officials. Bagan was first nominated as a World Heritage Site in 1995 but plans were later scrapped due to issues with the government.
Once again, the MYANMORE Awards 2019 celebrated its annual event at Novotel Yangon Max on 6th March along with Myanmar’s top chefs, restaurateurs, business entrepreneurs, musicians, media and more attendees. Winners are Balloons Over Bagan, Novotel Yangon Max, May Myat Mon Win, Jean Marc Lemmery, Lal Mon Puia, Savoy Hotel Yangon, Nikki Baltrop, The Bar BurDubai Inya Rd, Win Star, Myat Phoo Wai, Burma Bistro, Mu Ai Kachin Food, Bodhi Nava, The Penthouse, ORNG Kitchen and Sofitel Inle Lake Myat Min.
Myanmar Car of the Year Awards
In November, MCOTY, also known as Myanmar Car of the Year Awards, was held at Junction Square compound with various brands from the motor industry being participated in this series of annual awards event. Winners are Chevrolet Malibu, Hyundai Tucson, KIA Sorento, Nissan Terra, Mitsubishi Xpandar, GAC GA4, KIA Picanto, Ford Ecosport, Mazda CX9, Range Rover Velar, Toyota Majesty, Ford Ranger Raptor, Borgward BX5, Toyota Camry and as Brand of The Year, goes to Toyota.
Myanmar Motion Picture Academy Awards
The 2019 Myanmar Motion Picture Academy Award Ceremony was held on March 23 at The One Entertainment Park. Many celebs have attended this annual event and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was given a speech about the film industry in Myanmar. Winners are Sithu Daw Myint Myint Khin, Shwe Kyar, Aww Yatha, Wyne (Own Creator), Thu Htoo San, Phway Phway, Kyaw Kyaw Bo, Aye Myat Thu, Win Lwin Htet, Shalon-M-Rawnan, Ko Aye and Kyaw Khaing Soe.
Myanmar Responsible Tourism Awards
The 3rd Myanmar Responsible Tourism Awards was held to identify and celebrate Myanmar’s most forward-thinking and innovative tourism businesses at PARKROYAL Yangon on 6 December. Winners are Excelsior Yangon, Sa Ba Street Food Tours Yangon, Laguna Lodge Eco Resort Ngapali, Green Season Travel, Babylon Trekking and Camping, Thant Myanmar, Sampan Travel, The Hotel – Kalaw Hill Lodge and Thingaha Hotel Naypyidaw.
Myanmar International Fashion Week
The 7th Myanmar International Fashion Week took place at The Central Boulevard Yangon from 20-22 December. The event was organised by John Lwin, the founder of Stars & Models Int’l Yangon and it has showcased the agency’s homegrown models and high fashion with an array of entertainment programmes by acclaimed performers.