72 HOURS IN YANGON, MYANMAR
When I was reading about other travellers blogs and reviews before I made my way to Yangon I have to say that it wasn’t really positive and not many people were impressed with the place. To be honest I really didn’t know what to expect as this was my first stop into Myanmar from Bangkok.
You know what, yeah Yangon is a little bit rough around the edges but I personally really enjoyed the place. Its full of old over grown British colonial buildings which I did not expect to see. In Yangon you have 3 main nationalities living there. You have the Burmese, Indians and Chinese. I was super surprised to see there was a Hindu temple and even a Christian church literally across the road from each other.
Arrival at the airport:
Firstly I have to say I read on numerous blogs that changing GBP to Kyat was ok to do at the airport, so I did without checking first what the actual rate was at the moment. Total rookie move and I totally got ripped off. But hey, you live and learn I suppose.
One thing I will advise you is that when you get to the airport before you get outside the terminal there is a taxi desk which I would recommend you get your taxi from. You tell them where your hotel/ hostel is and they tell you the price, write it down on a piece of paper where you keep one copy and the other gets given to the driver. EASY PEASY! I heard from my friend of mine that she was told to get the taxi from outside the airport and they were asking her for 15,000 kyat (£10) where it should have been no more than 8,000 kyat (£5.70) if in downtown.
So, where did I stay:
Scotts@ 31st Downtown.
I did like the location as is was central, close to Bogyoke Aung San Market if you want to buy clothes or souvenirs. This is where I bought my Longyi for 5,000 Kyat (£5.70). The hostel itself was nice enough and the big plus was that wifi was great and breakfast was included. Breakfast was nothing special just tea/ coffee and juice with toast and a banana. Didn’t really go down well with me as I only had a banana but that’s fine. The dorm I stayed in was female only and was really small. The bonus though was that within my cubical behind my pillow I had some cupboard space to put some of my valuables which was handy as the storage below the bed was TINY! God forbid you forget something then you have to try and yank your bag out.
The sheets were clean and when you got upstairs you had to take your shoes off and place away in a cupboard. I think only that in the showers the drains could have be cleaned a bit more often as there were lots of hair blocking the drains.
Things I did to pass the time:
- Pilates Class at Nourish Café:
I already had my eye on this place as I found it online when I was still in London and was eager to visit as it was offering all that healthy GF/ DF, Vegan stuff you know I love. The class was great and I really wanted to do a class because I didn’t know when I would be able to exercise again. You book the class online where you pay $13 which I think is a bit cheeky but they also offer a 3 class pass if your there for a bit longer.
- Shwedagon Pagoda:
This is the main pagoda in Yangon and definitely a must see! You pay 8,000 kyat as a tourist at the entrance but honestly once you get in its stunning and in my opinion most definitely worth it. The place is massive with lots to see as you walk around and a great place to sit down and just people watch for a moment.
- Shri Kali Hindu Temple:
Probably not what Yangon is mainly known for but a small temple full of colour even from the outside. No need to pay to go in, just smile at the guy sitting at the door and take your shoes off.
- Bogyoke Aung San Market:
This is a market aimed for tourists and locals told me prices are more expensive so be prepared to haggle on prices.
Places to Eat:
- 99 Shan Noodles:
I saw all over the net that this place was the place to go for noodles. So off I went. The food was good but more so my server was this young Burmese boy who was simply adorable. He was just so full of energy, smiley and giggly I would have ordered the entire menu just because he said its good. Honestly all the waiters were adorable. They were all fussing over this Chinese baby bring him food, playing with him and trying to keep him entertained. Totally made my heart sing just to watch.
- Thu Kha Yelk Food Centre:
This place I totally found on the off chance walking down the street and saw it was ramped packed with locals. This is a buffet style place with prices starting at 1,500 for veggie dishes and 2,500 for meat and fish. The cheapest places I ate in Yangon and honestly the food was so good I did go back a few times. The one thing I found annoying was that my server always charged me more. I once ordered ONLY veggie dishes and the as I ate right at the bottom of one dish there was a piece of meat. Literally I mean 1 piece of chicken.
Of course she charged me the meat dish price when really I knew it was meant to be veggie. Anyways on the greater scheme of things when you convert to GBP its nothing, but more the principle of honesty that annoys me… Plus the food was that good. LOLZ.
- Nourish Café:
If your backpacking and counting your pennies I would say consider this place like a ‘treat yourself’ cheat day! This place is not cheap considering I was spending 3,500kyat at local restaurants and here I would spend 16,000kyat for a salad bowl, chia seed pudding and coffee. Huge difference right?!… Like I said ‘CHEAT DAY’. They offer plant based food menu free from meat and dairy with a section for breakfast, brunch, sandwich’s and deserts. I did ‘treat’ myself to breakfast AND lunch here.
Tips for Yangon:
- Check the exchange rate online before changing your money at Yangon airport and make sure your GBP are crisp! PERFECT condition and also make sure you come with larger nomination of notes. £50 are better and will give you a better rate.
- I have to make sure you are clear on this. DO not bend our money otherwise they will not accept it at the bank.
- You can change GBP but USD are accepted more in places and you get more Kyat in GBP.
- If you can be bothered buy your bus ticket at the train station downtown compared to your hostel. Tickets for my bus to Bagan were like 25,000Kyat when really should have been 17,000Kyat. Don’t be lazy like me.
- Buying stuff at the market be prepared to haggle at he market. They really do over charge you.
- When going to the bus station make sure you leave at least 2 hours before as there WILL be traffic. LOTS of it. It took me 2.5 hours to do the 25km journey and lucky I had 30mins to spare!
Finally here are some on my pictures from Yangon.
Ok guys, so this is the beginning of my Myanmar tour…. Next stop is Bagan. So keep your eyes peeled for that! <3