These are the most popular areas in Yangon to live for expat workers. While there are actually 33 townships in total in Yangon, most expat workers live in the the areas listed below.
This area actually stretches across a number of different townships, but is the area from 1st Street beside Ahlone Township that stretches from the south-west of Yangon to the very south east where the street numbers reach 70th and more. This area in addition to the very south along the Yangon River by the port encompasses the townships of SeikKan, Lanmadaw, Latha, Pabedan, Kyauktada, Botataung and PazunDaung Townships. This downtown area is the business district and by far the most densely populated area in Yangon, but it is also the area with the most hotels, restaurants, bars and entertainment, whilst also being home to the Sule Pagoda.
To the middle-west of the downtown is China Town and to the middle-east there are an increasing number of Western and Asian style dining and bar establishments. There are very few serviced apartments available in this area, and the apartments that do exist tend to be local style housing that is smaller. The Sule Shangri La Hotel is the shining international landmark in the center of downtown across the road from the well-known Sakura Tower.
Is the township on the very west of the down-town. While traditionally quite an industrial area, there are increasing housing options on this side of town, and they provide very good access to the downtown area. In fact, the roads through Ahlone are often used as a bypass through to the city when Pyay and Kabar Aye Pagoda roads are busy. The Indonesian school and the Japanese school are also here, so it is a popular location for those nationalities, and there are also many embassies such as the Chinese, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Laos Embassies that are located closeby, but just into neighboring Dagon Township.
This is a very large township that stretches from the Park Royal Hotel and up to Myanmar’s most prized Shwe Dagon Pagoda, People’s Park / People’s Square backing on to Ahlone Township. The most popular area within Dagon is the Yaw Ming Gyi Quarter including the roads of Nawaday and Bo YarNyunt, which is a great place for apartment living, due to the lively streets and many restaurants.
From here it is just a hop, skip and jump to the Shangri La Hotel, Sakura Tower, FMI Center and the Bogyoke Aung San Market in the down-town, and there are a number of offices in the immediate area such as Prime Hill Business Square and La PyaeWun Plaza that are occupied by multi-national companies. With the Park Royal at its center this area is probably second only to Golden Valley in terms of its popularity with young and old childless expatriates.
Located just above Ahlone Township and to the west of Dagon, Sanchaung is a popular lower cost housing location with good access to both central Yangon and the downtown. This location sports a growing number of restaurants and bars and is also home to the Dagon Shopping Center.
This is one of Yangon’s most up-market areas, and includes the location of “Golden Valley” where some of the most affluent properties in Yangon are available. Many colonial style large homes surrounded by large gates are prominent in Golden Valley, in a calm, quiet, tree lined area, where monthly rentals reach $5,000- $10,000 or more. There are other options off Dhammazedi Road that offer more reasonable rental also. Bahan is probably one of the most convenient locations to live in Yangon due to its central location.
The Sakura Residence in Inya Road is a well-known serviced accommodation, and so is Golden Hill Towers off Kabar Aye Pagoda Rd. The downtown is 15- 25 mins away, there is good access to the north for Myanmar Plaza and Sedona Hotel, etc. and of course almost every time you look south from Bahan you can see the beautiful Shwe Dagon Pagoda.
Furthermore, Bahan has a good range of restaurants and bars particularly along ShweGonDaing Rd and surrounding the boutique Savoy Hotel on Inya Rd, but nothing beats Yangon’s top gourmet street along Sayasan Rd, below New University Rd. Sayasan boasts a range of delicacies from Italian, Pizza, Japanese, Chinese, Korean and even great tea shops and bakeries.
At the heart of Kamayut and close by to Hlaing is the Hledan intersection, Hledan Center shopping mall and Hledan market. This is a very popular lower cost housing area, not only for shopping, but also for its proximity to Inya Lake and Yangon University. A little further south west is the developing area around the Junction Square Shopping Mall, which looks like it will turn into one of the most modern places in Yangon with up-and-coming serviced apartments, offices and even more retail. Hledan is where the young in Yangon “hang out” and the intersection can become extremely congested during the day. Moving north up Insein Road into Hlaing Township there are a growing number of restaurants and shops to see.
Located to the north of Hlaing and stretching east across the top of Inya Lake, this township provides a good number of housing options for those who wish to live in the north with good access to 8 and 9 mile and the airport and to areas along Parami Road. There are some higher level properties available in the Min Dhama Rd area, and in general there things are more spacious, spread out and greener in this area. Due to its distance from the down town, prices tend to be more reasonable also. On the north side of Inya Lake there are several nice restaurants along or off Parami Road catering to tastes from Burmese food through to Thai and Italian / Pizza.
