Yangon Nightlife (Myanmar): A Bizarre Clubbing Experience

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The nightlife in Yangon, Myanmar was much more fun than what I was expecting!

The Burmese people are very social and they enjoy drinking booze, which makes Yangon nightlife a fun time.  The best local beer is called Myanmar Beer (an award-winning lager) and the most common liquor is Mandalay Rum (a delicious rum for just $3USD per bottle!)  I drank a lot when I was there because I could get pretty drunk for just $5USD.

Around town, there are several districts which have fun bars and clubs.  19th street around Chinatown is a fun area for bar hopping.  I like to start drinking at beer stations (the ones with the dim lights and there is a girl singing on stage).  It’s like a mini-model show, and you can hang out with the girls and they’ll bring you drinks for a small price.  I found it to be quite funny.

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But the real fun in Yangon is at the nightclubs!   I was looking to hear to some EDM and see Burmese models dancing on stages, and I found the area.  Many of the best clubs are in and around the Tein Gyi Zay Plaza.

This bizarre story that you are about to read happened at a club called Channel V. 

Over the last 3 years, I’ve been clubbing in upwards of 35 countries, and nothing compares to what happened at a club in Yangon, Burma. I mean holy shit – this was the most bizarre clubbing experience I’ve ever had.

It was a beautiful Tuesday evening in January, 2015.

I had only been in Myanmar for a few days and everything was going great.  I met this local Burmese guy, named Sai, and he was showing me around Yangon (the biggest city) everyday.  It was amazing to have a local experience of Yangon!

At my hostel, I met a bunch of British people, and Psi agreed to take us all out to his favorite club.  To be honest, I had absolutely no idea what to expect for Yangon nightlife, as I was still trying to wrap my head around the general culture of Myanmar.

We had a crew of about 10 people. It was me, my blogger friend Vanessa from Wander Onwards, 6 British lads, Sai and his other Burmese friend.

We went to dinner at a delicious local restaurant and we drank lots of Mandalay rum and coke. After a few too many drinks, we jumped in a taxi and headed for the club.

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What in about to tell you next is 100% accurate from my experiences. I just can’t make this shit up.

We pulled up into this sketchy little district with a few neon signs and distant clubs. Immediately after we stepped outside the taxi, we were approached by about 20 young men dressed in white button downs shirts, slacks and black ties. They were all trying to drag us into their respective club by pulling our arms.  I honestly felt like a celebrity with all the attention that we were getting.  (Keep in mind that Burma recently opened their doors to tourism, so they still aren’t used to seeing many white people.)

Pushing people out of my way while following Psi’s lead, we took an elevator to the 9th floor of this building.  Each person was required to pay $2USD  (2,000 kyats) to enter the club and we got a massive black stamp of the letter “D” on our forearm.

And everyone was required to give their fingerprints.

WTF?

Getting fingerprinted to enter a club was a first for me.  I was thinking “what the hell do they need my fingerprints for? What may have happened here in the past? Am I going to die?!”

Behind the entrance doors, I could hear fast paced Techno music. We were escorted inside by about 10 security guys who still wouldn’t leave our sides.  They were breathing on our necks the entire night.

Inside the club was a massive black room with a few lazers on the dance floor, which was surrounded by about 100 couches.  The club was held up by these massive pillars that were seen everywhere inside.  The music was so loud that I couldn’t talk to anyone and I couldn’t really think.  The club was decently crowded, especially for a Tuesday, with 90% of people on the dance floor. We were obviously the only foreigners inside.

I took this photo inside the club near the end of the night.

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The security guards, who were more like 22 year old kids dressed up in suits, took us to a private table in the back.

They immediately served us all free beers. So up to this point, I had only paid $2 for entrance and a free beer.

Then my Burmese friend ordered a bottle of whisky and the party was officially started!

The music was actually pretty good. The DJ was playing lots of solid techno and EDM songs, but the beats were twice as fast- almost like drum and bass style. We all danced for a while.

The security guards were staring me and my friends down the entire time and I felt really uncomfortable.  They were really strict and I could feel their presence everywhere I went.  It kind of pissed me off.  When I tried to take photos with my phone, and they wouldn’t let me.  I’ve never not been allowed to take photos in a club before.

This was the only decent photo that I got from the night with my friend Vanessa.  We were in the back of the club at our table.

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Okay, now onto the most bizarre experience of the night.  It was in the bathroom.

As I was standing at the urinal to pee, some Burmese dude (who was working inside the bathroom) starting giving me a back and neck massage.  It took me about 4 minutes to start peeing because it felt so awkward.  Then, the guy asked me for a tip when I was finished, but I was so off-struck and disgusted that I just darted out the door.

Apparently this is the standard at clubs in Myanmar- to get a massage while peeing at clubs.

Eventually we left the club around 1AM after we felt sketched out and headed to another club, where I experienced much of the same thing.

It was an absolutely insane night that I’ll never forget!

Where to Stay in Yangon?

From cheap hostels to luxury condos, Yangon has a large variety of places to stay that will satisfy your budget needs.  For a comprehensive list of hotels in Yangon, check out TripAdvisor and book your stay today!

1) For budget travelers – 20th Street Hostel (Book online now)
*rates – $9/night for an 8 bed dorm

2) For mid-price – Taw Win Garden Hotel (Book online now)
*rates – $81/night for a deluxe room with breakfast

3) For luxury – Shangri-la (Book online now)
*rates – $219/night for a deluxe room with breakfast

Thanks for reading! If you have any more questions about the nightlife in Yangon, or anything related to travel in Myanmar, then please contact me! I’m happy to help you out 🙂

48 thoughts on “Yangon Nightlife (Myanmar): A Bizarre Clubbing Experience

  1. Hi Drew, I will be in Myanmar for 11 days,Man-bagan-inle-yangon- (2.5-3-3-1) so Im wondering the time for inle and yangon,Is it ok if i spend 3 days 2nights in inle and 1 day 1 night for yangon or 2 days for each..
    Could u give me advise coz i saw some said that nothing to do in inle>> 2 days is ok,and others said that nothing in yangon but pagoda..Thanks a lot
    Hey,anyone else travel to Myanmar from 27.8-6.9could join me cox i will be there alone and want to have companions.Thanks

  2. I’m in Yangon for a week on business week commencing 08.08.16, loved your blog, fancy meeting up for a beer and showing me around a bit, on me obviously ?

  3. We are a couple in our late forties and traveling to Cambodia , Laos and Myanmar in April for 6 weeks. We love Thailand and Bali and enjoy a good night life and snorkeling but not into trekking. Can anyone give us some suggestions where to go in these countries and where to stay where there are good bars and night life

    1. Siem Reap, Cambodia — pub street is nice for nightlife
      Bangkok, Thailand — Soi 11 is a good nightlife area
      Luang Prabang, Laos — has some fun bars

      Enjoy!

  4. You guys missed all the fun
    Those clubs are full of hookers. I mean every girl in there
    And they wll stay the night they only go short time so they can get back in time for a second or third customer haha

  5. Hey,
    Myself and 3 other buddies will arrive in Yangon March 2nd, and are looking for a couple fun nights out before heading North. Anyway you could link me up with that Sai dude?

    Cheer. Keep up the wicked blogging man.

    1. Hey there nice Information about Myanmar and I have plan to be there In first week of march but I need some one to be with me pls reply

  6. Hello people! So I am heading to Yangon this Thursday 4th February and will probably be there for about 1 week, 10 days .. Funny story drew, but I’m hoping there is going to be some legit partying in Yangon . Am real into underground music and real keen to meet and hang out with anyone that’s based there, knows the place well and likes to have a bit of a laugh! Cheers , Charlie

    1. Hey, I’ll arrive there Feb 7. I’m a Burmese American. Where are you from? How many of you will be coming? We can hang out if you want.

  7. I’m Burmese and have lived here most my life. Where you went is a straight up area for hookers. Those men trying to get you in are common in SEA around areas with prostitutes. They didn’t want pics cause the club was probably packed with hos (illegal).

    1. thanks for your comments can you advise where a good place to stay in yangon for nightlife . i want to explore the bars and clubs up there thanks

  8. Good description but you built up that whole story…and the climax was a back rub while you were peeing into a urinal? That is the most insane thing that happened to you after all your clubbing? Come on bro…you must have much better stories than that…FYI I’ve been to Myanmari clubs and haha yaaa i tell them piss if they try to massage me : )

      1. thanks for sharing bro…read through the other stuff you mentioned…seems like you really put yourself out there with no pre-judgements or biases…keep up the awesomeness.. : )

  9. Hi hi..
    Im about go to Myanmar on january 2016 so i keep search alot of information about all of this and that..reading ur experience here is wowed me, its awkward for a moment but after that yea this is life we cannot choose..hehehehhe have a great day. I hope u come to Indonesia one day..

    Regards
    Dini

      1. HI!
        I will be finishing a tour then staying in yangon extra from 30th dec to 2nd jan and am looking for ppl to catch up with for mainly news years. I am aussie 🙂

      1. Hi Drew and Sai,
        I’m wondering how it would be for the girls? I will be in Myanmar this December with my friends and would love to have those experiences.

  10. I agree with vagabond bacon in that in SE Asia this is not that unusual. For the first timer it can be a bit startling. I would venture to guess that the stalking security guards were actually very attentive waiters. Were they on all 4 corners of your table all the time and was there a 5th that seemed to be hovering in charge? Was your drink ever empty or did you ever get close to lighting your own cigarette? Fun stuff!

  11. Hi Drew,

    Enjoyed reading your post about partying in Burma, I’m heading there in Dec and Jan for the first time and am looking forward to experiencing the dodgy/unique nightlife

  12. Absolutely hilarious! Yangon was my last stop since I started in Mandalay but like you, it was also my favorite country. I’ll give this a shot next time.
    My guess is that they are trying to portray a non sexy image to the outside world, so they don’t want pics leaking out.

  13. This is standard all over SE Asia, (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam) Sometimes they put a hot towel on your neck before massaging. It usually happens in the less touristy parts. But one thing is for sure, the first time it happened to me I had the same reaction. Just be polite, it’s there custom and you are in their country. Happy Travels!!

    1. Hmm interesting, I went clubbing all over SE Asia and this was the first time that I experienced this. But thanks for sharing !

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