Been In Asia blog

36 hours in Yangon (Myanmar)

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Date: March 1st 2017
Traveller: Carla Rijnders
Regularly I travel to destinations, to inspect hotels and to experience new tours, so I know what we offer to clients. This time Yangon had the honour.
From Bangkok we take an early flight, so we arrive at the end of the morning. This gives us time enough to do a walk along Yangon's heritages from colonial times, many of them in decay, as the huge buildings were abandoned after the capital of Myanmar moved to Naypyitaw in 2006. We have the privilidge to enter the former Parliament as there was an exposition. Fortunately there are some first restaurations, we realized the necessicity, reading a note 'not more than 10 people on the stairs'. Fingers crossed that it will hold our weights! A short stop at Bogyoke (Scott) Market, where we see locals trading gems and many tailors doing their jobs (you should go upstairs, away from the touristic part). Highlight in Yangon for everyone is the Shwedagon Pagoda. I had been there before, but it's amazing to see locals praying, having their rituals and their daily life around the pagoda. At time of sunset the glittering gold shines bright and it looks magical.
Day 2 we go to the other side of the Yangon River, to the village of Twante. We cross the river by local ferry, only 10 min, but a feast for the eyes. No tourists, only locals, selling their goods, cleaning fruits and getting their way through the crowds. We continue by taxi, on a bumpy road, for another very interesting hour. Arrived in Twante, we take a horse cart to the pottery area,  a large part of the population here is engaged in pottery production. Fantastic to see a workshop and observe this very traditional craft by hard working people. Time to return to Yangon by local taxi and ferry and I can inspect some hotels in town.
Day 3 leads us to the Seikkyi Khanaungto river island, across the Yangon river and Twante canal. Although we cross Yangon river again, passing old abondanned boats. We arrive at a very different and poor area, again interesting spots on the beautiful, rural and (almost) car-free island. We are taken around the island by trishaw (bike taxi), we have short walks in some of the most beautiful villages and stop at a teashops to taste some local specialities and drinks. On the local market, there are piles of exotic fruit, vegetables and groceries and people stare at us as if they never saw any stranger before. Here, again, we don't see any tourist and we see daily life how it really is. A funeral procession is passing by, you might have a chance to see any festivals or ritual here, as many Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, and Christians are living here. We were overwhelmed by all the friendly smiles and greetings along the way. You can do this island tour also by bike, where you can even see more. Unfortunately our plane is waiting for us and we have to go back to Bangkok again.
Conclusion is that even if you have 3 days, it's worth to visit Yangon and see daily life in the city and just outside in rural area and experience a life that existed for us a long time ago.


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