Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower

Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower
The view from Amsterdam Tower

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Trip to Yangon, Myanmar

City Hall @ Yangon, Myanmar

Be careful with your wishes…  

Long time ago, I made a wish…. If Mr. Right had a chance to go to Myanmar again for business, I wish to come along…, and this wish came true…

Thank you God.

Myanmar used to be called Burma.  That is what I remember from school years.  As one of the ASEAN countries, I had to learn history of its members.  Very little that I knew about this country, except about Aung San Suu Kyi.
Customs Card to enter Myanmar
Even though Myanmar is one of ASEAN countries, they do not provide visa exemption to ASEAN passport holders. However getting visitor visa is not an issue at all.

It is only 45 minute flight from Bangkok to Yangon.  The flight seemed almost full.  I am curious what these passengers would do in the capital city of Myanmar.  Oops, Yangon is not the capital city!  

The capital was officially moved to 320 km north of Yangon in 2005.  Naypyidaw has been founded on a greenfield site in the shrub land which construction started in 2002.
National Independence Monument
As I left Saigon a few months ago, I would have imagined the similarity between the two places. Except, Yangon is less sophisticated.

Traders Hotel, Yangon

My first impression about Saigon, it looked like Jakarta in the 80s.  Yangon looks like Jakarta in the 70s!
Shopping Mall next to my hotel
Taxi in front of a cinema, near my hotel
City bus

When the plane was approaching the city, Mr. Right showed me many white roofs. They are temples! The white sparkling roof top looks amazing from the air.

When I arrived in the city, there are a few things that caught my attention:
  • Most of the city taxi is still using the old car.
  • Traditional dress for men is sarong or locally known as longyi
  • Many women have special powder on their cheeks, as if they wear blush on.  This powder is locally known as Thanakha which is grind handmade from wood of several trees.  It has a fragrant scent somewhat similar to sandalwood.

Sample of wood for the Thanakha
Being in Yangon for less than a day, I started to get puzzled about the official name of this country...  It seems the people still call their country as Burma instead of Myanmar.  

About their national flag which has been changed a few times… The current one is relatively new (2-3 years).
1 US$ is around 800-850 Kyat

Kyat is the local currency, however US$ is very well accepted in the big hotels and restaurants. Still, it is advisable to have local notes handy. Medium and smaller size of shops or restaurants only receives Kyat.  Credit card acceptance is very limited, only in the big hotels and restaurants.  ATMs?  Yes, there are a few ATMs but I could not find the visa/master logo.

Billboard in the street
Local Advertisement

What is the root of Myanmar language?  Looking at its alphabet which is not Latin, my first guess said it is from Sanskrit.  Second guess, it comes from Thai as it looks similar...
The white building is a Mosque
I was totally wrong. I was told that the root of the local language is from Pali language.  There is not any word that I remember at all…

See the nice building behing the bridge, it's a railway station

So much curiosity about this place, so many things to explore, I couldn’t wait to do sightseeing… Hore, Jalan-Jalan...!
Traditional music instrument and the musician

Next stories are about visit to beautiful Pagodas and culinary experience. Lanjuuttt? Sabar ya...

1 comment:

  1. Jakarta in the 70s? Oh that i really want to see. Lately i have been intrigue to visit Myanmar and your post made me google the flight fare to Yangon ;) I WISH to go to Myanmar soon.

    Enjoy your trip! looking forward to reading your other posts about it.