Saturday, 26 July 2014

Yangon trip – 26 Jul 14

The kinetic rain has replaced the famous myler cord after refurbishment of Terminal 1 in 2012. I feel that as the year passes, the myler cord becomes an ugly sight and the kinetic rain is indeed a more modern artwork.
Kinetic rain

During the flight, the air stewardess distributed the departure instead of the arrival card and all foreigners end up have to fill the arrival card at the immigration custom.
Departure card & custom declaration card
Aerial view of Yangon
Bank advertisement at the aerobridge

The international airport is modern as it was open in 2007. However this can't be said for the domestic airport which we will visit tomorrow. There is a visa on arrival counter at the airport but I'm not sure if it is easy to get the visa or not.
Visa counter
Baggage carousel

There are several money changers located inside and outside the arrival hall. I have read online that the rate outside the arrival hall is better but looks like both offer similar rates. The rate which we have changed SGD is S$1 to K778 while the current USD rate is US$1 to 970.
Money changer counters

There is a taxi counter after clearing the custom security. However the rate indicated on the display and the rate quoted by the staff is different. The staff quoted is K9,000 for a taxi to downtown. There are also taxi drivers touting outside the arrival hall. In the end, we agreed with one driver at K7,000.
Taxi rates
Taxi bay

The journey from airport to downtown took about 45min. Depending on the traffic condition, it varies from 1/2hr to an hr. The taxi driver asked us what we plan to do in Yangon and when I told him that we are going to Bagan, he keep selling us his service but we declined politely as we will be taking a plane and not by car to Bagan.
Locals waiting at bus stop
Yangon downtown

30th corner hostel is located at the 2nd level of a dilapidated building which is only accessible by a narrow staircase. I brought a cabin luggage so it's manageable for me.
Found our hostel

The hostel looks new and the ensuite room is on the same level as the reception area. The remaining rooms are located on the 3rd floor linked by an internal staircase.
Lobby area
Service counter at the upper floor

The ensuite room is very spacious but the bathroom and toilet are separated. Both bathroom and toilet looked aged with the 70s tiles.
Ensuite bedroom
Twin bedroom

When we are heading out for lunch, it started to pour and we seeked shelter on the street. The rain can gets very heavy and even though we are equipped with umbrella and raincoat, we still can get drench. Once the rain stop, everyone continues their activities.

The streets in downtown Yangon are easy to navigate as they are like a grid which run parallel to each other from the 1st street to 67th street.

We walked pass Sule Pagoda, an octagon pagoda serving as a traffic island in the middle of busting Yangon but we did not went in as I have read online that it is similar to Shwedagon pagoda which is must visit attraction in Yangon.
Sule Paya

I have planned to have lunch at 999 Shan Noodle House but we couldn't locate it. We settled our lunch at Lucky Star, a popular food chain with many outlets in Yangon.
Lucky star food chain

We ordered Mohinga, the national dish of Myanmar. It is vermicelli in the gravy with fried fish and braised egg. At first glance, the dish do not look appetizing but the taste is acceptable. The gravy is similar to mee rebus in kind but taste mixture of sourish, salty and spicy. The mohinga is extremely cheap, a bowl cost K1,000 ~ S$1.20.

There are few historical building nearby and we walked pass to take photos.
High court
Independence monument
City hall
Colonial style building
Local bus
Overhead bridge
Local kids playing on the street
Wet market
Vegetable exposed to the rain

Musmeah Yeshua Synagogue located at 26th street is the only synagogue in Yangon and was built in 1893, When we reached there at 2.30pm, the staff told us that it is closed hence we could not tour the interior. We left and continue walking to Strand Hotel which is located at 38th street.
Only synagogue in Yangon
Yangon street scene
A dilapidated building

The Strand Hotel is a Victorian style hotel which was founded by the Sarkies brothers who also founded the luxury Raffles Hotel in Singapore and Eastern & Oriental Hotel in Penang. Upon stepping into the hotel lobby, we feel the classiness of the hotel which is a spark contrast from the street outside.
Strand hotel lobby

The Strand Cafe serves high tea from 2.30pm - 5pm daily. There are 2 high tea menu - Myanmar high tea which includes hot and cold Myanmar snacks or Classic high tea which includes of sandwiches and pastries. Both menu has a choice of tea (Darjeeling, Earl Grey, English breakfast or Jasmine) or coffee (Myanmar coffee, Cappuccino or Espresso). The high tea set cost US$19.55 nett and can be paid in Kyat.
Strand cafe
Choice of high tea menu

We idled at the Strand Cafe and enjoyed the high tea for more than 2 hours while watching the rain pour and stop numerous times.
It's high tea time
English high tea set
Myanmar high tea set

We hailed a taxi back to the hostel for Kyat 2,000 ~ S$2.50. There is a confectionery shop across the hostel and we bought bread for breakfast tomorrow.
Eateries across the road
Choice of bread

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