The second leg of our 9-day temple run vacation brings us to Yangon, Myanmar.
To start the day right, Thanlwin Guesthouse served us a heavy breakfast. The traditional breakfast-of-the-day was Nan Gyi salad — a noodle salad dish that reminded me of the Pancit Malabon back home. It’s basically thick rice noodles with shredded chicken, curry oil, slices of boiled egg, something crispy like chicharon and some lime juice.
Our plan for the day in Yangon only consisted of going to the bus station to book our bus tickets to Bagan, a “city tour” (which we didn’t research on) and a visit to the Shwedagon Pagoda for the sunset. Good thing Pho Khwar, the owner of guesthouse we stayed in, helped us by drawing a very detailed itinerary of places to go to; complete with the places’ Burmese names, directions and taxi fare. He also recommended a good bus company (Elite Express Bus) for a more comfortable bus ride.
Inya Lake, the largest lake in Yangon, was just a 10-minute walk from the guesthouse. At 8:30 AM on a Sunday morning, it was teeming with couples cuddling. It’s a nice place for jogging.
Located in the middle of a major traffic roundabout, the Sule Pagoda looks better from a distance. We didn’t go inside because the 3 USD entrance fee seems to be too much for a tiny, cramped pagoda. The pagoda is surrounded with money changers, photography shops, and shops specializing in astrology and palm reading. The guesthouse owners warned us against exchanging money there since the place is notorious for swapping tourists’ notes for fakes.
P.S. Shangri-La hotel is really nearby and has very clean toilets.
A large market where you can buy anything and everything from the usual magnets and keychains to antiques and Burmese handicrafts. You can also purchase made-to-order longyi if you’re staying for around 2 days, but ready made longyi are available at around 6000 kyats (6 USD).
Like Inya Lake, the place seems to be a popular dating spot. Couples sit under trees with an open umbrella to shield them from the eyes of the other park goers. Tired because of the heat and all the walking around, we decided to look for a tree and take a short nap before walking to the Shwedagon Pagoda for the sunset.
Entrance Fee: 8000 kyats (8 USD)
The pagoda’s main stupa is gold plated and the crown is studded with thousands of diamonds, rubies, sapphires and other gems. The impressive stupa is topped with a diamond bud tipped with a single 76-carat diamond. Too bad it was covered by scaffolding because of the ongoing restoration work.
Dress code when visiting pagodas around Myanmar:
- No footwear or socks
- Length of shorts or skirts must be below the knees
- No sleeveless tops or plunging necklines
Basically, dress conservatively. The locals will not call you out on your attire, but they will give you a disapproving glance.
19th Street, Chinatown
19th Street, Chinatown is the place to be for street food. Ma aye from Thanlwin Guesthouse warned us about overeating. She said that she had just exhausted her supply of stomach medicine after a Japanese guy got stomach problems from overeating. He didn’t learn his lesson and overate again the next evening. It’s not that the food is dirty, it’s just that everything is so cheap that you’ll end up buying too much food. We only paid 10,800 kyats (10.8 USD) for 12 sticks of barbecued stuff, 3 bowls of rice and 3 mugs of Myanmar beer. (Myanmar beer is really good, by the way.)
For the adventurous foodie, eat and drink like a local by having some fried crickets with your cold beer.
Budget for Yangon
|Taxi from Sedona Hotel to bus station ticketing office (Ks 3,000 for 4 pax)||750|
|Taxi to Inya Lake (Ks 3,000 for 4 pax)||1,000|
|Inya Lake entrance||2,000|
|Shwedagon Pagoda entrance||8,000|
|Taxi to Chinatown 19th Street (Ks 2,500 for 3 pax)||850|
|Dinner (Ks 10,800 for 3 pax)||3,600|
|Taxi from Chinatown to hostel (Ks 3,000 for 3 pax)||1,000|
|Total||Ks. 23,900 ~ US$ 23.9|