Upon arriving from Bangkok to Yangon, I felt that this place was very different from other Asian cities. I am welcomed by airport staff with thanakha paste on their arms, knees and faces. I was like scared. Are these pastse has something to do with black magic or any rituals? Kulto ba ‘to? Hahaha.
It was an hour of travel from the airport to my hostel. I was glad that my taxi driver can speak in English and he introduced me to some tourist attractions while on the road. It was a mini tour for me. 🙂
We reached my hostel by 2PM.
Where did I stay? I booked 20th Street Hostel in Booking.com. My room is on the 2nd floor and beside a big window. I love to see the daily life of Burmese families from my room.
Their breakfast are good but can still be improved. Their bathrooms are clean. The hostel staffs are very helpful as well.
To read my full review about 20th Street Hostel, you may check this – Inlove with the neighborhood.
Yangon Day 1: Street style!
After I checked in and had some rest, I left my room at around 3 PM to see the streets of Yangon. As I haven’t had my lunch that time, I looked for any food. What a best way to see the streets!
How to get around the city? There are lots of taxi, buses, bikes and motorcycles that you can hire. Most of the hotels can help you with this. You can also opt for a private tour with a big group. But for me, walking is the best option. There is much to see!
After my late lunch, I looked for a money changer. The money changer at the airport has limited Kyat (Myanmar’s currency) so I need to look for another one. I walked from the 20th street until the 28th. As I can’t find a money changer, I used that time to take photos of the streets of Yangon. It was lovely to see streets with different merchandises from gadgets, food, carpentry tools to thanakha pastes and more! I learnt that thankha paste is used by Burmese to protect their skin from the sun. It’s no magic spell! 😀
While walking, I fell in love with Yangon. This is the best way to see a city, to know an unfamiliar place. There are lots of tobaccos too!!
I was still looking for a money changer when I saw a St. Mary’s Cathedral. I am expecting to get inside as it was Sunday. But when I reached the church, it was closed. 😦
I just took the opportunity to take photos of what’s happening outside the church.
After leaving the church, I decided to go back to my hostel. The sky is turning grey and rain might fall anytime. Surprisingly, I found a money changer before heading home! Yey!
It was thrilling to see the streets of Yangon!
And very eager for more! 🙂
Yangon Day 2: One day at the Golden Rock
It was actually 6 hours away in Yangon, but to see the Golden Rock is possible in 1 day! To read my journey to see the Golden Rock, click Golden Rock – One Crazy Day.
Yangon Day 3: More of DIY City Tour
After a crazy day to see the Golden Rock, I woke up late. I was actually undecided in which places I want to visit. All I know is I want to see the Burma High Court. From the blogs that I read, I was captivated by the structure of this iconic building.
While having breakfast, there are other travelers seated at the reception area. I had a wonderful conversation with a Jewish and a Chilean couple. Their stories are amazing. The Chilean couple gave me their Bagan Archaeological pass for free! I was very delighted. The Jewish shared his enthusiasm with movies and books. He’s actually a nice dork who also shared his copy of “Me Before You” movie. Sorry, we know it is illegal! But that movie saved me from boredom from the long road ahead! Thank you again, guys!
I decided to walk then from our hostel to Sule Pagoda Road. I never intended to grab a cab or ride a bus; I wanted to see more from the streets of Yangon. It was very hot on that morning, my skin is burnt. Nevertheless, the streets are my favorite, I had no regrets. 🙂
After 30 minutes, I reached Sule Pagoda Road. I was very happy as I can see also the Burma High Court!
I have circled the streets to see a good angle of Burma High Court. Sadly, tourists and travelers are prohibited inside. I just walked around these beautiful bricks.
Surprisingly, there were more interesting things to see outside the Court. Sule Pagoda, Yangon City Hall, Immanuel Baptist Church and Mahabandoola Park are close landmarks to see The Court. There were so many subjects to photograph and it was very thrilling for me.
Plus, I haven’t paid any entrance fees for these attractions! Wohoo!
After seeing these places, I headed back to my hostel to get some lunch, rest and prayed for the rain to stay away from the Shwedagon Pagoda. 🙂
By 4 PM, I went down to the reception area and saw Tamara and Cesar, the Chilean couple I met that morning. They were planning to head as well to the famed Shwedagon Pagoda. We wanted to hire a cab but every driver refused. Maybe because Shwedagon Pagoda is too near to take a cab. We caught a bus then. After all the amazing travel stories of this lovely couple, we reached the Pagoda in less than 30 minutes.
We entered at the North gate. Shoes off. Then, rain starts to pour.
Definitely, the Shwedagon Pagoda is lovelier at night. It was like a dazzling gem in the dark.
The Shwedagon Pagoda is known as the Reliquary of the Four. It contains Buddha’s hairs together with the relics of the three Buddhas after him who attained Enlightenment. The hairs were obtained by Taphussa and Ballika, two merchants who offered alms to Buddha. The Pagoda is maintained by the Royals since 588 BC. After all renovations of different kingdoms, the Shwedagon is now 326 feet and stands in a 114 acres land. The Shwedagon is made up of gold plates, thick and thin gold leaves with diamond buds on the top.
Four main pagodas and 18 different images of Buddhas (Ok, images I mean statues and other massive stuff) are inside the complex. There are ATM’s, museum, photo gallery, stairs, escalator (yes, ESCALATOR), and elevators (yes, ELEVATORS). But an hour will do inside.
There were lots of interesting things inside the Shwedagon Pagoda but the rain keeps me sad. Nevertheless, the time with Tamara and Cesar was extremely wonderful. 🙂
I am stoked on how and where Myanmar gets these golds. It is like they have a factory! Their country could be very rich because of too much gold you can see. I was thinking if I can bring this in the Philippines we can be rich too! HAHA.
After all the wanderings, we head back to our hostel. Luckily, we got a cab!
It was fantastic to see Yangon! It is a city of extreme authenticity and rawness. The streets were like land of surprises. The attractions can be familiar if you’ve been to other Asian Buddhist cities yet it is still different in many ways. The people are amazingly genuine and kind. They are not afraid of photographs. They are very joyful to be with.
These memories in Yangon will reside in me forever. Off to see, Bagan!!!
To have an idea about my expenses in Yangon and some insider tips, here it is: