Friday, 11 January 2013

Myanmar - The Golden Land

Most people said to visit Myanmar now dont go later as they just open up..I have been to laos & what is the difference here. And I read somewhere that Dec is usually the peak season

Suddenly I saw Air Asia Big miles redemption 10 miles only to Yangon...without hesitating ok is cheap therefore paid only RM183 all in (taxes & luggage) per pax...And fyi...stupid BIG website not so good as compare to AA webiste itself...I booked for 4 person and was supposedly deduct 40miles...I ended up being deducted 500 miles...cos i include baggage.That website is so screwed up. Shouldnt they inform us that you may pay your luggage separately or there should be a scroll down option to pay or deduct our miles. I enquired however they took quite a while to reply via FB..And that special 10 miles redemption valid only for 1 day and I was in hurry to book I pay with miles for 4 pax. It worked in a way that you book the flight first and managed your booking later which include the baggage. And the system here at BIG website didnt work like AA website. When they charge the credit card, there's no notification of paswword (OTP) for you to charge the card via was charged right away...cant they standardise it???

Anyway apply VISA in KL. And the price has increased from RM80 to RM110. And it takes 2 days. Meanning Monday submit , Wednesday can take. Last time it used to be 5 working days. Find it expensive. Even China is cheaper. Wonder they are under Asean, shouldnt they are VISA free for Asians..ummm

Document to submit
1)2 passport size photo with white background
2) Confirm air tix
3) Passport & photocopy x 1
4) Application Form

Nov/Dec/Jan /Feb - PEAK SEASON. Hotel increase price A LOT. This year there has been an increased cos more n more tourist.

You may check out hotels here


Change your USD at the airport not outside USD1 = 846kyat (that is for USD100 rate).Change it after u have stamped yr passport .Just head straight u will see a money changer before u exit to the arrival hall. There's one at the arrival hall however rate is a bit lower. Is ok if your note is folded in half however make sure it looks & feel new

Outside hotel exchange rate USD1- 836 kyat. And if you change USD50 u will only get 830 kyat
* rates above is at early Dec 2012

Good news to those who has Celcom network.It works for you.You can roam there. Rates can be extremely expensive.

Other network --- sorry lar

Myanmar Prepaid SIM card - 20,000 kyat (RM72). calls are expensive for international USD0.09. Once you finish means top up.U got to buy another sim card

Hotel international call - USD3.00
local call - 300 kyat

Public phone in yangon - 500 kyat per local call. Someone will look after the public phone and pay to them. Is not a coin phone like ours.

                                                                           Public Phone

So make sure u book yourself in a hotel that provide free wifi so that u can whatsapp,viber or skpe.

Hotels is extremely hard to get during Dec. Was not raining however weather is super HOT too. The sun was bright n sunny. Bagan is cold in the morning and at night late morning n afternoon is super hot.

Stayed at Crystal Palace hotel, Yangon (cant find those cheap one like Ocean Pearl or Motherland which will provide you free transfer fr airport).Airport transfer to this hotel is 6000kyat with air cond .Room Price USD36 per night wz B'fast (all hotels price increased during Dec). Nothing great abt the hotel but owner is nice . Is a 1 star rated hotel. Very dated room. Aircond is old n loud noise. Can be difficult to Zzzz if u r sensitive. Bathroom - can see some dark dark stuff on the wall. Well just wear slipper n take yr shower).Room's floor is also old and dated.Not carpeted which is good cos they dun have vacuum cleaner. They sweep.They have carpet along the corridor Just bring along a inroom shoes. Floor mat like never wash. Bedsheet is clean.Blanket is fleece but like never wash however they do have a layer clean sheet covering it.Matress is extremely soft  (not springy)like u squeeze a me dont like it. Prefer a firm matress

Breakfast you may choose western breakfast ( 2 sunny sideup/1 sausage), toast, coffee or tea,jam & margerine, orange cordial .Or Myanmar B'fast (dried noodle) or Mohinga Bfast (pls dun choose this...hard to swallow...but if you wanna try go ahead)

The hotel I stayed is very near Shwedagon Pagoda so is just within walking distance. And there's an another Hotel called which along the same road as Crystal Palace Hotel (room rate - from USD60...yup extremely high.Is for foreigners' price).You can go there for massage @ 3rd Floor. Traditional massage @ 10,000 kyat (RM36) & foot massage @ 7000kyat. Dont pay in USD cos it will cost more (however depending on yr exchange rate)

May Shan hotel is near Sule Pagoda. Traders (high end) hotel is near Bogyoke Market

Anywhere you go just flag a taxi...their taxi can be extremely old. And some are like about to send to kereta potong. So if you are heading there during low season ...I guess is raining or could be hot...I suggest always ask for taxi with aircond. Just pay a bit more. And you dont wanna inhale dust too but if you dont mind, you may go ahead without aircond taxi

