We started our 2 weeks Myanmar adventure at Yangon. It was not difficult to decide which city to enter and depart from, since the airlines that fly to Myanmar from Singapore mostly covers Yangon only.
When we were planning our holidays, we were torn between Myanmar and Australia (self-drive holiday). Then we decided that since Myanmar had just opened up her doors to tourism, it would be a great opportunity to visit before she inevitably change and modernise. Given another 10 years time, we are also pretty sure we will still be game enough to do a self-drive tour of Australia!
Arrival in Yangon
- Jetstar flight from Singapore Changi Airport to Yangon International Airport (0910/1040 local time, duration of 3 hr) – SGD$285/pax
- Changed US$500 to local currency, Kyat (pronounced as ‘chat’) at a rate of US$1 = 968K
- There were a few money changers at the luggage collection area. All had the same exchange rate.
- We were previously informed that the exchange rate at the airport is the best. But during our stay in Yangon, we found a better rate (US$1 = 978K) at a money changer in Bogyoke Aung San Market.
- Took a taxi from the airport to Chinatown where we already had made reservations with a hotel – US$10
- Taxis in Myanmar do not operate by the meter, so it is always necessary to agree on the price before boarding the taxi.
- Collected a map from the lady at the taxi service counter as well.
Chit Sayar Hotel
For the standard of rooms, hotels in Myanmar are way too expensive. This is due to the booming number in tourists and lack of accommodations country-wide.
- Checked in at Chit Sayar Hotel (646,Mahabandoola Road (between 21st & 22nd Streets),Latha Township). We had previously booked this from Agoda.
- Standard double room (incl. breakfast) – US$62/night
- Operated by a Chinese boss. Some of the staff were also proficient in Mandarin, and communicated confidently (and eagerly) with guests. We also observed quite a number of Mandarin speaking guests at the hotel during our 2 nights stay.
- A restaurant operates on the ground floor, where the hotel lobby is situated. The food smell in the lobby was slightly overpowering.
- Room was like what was shown on the Agoda website. Note: the windows do not open to the streets. Instead, they open up to the common corridor of the building. Bathroom was very basic, and YM’s sensitive nose detected rust smell from the tap water. Hence we purchased more bottled water for brushing of teeth (we kept up this habit throughout our trip).
Walking tour of Downtown Yangon
The Downtown area follows a Victorian grid-like system. It was relatively easy to navigate. We wanted to walk straight down the Mahabandoola Road that will lead us to the Sule Pagoda. But we decided to be a bit adventurous and turned into the side streets lining the Mahabandoola Road. The atmosphere in these streets were mostly sizzling, with hawkers selling their wares, people carrying their goods and going about their daily activities, and with upbeat music blaring from public loudspeakers. As we walked on, we made our way to the Sule Pagoda, and from there continued on to the City Hall and Old High Court Building.