Last October, I was supposed to go to the Zumba fest in Bali like we did last year but went against it after realizing last-minute air fares weren’t so friendly. So I decided to go on a random trip instead to Yangon, Myanmar.
Why Yangon? Because I haven’t been there and it’s always been my aim to visit at least one new foreign city or foreign country each year. With Myanmar off the list, Laos and Brunei are the remaining places in Southeast Asia I have to see now.
But I digress. Going to Yangon is now made easier with several flights to the city. The easiest route appears to be from Bangkok since flying time is just over one hour. But I checked Traveloka and I found out it’s also possible to go to Myanmar from Singapore. The flight is almost three hours but I wanted to stop over in Singapore anyway.
Yangon opened my eyes in a big way. We always complain about Manila but I must say, go visit places in Myanmar first before you open your big mouth, lol. The taxis had no aircon and no meters and don’t even attempt to look for a Starbucks or an Uber because they have none of those.
One of the rare international fastfood brands I saw was KFC. They had this cilantro-flavored chicken.
Anyway, a few of my friends have asked me for recommendations on what places to check out in Yangon. Am not an expert and since I’ve only been there for a couple of days, I feel I have not even scratched the surface. But here are a few tried-and-tested ones:
1. The golden pagodas. Trust me, you will see a pagoda in Yangon without even trying. The most famous is the Shwedagon Pagoda but there are a few others in the so-called townships. Here’s the Sule Pagoda which I saw downtown while riding a taxi….
2. Where to eat? Try the Feel Restaurant.
My seatmate on the plane recommended the place to me and I must say it gives a good introduction of Burmese cuisine which consists of spices, curries, rice and noodles like any other Asian food. Food in Feel resto is served street-style and there are a number of counters which will not make you wanting of choices.
3. The Bogyoke Aung San Market or the Scott Market is like their version of Chatuchak. There are hundreds of stalls selling everything from lacquerware to paintings to precious jade stones. Don’t forget to haggle.
4. Looking to unwind? Try Happy Hour with drinks at 50% off in most of the premium bars like Shang-ri La and 50th Street.
Yes, there’s a Shang-ri La Hotel in Yangon and this drink I had at their Gallery Bar was superb. Two glasses for about P500 is a good deal.
5. The Vintage Luxury Yacht Hotel. Though there’s luxury included in its name, I still can’t believe I was able to score a room in this four star hotel for only $50. I hear a lot of stories about accommodations in Yangon being expensive. Vintage Luxury Yacht (which is an actual ship) made me feel like I was in the Titanic and the furnishings in leather could make for a good conversation piece. The breakfast buffet was also generous for the price. Check out this property when you’re in Yangon.