Earlier, before joining ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) was an isolated country. But after the Sea Games in 2013, finally SIM cards were available to be purchased by foreigners only. And ATMs could be found in this country too. I could see them as signs that this country had begun to open its doors to the world. But still, I avoided to withdraw cash from ATMs because I’ve heard they love to eat customers’ cards☻
First Trip in 2014
People say “Start the new year with positive things.”
O’rite! This is it.
After having such a very long December with a great holiday mood drama, because for the last several months I did nothing but being a dilligent employee without taking any break for traveling at all, I started this amazing trip with a friend in the early morning of 2014’s first day.
Tiger Airways took us to Changi for 3-hour transit, but too bad we missed the connecting flight to Yangon because of a silly reason, shopping! Fortunately, we could still fly to Yangon with Jetstar’s 17:20 flight with about Idr 1,3mio that’s supposed to be used for buying more stuffs in Myanmar but yeah things happened for good reasons, I thought *I wish, exactly*.
By the way, happy new year!
Where Did We Stay In Yangon?
We reached Yangon International Airport at around 7 pm and hurridly changed our first US$ 100 with Kyat 98,000 at a money changer booth near the arrival terminal. We thought we could get much better rate in the city, but finally we found out that the rate in the city had no much difference, so there’s no big deal to change big USD amount at the airport.
We stayed for a night at Chan Myae Guesthouse that I booked by phone 2 weeks before the trip. I tried googling to find the email address but found 0, and was glad to make reservation by phone because they offered their last available room for us even it’s on the 8th floor with no elevator. I got USD 26 for a twin bedroom with shared bathroom. But the shared bathrooms were very clean as told on Tripadvisor, so don’t worry about that.
Actually I tried to make reservations with Motherland Inn and Ocean Pearl Inn, but gladly they were fully-booked and we had to stay at Chan Myae Guesthouse with great and helpful staffs. The taxi fare from airport to Chan Myae Guesthouse was Kyat 9,000 and the area is in walking-distance to Sule Pagoda and Bogyoke Aung San Market.
Chan Myae Guesthouse’s 8th Floor
4 Attractions That Must Not Get Neglected While You Are In Yangon
- After we checked in, we tried to get some meals on the street on the way to Sule Pagoda. We bought some fried seafoods for dinner. We found Sule Pagoda still had visitors that night for praying, and we decided not to stay too long to have some rest in order to wake up in fresh condition in the morning.
- The next day we had great time at Shwedagon Pagoda *that surprisingly had wifi* and stayed for more than 3 hours just for taking photos and staring at the crowd. In the morning the temple was already crowded with people that came to pray and tourists that only wanted to capture moments like us, aside from staring at other people that never grew tired to have pictures with unlimited poses.
- I got hypnotised by the serene Kandawgyi Lake. This beautiful lake is surrounded by the trees and walking trails, decorated with high buildings and empty streets. We got there by taxi.
- “Don’t ever try to skip shopping session at Bogyoke Aung San Market“, I said to myself. This traditional market is a popular shopping paradise to those who love ethnic stuffs and jade stone. In China, jade is believed as connector of heaven and hell, and Myanmar jade was already traded to China since year 1770. So while in Burma, make sure to buy the stone because I found it much cheaper compared to buying it in Taiwan or China. I got myself a woven yarn-dyed top and some blankets with unique patterns, and also bought several souvenirs with a bit high prices compared to Vietnam or Bangkok. USD 2 for a keychain! But I got some jade bracelets and amulets with good prices too, that had made them even.
Sule Pagoda at night
And for the second night we slept on the express bus in order to save time because we needed about 10 hours to reach Bagan by bus.
Upcoming post: Bagan and its thousand temples..