Outdoor activities that you can enjoy in the Yangon area range from bird-watching to golf to traditional sports. Swimming is also possible here at hotel swimming pools as well as at area beaches. As the weather is warm throughout the year, enjoying your favourite is feasible at any time of year.
Myanmar is home to many species of rare and endangered birds. One of the best places to visit if you’re interested in bird-watching is the Hlawga National Park, located 22 miles from Yangon. There’s a lake here where you can enjoy a boat ride, and a mini-zoo.
The Myanmar national game is known as chinglone, and is played everywhere. The object is to keep a small cane ball from hitting the ground for as long as you can, using only your only feet and knees. Two teams of six players play. The game is similar to ‘takraw’ which is played in Thailand.
Another traditional sport is known as gonnyin. In this game, participants throw fruit stones (pips) in an attempt to knock a target off a tall pole. This is played in Yangon, but is even more popular at countryside festivals, where contestants climb a greased bamboo pole to retrieve a prize attached to the top of the pole.
One of the courses of choice in Yangon is the City Golf Club, also known as YCDC. Alternatively, you can check out the greens at Yangon Golf Club. All courses in the country have a link to the Myanmar military, so players are mostly members of the armed forces and visiting businessmen, particularly from Japan, Singapore and Thailand. Equipment is available for hire at all courses, and visiting golfers will find the green fees quite reasonable compared to those in neighbouring countries.
The horseracing track at Kyaikasan in Yangon doesn’t see much action, but it is a place where you can hire a horse and take a riding lesson or go for a ride around the grounds independently. Riding is also offered at Yangon’s Myayeiknyo Hotel. Ask your hotel for further details.
Burmese-style kick-boxing is popular throughout the country, and visitors can enjoy watching the sport or having lessons. The YMCA in Yangon offers a series of lessons to get you started, as does the Institute of Myanmar Traditional Advanced Boxing. The Institute’s programmes are held on Saturdays at Yangon University.
You’ll find three swimming pools in Yangon that are open to the public which charging a small entry fee. Kandawgyi Swimming Pool is located on Lake road; Kokkin Swimming Club is found at Sayasan Lan; and the National Swimming Pool is located on U Wisara Lan. There are beaches available as well, requiring a drive to the coast. Kanthaya Beach is located on the Rakhine coast; Maung-ma-gan Beach on the Taninthayi coast; and Chaung-tha Beach is situated west of Pathein.
Yangon’s Hash House Harriers organise a run every Saturday afternoon. The starting point is the Sailing Club at Inya Lake, with the combination walk and run weaving through the streets of the city. As the run lasts for only about 45 minutes, you’ll see lots of children tagging along. Another group sponsors a similar event, departing from the Traders Hotel and continuing on to the city’s zoo and surrounding areas.
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