Yangon (Rangoon) Myanmar (burma)
Trip Start Sep 19, 2010
54Trip End Sep 19, 2011
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The sun was setting over Myanmar as we came in to land. As we left Rangoon airport by taxi darkness had descended so we could not see much of Rangoon on our way to the hotel. One little quirk I did pick up on right away was that they drive on the right, but use right hand drive cars. Must be a nightmare when overtaking!! We booked our hotel on the internet it was called the hotel Panda. We were instantly impressed, it was a quality room with a bath tub, I might add. It was only £20 and a complete bargain. We ate in the hotel that night, then watched a couple of movies then bed.
The Government of Myanmar decided in 1989 that all the colonial names for towns and the country itself should be changed
The next morning Cathy and I walked into town armed with a map the hotel provided. We headed straight to the Market area where we had heard we would be approached by black market money changers, and we soon were. The black market offers the best exchange rates and I'm all for that!! We managed to get 850 Kyat to the Dollar. Another strange quirk about Burma is if your Dollar is creased, folded, torn in anyway and I mean a microscopic tear they will not take it, full stop!! It has to be fresh off the press. I have tried arguing that it is perfectly legal tender but they will not budge. So with my wallet bulging with Kyat we went shopping and to my delight we found Burma to be very cheap indeed. For instance you can buy 3 packets of cigarettes for £1. In our local restaurant a sweet and sour Chicken was £1.10 and beer is very good and cheap at £0.70 for a large bottle.
The next day we headed to Rangoon's most famous monument, Shwedagon Paya
The day after we headed down to the Rangoon river to try and book us onto a boat headed north. I have always wanted to travel to Mandalay by boat on the Irrawaddy river, the real road to Mandalay. We could have gotten a boat to a place called Pyay (formally Prome) if we had waited for two days and from here on up the river to Mandalay. But we felt that we should head to Mandalay by bus and return on the river to save us waiting in Rangoon. I feel now we should have waited. So we next headed to the bus ticket office and booked ourselves on the bus for the next day. This bus was to leave at 8PM and travel through the night and get us into Mandalay at about 5AM. Not too bad at £6 each. So the next day we packed our things left them with the hotel and headed out for our last day in Rangoon. We must have walked miles in our few days here. That night we spent on the road to Mandalay (the tarmac version).