With the price of RM125 for an airline return ticket, we are finally in the Golden Land! Yes, it’s Myanmar. We were there for a 5 days journey covering Yangon, Bagan and Inle Lake during the cold and dry season that lies in the month of November till February. We basically didn’t do any much preparation for this Myanmar trip as we were so hooked up with our daily routine and commitment. As what FF told me earlier, ‘Keep Calm and Just Go with The Flow!’. We only managed to get everything in place just a day before we depart to Myanmar except the booking for the sleepers train, bus and the visa. We were made to understand that the sleepers train are limited as there is only one coach provided per journey. Hence, reservation shall be made earlier to secure your seats.
We took the first flight in the morning to Yangon and it came to our surprise to know that another travel blogger was in the same flight. Presenting, Jea Mohamed. She was walking down the aisle when I spotted her appearance. And it became more epic when she was sitting just next to us! And the rest is all history! The main topic of our chat is definitely our travel plan in Myanmar where we eventually shared some informations on the places that we’re going to hit later of the day.
With 2 hours and 30 minutes, we finally reach Yangon, the capital city of Myanmar, a country that recently opened their doors to tourism which are now changing rapidly. If we are talking about the time different, it’s 1 hour and 30 minutes from back home, Malaysia.
The first reality check of Myanmar that you should know is the money exchange in Yangon. The currency in Myanmar is Kyat (pronounced as Chet) and US Dollars are frequently accepted too. Kyat can only be obtained in Myanmar and in order to exchange to this, only a crisp and clean dollars are accepted here with no further excuses. The best places to exchange are at the airport or the banks as they offer the best rates and NOT the black market (on the street)! Just keep in mind that you might want to exchange your Kyat into USD before you leave the country as you won’t be able to change it elsewhere.
Once we were done with all the money exchange, we then walked towards the departure hall to meet up with Win Aung’s staff to collect our train and bus tickets that we’ve booked earlier. Oh ya, that’s a common sight that you can see here in Myanmar, men wearing white long sleeve shirt with Nehru collar and longyi (a traditional Burmese sarong)
While I was busy talking and checking the tickets, FF’s started to haggle with all the taxi drivers that approached us. They started to charge us with the price of USD 15 and we managed to bargain to USD 8 (as what written in the internet) with drivers who can speaks Malay. Lucky us! It’s very reasonable as there’s 3 of us (together with Jea). A taxi from the airport to the city centre should be no more than USD 10 with a 45 minutes ride. You might want to share your taxi with others, so you can split out the charges.
It’s time to hit the road!
Our first destination of the day is Bogyoke Aung San Market or also known as Scott Market. Reason why? We gonna be back in Yangon on our last day in Myanmar which falls on Monday and market are closed on that day. Therefore, it’s the best time to get hold of the stuffs here at the market on the day of the arrival. Bogyoke Market are the major bazaar located right in the central of Yangon.
This market is definitely a major tourist attraction dominated with a large varieties of antique, local handicrafts, jewellery shops, art galleries, clothing and many others. Right in the middle of the market are jewellers, selling famous Burmese jade, Burmese rubies and other precious stones. Once you steps into the market, you will be approach by local offering ‘chauffeur’ kind of services where they will show you the best shop with the best price in the market. Of course they will get something in return by the shop owner. But, just say NO politely and they will walk away nicely as they can be a little bit harsh.
With an empty stomach and heavy backpack on our back, we decided to hunt for a Halal restaurant at Anawrahta Road with just an assumption made using the map. The best part is that we got a chance to see and explore the colours of Yangon while passing by the streets. The welcome smiles and looks. Everything was so priceless! Local are incredibly gracious too!
Just be reminded that even though Myanmar has a Buddhist majority, it is easy to find Halal food here in Yangon and Mandalay (correct us if we’re wrong). The Muslim minority in Myanmar mostly dominated by the Rohingya people and Muslim immigrants especially from India, China and Arab settlers. You will get to see mosque scattered everywhere within Anawrahta Road too. We finally found 2 shops at the street which are Nilar Biryani and also Innwa. We finally settled down with Innwa Cold Drinks & Confectionary as they offered wide selection of foods which includes cakes and bread.
Once we’re fully re energize, we then continue with our journey. We were told that it’s possible to walk to Yangon Central Railway Station. The dry and cold season doesn’t make any good to us as we were sweating all the way. And just to find out that we’ve actually walked more than a kilometres with heavy stuff on our back. What a day! We decided not to stop and sit as we saw a lots of betel nuts spittle on the road and at every single corners too. Chewing a betel nuts is one of the local’s addiction here in Myanmar.
Yangon Central Railway Station
Since we’re still early, we decided to explore the surrounding area while Jea’s decided to get on a circular train at 1.15pm which took her 3 hours for the whole ride. She will later continue her journey to Mandalay with a night bus. We just have to pass that as our train to Bagan are scheduled at 4pm. We then bid farewell to Jea and wish her a safe journey on her first solo trip ever. Such an amazing young lady!
Local fruit desserts
The famous, Aung San Suu Kyi on news. The stories never ends.
Another view of the railway station
The old school train schedule in local alphabets
Electronic board with English translates
Just to kill the time, we had a chit chat with the lady at the Tourist Information Centre asking for more informations on certain places with some language barriers since they only speaks very limited English. But, they are very very helpful to attain to every each of the questions. We were also made to understand that there are charging pots provided for tourists and reading corner which provides all sorts of reading materials except in English.
It’s already 3.30pm and we saw our train from Bagan has already arrived. We try to convince ourself by asking the train officer around. Yes it is! We always get excited every time we got a change to board on train. Let’s get on board baby! This is it!
We will continue our journey on 19 Hour Train Ride to Bagan.
Zara AB & FF
ZaraAB Travel #zaraabtravel
Husband & Wife All Around the Globe