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Thursday, June 16, 2016

16 quirky and useful things to know about Yangon, Myanmar

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 Yagnon , Myanmar ( Burma )

Yangon nowadays has become modern city yet with historic background and heritage.  Here we randomly pick up some nitches which you could find useful if you decide to visit the city.     


1 . Sunsets

It is worthy to enjoy sunset from somewhere in town after your sightseeing of the day has over. The best place to enjoy beautiful sunset in Yangon is at Shwedagon pagoda. The whole towering golden image shine and glittering is awesome.   In the sky environ filled with  birds ( crows, sparrow, doves, etc ) chattering & tweeting  as flying in flocks to their nest  by end of the evening.

2. Shwedagon Pagoda

 

Your visit in Yangon is incomplete without spotting Shwedagon pagoda ! Having history dated back 2500 years ago with mythical and background, the pagoda is holiest Buddhist shrine for all believers. The attire covering shoulder & knees is a must while the visit and only bare foot walk is allowed on stairways and platform.
The great Schwedagon Pagoda stands on a platform covering over 5 hectares on a hill 58m above sea level.  Approach to pagoda’s platform in four covered walkways Both the Southern and Northern entrances have the choice of an elevator or stairs; the Western entrance has escalators instead of stairs and is the only entrance without vendors. The Eastern stairway has the most authentic ambience, as it passes monasteries and vendors selling monastic necessities.

3. Exotic

Yangon isn’t like other large cities in South East Asia. It is  impressive & lively. Bustling city centre is always busy day & night.  Modern skyscrapers , hotels , old colonial mansions , parks , jetty , varieties of road side stalls , different religious places  like  Pagodas , Mosque, Hindu temple and synagogue  located  within near distance are of its specialities.

4. Traditional clothing

Basic fashion trend of traditional costume has not changed over several decades though     modern styles flourished everywhere. Men and women, old or young adult, city dwellers or villagers love to wear traditional longyi (sarong) in most of daily occasions. 

5. Sidewalks

Morning walking tour or leisurely walk around  some spots passing local quarters , road side vendors. Be sure on pavement and always watch out for  holes in cracked cements.   


6. Monks

 

In Yangon  there are large portion of Buddhist monasteries & nunaries.  Monks wear saffron robes.  In morning time , can see monks at  most of the places and getting offered food in alms bowl from devoted donars.   Few of some active young monks approach in friendly manner expecting to have light conversation in  English with tourists at some pagodas.

7. Inya Lake

You  drive past it on the way from the international airport to the centre of Yangon.  It is largest artificial lake in Yangon since British colonial administration in order to provide water supply to the city. Now it is a popular recreational area with park  in most exclusive neighborhood.  Southwestern bank by Yangon University, around the shoreline are  some of most expensive private properties like residences of famous leader Aung San Su Kyi , United States Embassy ,  United State ambassador and some more. 


8. Betel

Walk down any lane in Yangon or Mandalay or anywhere, streets and building walls dirty in stained some red blotches, you wonder what!  Who chew betel quid  does not intend to swallow, so  often carry plastic bag or empty bottle or just spit it off.   Heavy users of betel quid reveal their addiction when they smile. Their teeth are stained a reddish-black dyed from years of chewing betel quid. Thousands of one-man betel nut stalls are dotted throughout Yangon

9. Umbrellas in the park

Parks are retreat for most of Yangonites. Kandawgyi  park, Inya Park and Mahabandoola parks are top choices.  Young couples romancing behind open own umbrella in the parks is not an odd scene. Kissing & canoodling in public is not a proper manner according to tradition.   

10.Hot

Feel and see tropical weather that welcomes you warmly.  It’s preferable in afternoon to stay inside or under shad rather than walking on streets in  28 – 33 degree day time heat unless you love sunburn. Thumbs up for hotel’s swimming pool, leisurely sit under green lush trees in park, , sipping  some fresh cold drinks.

11. Taxis

 

Crowded Yangon roads are  mostly occupied by taxis.  Widely used imported second hand Japan automobile.  To flag a taxi, just make any hand gesticulation, and it will pull up to you. It has no meter , the cost fairly enough from US$2  to US$ 5. Don’t forget to bargain a little anyway! 

12. Wearing a longyi

longyi is a sheet of approx:2 meters long sewed cloth widely worn in the whole country.  You may witness  sometime a few  expats and tourists in Yangon wearing longyi as neat as  locals.  It suites with the dry and hot weather condition as it is woven in cotton. The secret  for wearing men longyi is to tie a special knot around the waist. If you want to try wearing it as first time, using belt is good protection for losing it off to knees. The gender-neutral term “longyi” is called ‘paso’ when worn by men and ‘htamein’ by women.

13. Traffic

 

Too many cars are on the streets. The number of cars keeps increasing. Traffic  is bumper to bumper. During rush hours , moving at a snail's pace.. Yangon looks like as one of most tight-traffic cities in Asia. New overhead  bridges at important junctions could not ease the problem most of the time.  So, always expect to be clogged somewhere! When need to go to airport / station in time take enough time  counting for traffic ! 

14. Scott Market

 

For shopaholics, ‘Scott market / Bogyoke Market’ is the only place in Yangon to get everything from all over the country , from antiques to modern. Name shortened as ‘Bogyoke Market’ is originally called as Scott Market and later changed as ‘Bogyoke Aung San market’. It’s a pleasant place to wander around and soak up the atmosphere. 

15. Buses

Yangon public buses are essential mood of transport for daily life of basic people even though not  comfortable  with old seats and open window.  Most are crowded in rush hours and stuck in long traffic. A few of new BRT buses also run for  limited seat and higher fare as in better alternative. Pyay road  and  Insein road are always busy with colorful buses and  cars.

16. A botanical delight

You can see Yangon as green city and everywhere is very lush with huge resource of tropical plants and trees.  Apartments and flats has no spare space land but people love to keep a few flower pots along narrow verandah.  At some places, house compound bounded by fence bushes rather than brick wall.

Only time will tell if these efforts succeed.

Have you visited Yangon? What do you think of the city?

 

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Please leave a comment and let me know if you have any stories or questions
Remember, if this article doesn’t get many comments I’ll look like an idiot and feel very sad 😉


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