Yankin is another township with some good housing options, both apartments and stand-alone houses that are more reasonably priced than those in Golden Valley. Situated above Bahan Township along the east side of Inya Lake, south of Mayangone, properties close to Kabar Aye Pagoda Rd that are well elevated sport beautiful views of Inya Lake. There are now some wonderful restaurant options that also back onto the lake such as L’ Opera and L’Alchimiste that really are in beautiful settings.
The center of Yankin has traditionally been the Sedona Hotel, which has recently been a little silenced by the huge Myanmar Plaza development that contains shopping malls, office space and soon a new Mecure Hotel. Along Kabar Aye Pagoda road lies Mariner Residence and McCasa Residence, two very well established serviced accommodations. There is also good shopping available at Yankin Center and more good restaurants along New University Road, so this area is becoming more and more attractive to expatriates everyday.
Slightly east of Bahan Township and dropping down to KanDawGyi Lake and the landmark Chatrium Hotel, this is another lower cost township, but you need to be careful of your choice of location, as the traffic congestion here can be horrendous. Tamwe is home to the Thuwanna National Stadium, where the national Myanmar Soccer Team plays many of their games.Tamwe does have a couple of nice apartments with views of the KanDawGyi Lake.
This township boasts views of the KanDawGyi Lake from apartments with good elevation, such as The Shangri La Residences, which are currently Yangon’s top class serviced apartment facility. There have been a number of developments going on around the Shangri La Residences, so even if your budget doesn’t fit there, there are an increasing number of nice condominiums in this area. Further south in this township is where many of Myanmar’s Muslim population live. From this area the downtown is just walking distance, as would be the Park Royal Hotel and the restaurants in the Yaw Min Gyi Quarter.
This is almost a different planet to Yangon. The north western location across the Hlaing River is home to Pun Hlaing Golf Estate developed by one of Yangon’s most famous (and clean) tycoons, Serge Pun. Beautiful lush greenery and tree lined streets, water ways, rivers and ponds that back onto many of the stand-alone housing options in the huge compound, in differing sizes and designs and then of course there is the 18-hole international standard golf course, the best in Yangon. The complex also includes an international school and probably one of the two most advanced international hospitals in Yangon. The golf club house has a restaurant, as does the complex club house that also has a well-equipped gym, swimming pool and spa/massage facilities.
You can choose between serviced accommodations, condominiums and a variety of modern houses, and due to the distance to Yangon central, pricing is a little more reasonable for a very good product. Condos start at $3,500, serviced apartments around $4,500 and modernly built houses from $5,500 and up depending on size and furnishings. There are really only two things missing. One is a supermarket that is a simple 10 minute drive outside the complex, and the other is fast access to central or down-town Yangon. Despite a new bridge across the Hlaing River, you need to budget at least 1-hour to get to the downtown even in good traffic, which can of course mean 1.5 or 2 hours in bad traffic.However, this is really one of the only places in Yangon to truly get away from it all, relax and enjoy a spacious international-standard resort type complex.
This is another popular complex in the south east of Yangon, across the Bago River in Thanlin, a township on the way to the Thilawa Special Economic Zone; the biggest industrial park in the Yangon area. Star City is another development by Serge Pun Associates (SPA), financed by the YOMA Group, which is Serge Pun’s bank. While not as high end as Pun Hlaing Golf Estate, Star City is a lower cost complex that has everything except an international hospital and the great access to central and down town Yangon.
While not quite the lush environment provided by Pun Hlaing, Star City is the center of all the international communities sporting activities, and also has a 9-hole, well maintained golf course. Stand-alone houses have yet to be developed here but will come in later phases of the developing complex, but condominiums are available from $1,200 or so upwards, with serviced accommodations starting at around $2,500. Compared to other locations, this is a bargain to be had, and is one of the reasons Star City is so popular with families. In addition to a large pool, there are also 5-6 restaurants, a City Mart Supermarket and an international school all within the complex and walking distance.
Just beware that a trip to down-town could take 40- 50 minutes or more, and access to Bahan and the further west of the city can be troublesome, as you pass through congestion in Tamwe and other areas. However, Star City is the other place you can go to escape the rigors of populated Yangon City.