Friday, May 24, 2013

Myanmar Musings - Yangon

After a few emotional farewells, we left Singapore on Saturday May 19th, bound for Yangon - the first stop on our 3 week holiday before our return to Adelaide. We were at Changi with time to spare so grabbed breakfast at the airport (pancakes and milo for the kids, local coffee and kaya toast for Gary and I). Alex was impressed with the speed of getting his pancakes and declared it true fast food. Our flight to Yangon was good and we landed around 10 minutes ahead of schedule. First impressions were of friendly people - everyone was smiling.

We got a 'taxi' to our hotel. It was a sort of van, without working seat belts (a common theme here). The driver tried to sell us some tours for the next few days which we politely declined. As we got closer to Yangon centre, the traffic got much busier so it was a sense of relief to see The Traders hotel.

Check in was smooth and we were soon up in our room. We had paid for an extra bed - something that hotels here charge a lot for - in this case it was $65 US and when we arrived no bed was there, but it was soon delivered - along with an extra bottle of water and an extra towel!

Our travel agent arrived and I went to meet her and collected flight tickets etc which was all very smooth.

We ventured out for lunch and tried to find a recommendation from the LP - Aroma Cafe but it was closed, so we ended up at the East hotel - which was very pleasant. The rest of the first afternoon was spent at the pool and we went for an early dinner to Pa Pa Pizza, which was excellent.

On Sunday, after a fabulous breakfast at the hotel, we decided to try the LP Yangon walking tour. About 300 metres into it, Tara declared we were walking "so far"! Ah, the delights of travelling with kids. We stuck to the walk for a bit and then decided to take a look at the ferry. We were sent to a window / room for foreigners. The fare for foreigners was $2 US each way but they did a 'discount for the babies'. This meant the kids were free. One thing in Myanmar is they often refer to the kids as 'babies'. The ferry was very local but some fabulous photo opportunities. There were all sorts of vendors on there and some young boys tried to sell us all sorts of things. It was very interesting. Over the other side of the river, we got off and decided to go for a drink and a sit down to watch the world go by. Gary commented that it felt like a mixture of India and Thailand. I have to agree it did feel like that!

On Sunday afternoon, after a swim at the hotel, we headed by taxi to the Shwedagon Pagoda. It was very golden and very  impressive. Tara and Alex were tolerant about their photos being taken numerous times. Tara especially is also getting a lot of people touching her face or arms, but she is very good with it.

On Sunday evening in Yangon, we decided to try a local restaurant recommended on Trip Advisor which was just across the road from the hotel. This was Takifuji - with some Western choices for the kids, and local food and beer for the adults, everyone was happy! We had a very early start the next day so headed to bed pretty early in anticipation of our 4.30am wake up call!