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Steamy walking in Yangon

MYANMAR | Tuesday, 9 December 2014 | Views [401]

I missed being in Asia, having spent most of my recent travels on the other side of the ocean it was so nice to come back here. As soon as you land at the airport the humidity hits, the smells surround you and you find yourself in a completely different world.

 

Myanmar has long been on my places to visit list but due to the travel ban and general political issues I have not had a chance to go there until now.

 

I have started the journey in Yangon. It’s a busy, classically Asian city, chocker blocked with traffic, falling apart colonial buildings, delicious street food.

The unique addition to Yangon street is the spots of red spit everywhere (product of paan chewing) and the wonderful tea houses where you can hide from the heath and rest your feet for a bit.

 

With my travel buddy Michel we have spent the first day in Yangon walking… there is no reason to do it, taxis are everywhere and dirt cheap but we both agree that the best way to see the place is to walk it, get yourself integrated into the street life. Now, with 40 degrees and 80% humidity you may think its complete madness and opt out for more comfortable mode of transport…

And so we walked, for 11 hours, visiting the charming old colonial town, the ruins of ministry of information, the Sule Pagoda at the centre of the roundabout and of course the Shwedagon Pagoda with its enormous and impressive stupa. We also has walk around the Kandawgyi   which was a charming spot to see the sunset over the Shwedagon Pagoda.

On our way back to downtown we chanced upon the night street food market which was super cheap and the food was amazing! At the market we have also found the best travel resource for Mynamar – Kitty, 60 odd year old English teacher, former travel guide who over a cup of tea have drawn up for us the best ‘must visit’ map of the country. Pointing out the spots that we should really not bother with as well.

This is one of the many wonderful things about Burma, people will stop you on the street, but they sop to have a chat, to find out where you are from, what you do and to practise English, never to see you anything. This is one of the few places in the world still not spoilt by greed that the mass tourism brings (of course I am well aware that by the fact of many more people coming, including myself, I will be parting responsible for spoiling it too).

 

After  11 hours of walking we really were not in the mood to even consider discovering Yangon night life but in general it’s worth noting that such thing does not exist. Pretty much everything everywhere in the country closes t 10pm the latest. This is not a place to come if you are seeking a party…

 

We were staying at Motherland Inn 2, which at $30 a night for shared bathroom  was a bit steep but had added bonus of free airport pick up. The staff there are extremely friendly and can arrange all onward travel but they do work with only bus company so when the seats sell out you need to go to Aung sa  Stadium to secure the tickets which is what we needed to do, the good thing about it is that you will get a free pick up to the bus station which is about 8km outside the city… When people tell you that you need to leave 4 hours before you bus leaves to the station, DO IT, traffic in Yangon is the worst I have ever seen and it does take at the very least 2h to get to the bus station from the stadium, its longer if you leave from downtown…

 

2 days in Yangon was enough for us. It is charming and pleasant but a large bustling city and I just came from one, nature was what I was craving and so we headed to Inle Lake on a VIP overnight bus (well worth it  - $18, but 3 seats in row, lots of space and near flat reclining).

Tags: asia, burma, monks, myanmar, rangoon, yangon

 

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