Yangon (Rangoon) Myanmar (burma)

Trip Start Sep 19, 2010
Trip End Sep 19, 2011

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

6Th Feb.


    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. I have decided that in my blogs I will use the Colonial names as they are the names I grew up reading about and am familiar with. Here is a list of the main names I will be using and their modern equivalent. Burma = Myanmar (Mee-an-mar).  Rangoon = Yangon. Irrawaddy river = Ayeyarwady river. Ava = Inwa, I could go on. So from now on I will use the colonial names. Burma is yet another country that became part of the British Empire. It was a sort of subdivision of our India branch, if you will? Last year six thousand Britons visited Burma, with slightly more French and Germans. This as you can imagine is a miniscule amount of people and you literally have the sights to yourself. But I promise you, this will change very soon. If you are wanting to come to south east Asia soon make the trip to Burma before the rest of the world see what a little gem it really is!!!!

  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. It is also the most important religious site to the Burmese and the one place every Burmese should visit at least once in their life.This great golden stupa rises 98m  and can be seen from almost anywhere in Rangoon. Kipling wrote of it " A golden mystery.....a beautiful winking wonder". Cathy and I wandered around this site for well over an hour and I was completely spellbound by this glistening wonder. It literally shimmers in the sun shine, and so it should. It is covered in gold!!!! A stupa by the way is a structure that is completely solid. If it has rooms and passageways it becomes a temple or a shrine. I hope once again that my pictures do it justice.

  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).
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trish and john on

cathy you look great,i bet you wish you could take a peace back with you.

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