Yangon trip

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BobHelm
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Yangon trip

Post by BobHelm » May 29, 2018, 8:34 am

For years I had wanted to visit Rangoon in Burma.
That has not been possible for a few years now, so I had to settle for Yangon in Mynanmar instead. :D

An online visa (for $50) is necessary for most non-Asean citizens but easily available & simple to apply for. The applicant then gets a formal letter of acceptance that must be presented to Immigration on arrival (& airline before they will let you on the aircraft).

Air Asia will fly you, return from DM, for 3,630 baht per person in less than an hour, so it is a fairly simple & cheap trip from Bangkok.

The country currency is the Mynanmar Kyat & does not appear to be readily available outside the country. USD are readily accepted in most places though & the Yangon airport has at least 3 currency exchange booths on arrival.
Couple of notes of caution here though..
When obtaining Kyat the maximum bill size available seems to be 5,000 Kyat. As this amounts to less than 120 baht (or £3/$4) you can easily get a wad of cash that needs a plastic bag rather than a wallet to contain.
Also, on exiting the country, foreign currency availability is VERY restricted, making it very difficult to convert any left over Kyat into something you can use anywhere in the rest of the world.
If I went again then I would certainly take USD with me & convert just a small amount into Kyat at the airport & further small amounts as & when required in Yangon itself.

The airport is a fair way out of Yangon itself and takes between three quarters & and an hour & half depending on the time of day. Which brings me to taxis.
They are readily available everywhere. Unfortunately meters on taxis are not. So every journey becomes an unequal price negotiation. Grab does work & Grab through wi-fi can get you a good place to start price negotiations, but you need a Mynanmar SIM in order to use the App effectively to get around.
An ex-pat told me that Yangon to the airport could be got for as low as 8,000 Kyat. I was happy to settle for 10,000 !!

Mynanmar switched to driving on the right hand side of the road nearly 50 years ago. However every taxi I used were all right hand drive cars, which is a bit scary to say the least. Horns are used as warning devices, but not to the extent that they are used in Vietnam. The roads in town are busy though & crossing the road requires stopping & starting through lanes of moving vehicles.

The biggest surprise however was that motorcycles were non existent. I saw 5 on the roads in 5 days & 3 of those were on my trip back to the airport at the end of my stay.

i knew that, traditionally, men wore the longyi (a single piece of cylindrical cloth) but I was surprised to see how it was universally worn by the younger generation going about their daily life in town.

I found the food good & about on a par, cost wise,with eating out in Udon once taxes were added. The style I would best describe as 'British Chinese', although it tended to be spicier than that, but nothing near Issan heat standards!!

The local beer I preferred was called simply, Mynanmar. In small stores (I never went into a large supermarket while there, although they were around) it was 1,100 Kyat (26 baht) for a small can. Drinking beer in a nice, air-conditioned restaurant was surprisingly cheap though. For the beer itself, I was charged only 1,200 Kyat (28 baht) although restaurants also charged something like 17% extra on their total bill for various taxes.
There were 850 Kyat (20 baht) beers available in the small local shops, but the restaurants seemed to stick to Mynanmar, Tiger & Carlsberg. I am not particularly a fan of the taste of the last two, so have no idea of prices.

I never saw a 'Bar', although Google Maps did come up with a few entrants to that description. However they seemed to be within Hotels, rather than anything else.

As far as activities..
Plenty of old colonial buildings to view. A couple of very nicely presented public parks. More 'famous' Pagodas than you could view in a lifetime. Many, varying times of day, street markets - although some seemed to sell nothing but rather worn second hand materials. Plenty of modern shopping malls selling brand name items - some of questionable sources given the pricing. :D

It is the start of the wet season in Yangon now & so tourist activity is down as I was told June & July are very wet indeed. The temperature in the evenings, night & early morning was very pleasant but by 9 am. it was very hot. We had quite a bit of rain on the Sunday & it was still chucking it down early Monday when we left.

The people were very welcoming & friendly & someone, if not everyone, had a reasonable level of English where ever we went.
All in all a very pleasant stay & I am very glad that I went, however it is an (ex) capital city & 5 days is about all I can manage with any of them anywhere in the world. I would probably not want to visit Yangon again, but would be very happy to visit some where else in Mynanmar



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Zidane
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Re: Yangon trip

Post by Zidane » May 29, 2018, 9:24 am

Glad you had a good time,Bob.
Yangon is a place that the missus would like to go to to see the pagodas and temples.
Theres one "lucky temple" she keeps going on about......spend 30,000 baht on flights and accommodation,then come back and win 15,000 baht on the Thai lottery.....so lucky ! #-o
Just when I thought our chance had passed,you go and save the best for last.

the-monk
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Re: Yangon trip

Post by the-monk » May 29, 2018, 9:29 am

Thanks very interesting... How about accommodations ? Price and quality ? You say << but would be very happy to visit some where else in Mynanmar >> Where would you like to go ? I am thinking of going next fall...

tutone
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Re: Yangon trip

Post by tutone » May 29, 2018, 9:48 am

So if you pay for something with U.S. dollars will you get Kyat in change? That way one could maintain a small amount of Kyat for spending without having to change money often.

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BobHelm
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Re: Yangon trip

Post by BobHelm » May 29, 2018, 10:50 am

In downtown Yangon the two quality hotels are The Sule Shangri-La & the Pullman. They are a bit too steep for my poor exchange rates pound (the first is about 4,700 baht a night & the second about the 4,000) but are certainly quality.

I stayed at the much more reasonably priced City Star Hotel, that was about 800 baht a night for 2 with breakfast. It is an old building & showing its' age a bit from the outside but they were nice large air conditioned rooms with a small balcony, serviced every day. Breakfast was a very Asian style small buffet, but I always managed to find something edible.

I like a beach holiday for the change, so somewhere like Maungmagan Beach (near Dawei) had caught my eye. There are daily flights from Yangon to Dawei, but, of course, that makes it a 6 flight holiday for me from Udon. While I don't dislike flying I do dislike all the hanging around in airports that are associated with it. That being said, Yangon was quite a large & pleasant place for the number of flights it has compared to many I have visited.

Yes, tutone that would probably work too.
Unfortunately I didn't think about it before hand & took Thai baht - which I thought I could exchange in DM as I have done for other Asean currencies - & my normal policy is to just exchange all my holiday money in one hit..
Live & learn.. :D
There are also plenty of ATMs available in Yangon & I would probably use them after exchanging enough money for the taxi & a meal at the airport in any future trip.

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GT93
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Re: Yangon trip

Post by GT93 » May 30, 2018, 2:49 pm

I'd love to visit Burma. I hope to do so one day.

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marjamlew
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Re: Yangon trip

Post by marjamlew » June 1, 2018, 6:52 pm

Bob, glad you enjoyed your Burmese Days. Always fancied a trip up the road to Mandalay myself.
Watch Me!!

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Giggle
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Re: Yangon trip

Post by Giggle » June 1, 2018, 10:45 pm

interesting report. Thanks.

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