All taxis are in red number plate.These are newer & with aircond
Taxi From the hotel - railway station - 2000kyat no aircond
- bus station - 6000 kyat aircond (1 hr )
- return from bus station 8000 kyat cos it was 3.00am
- Chinatown @ 2000 kyat aircond

Entrance Fee to Shwedagon (go at night cos they light up - very beautiful) - USD5 or 4500 kyat. (here pay in USD r more worth it but depending what you get after conversion)


Circular Train - 3hrs ride to see rural areas. However, if you dont have much time can go for 1/2 ride. All cost USD1 per person. 1st service starts at 6.10am & last service is at 2.25pm. Perhaps take the 8.20am cos not so hot. 10am onwards extremely hot even though is Dec. Just go to Platform 7 buy ticket from the ticket officer. Show yr passport. If you want half ride also get from Platform 7 but the train is at Platform 5. sit near window at least u get the breeze. Open your eyes & see. Open your mind and heart too.This is like their daily LRT service. However d train is like set in the 30s ..wont say much but experience it yourself.

Chinatown is not like Bangkok chinatown. The chinese here can speak Hokkien, Cantonese & Toi san (which is hard to understand). Can find chinese food here ...very glad...dunno why but happy to see porridge & noodles. Cost abt 800 - 1000 kyats. There's an alley near a Kuan Yin temple sells lot's of food.Tried the porridge & noodles there.

We had myanmar economy rice near Shwedagon Pagoda & opp Uni of Yangon. Cost 5 of us 5500 - 6500 kyats. Got lot of dishes..dishes are in a separate plate.Best way to try out local food...taste wise ok lar..edible. Dont expect it like Thai food.


Took bus (flight is also available - Air Bagan)- 9 hrs. depart at 7pm
Fare - 15000 kyat per way
Bus Company - Shwe Mandalar (there could be more than 1 bus company travel there). Ask hotel to buy
Their bus service is good & clean. They provide fleece, small pillow, a bottle of water, tooth brush & paste and a wet towel (better than AA flight :-) ). They made 2 stops on d highway.Very clean R & R and modern. As good as our R & R. Make sure the taxi take you right to the bus company where your bus is. The station is super big , dark and signages

Hotel - Aung Mingalar. Walking distance from where the bus drop us. Booked thru Agoda @ USD40 nett with bfast. Convenient location. When we reached there it was very dark (4am) & cold. Luckily hotel very near. And Shwezigone temple is right in front the hotel. Matress soft like sponge also. Aircond OK. Hot water not really working. TV sometimes OK....ESPN,HBO & chinese channel By the way, take a look at the mini bar what they have inside n snap a picture.They claimed we drank a coke n ask us to pay which we didnt. No floor mat . This place has lot's trees around however very dusty.Lobby like never mob. Wifi have to pay....very kedekut (stingy)

Drop our bag at the hotel when we reached. Then rent a bycycle @ 2000 kyat/2500 per day (depending on what type of bicycle)to catch the sunrise at 6.00am. make sure your bicycle's break is working, tyre got air and seat is comfortable. Dunno where we are heading to but a lot of ppl r cycling, so we just follow. Or just ask ppl around who woke up early. It was awesome as the sunrise. see it for yourself. We are actually heading old Bagan. Is a good exercise to cycle. And after the sunrise visit the rest of the ruins & temples. Must take off shoes if you are going to climb the pagoda to take photos

 Anadaphaya temple - 900yrs old

 one of the 4 standing buddha @Anandaphaya temple

Or you may rent a horse cart @ 15000 kyat - 18000 kyat..per day. 2 - 3 pax per cart.

The bus actually drop us at Nyaung U - is near the market u can cycle there to take a peek. Nothing much on shopping.

Nyaung -U a bit dirty & dusty. Food can be very oily.My advise eat in a bit expensive restaurant. Dont eat roadside food. Mohinga food is very famous here.You may want to try but becareful...choose clean place to eat.Try to drink lassi also.

Hygiene is an issue here. Food may cause diarrhea (we experienced it during the trip to Bagan).Therefore it is advisable to bring along charcoal & Immodium. Hardly see any pharmacy there. And you probably dont understand the medication provided.

Mohinga Food

You may choose to go back Yangon by early bus also should there be nothing much to see. Or continue your journey to mandalay or Inle Lake. Or head to Mt Popa- 1 hr drive from Bagan. Cost Approximately 35000 - 45000 kyat per car. you may ask hotel or outside operators for the price.

Other hotels you may look into May Khar lar Guest house (budget), thiri marlar hotel (better & comfortable). Eden Motel, NewPark Hotel...Read their review at TripAdvisor.


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