M-Y-A-N-M-A-R.

I am usually the one lifting eyebrows when I tell people that I will be travelling to X country on my own. The words ‘on my own’ will not be digested properly by the listener and it will be usually followed by the question ‘by YOURSELF?’

Yes, sugar. That’s what ‘on my own’ means. In fact, lone female travellers are becoming a norm.

Then I drop a clincher: I am going to Myanmar. Not super polite Japan or uber friendly South Korea (these two places are quite safe for foreign women travelling alone + all hostels will have girls-only domitories). M-Y-A-N-M-A-R. Where they are ruled by the military and the hostels have curfews. Actually, the military makes it difficult for bad things to happen. The Burmese are known to be polite (though things may get a bit expensive due to the difference between local and foreigner prices).

I will be in the country for only 3.5 days as I have squandered my off days on my trip to Europe earlier this year. I will be taking advantage of Singapore’s 2-day public holiday + weekend stretch in August to go on this trip (National Day and Hari Raya Puasa).

Since I am in town for such a short time, I decided to concentrate my exploring efforts in Yangon. August is also the rainy season in Myanmar and I have read that it rains a lot, so I will probably bring a pair of slippers or (do I dare?) my Wellingtons. Hmm. Tempting.

Accommodations
There aren’t many affordable places to stay in while in Yangon, but I have read that Chan Myae Guesthouse in the middle of the city is a great place to stay. The drawback to this place (so far) was that I had to call in order to make a reservation, and the phone connection wasn’t the best. The lady who picked up spoke rather good English but I suspect her rude manner was due to the fact that she had to strain to hear me over Skype+Burmese phone connection. She hung up on me the first time I called but she got my reservation the second time. Good thing too, because I was running out of Skype credit.

Places to See
I think my list is rather ambitious as I have the tendency to linger in markets or places for long periods of time. Still, I suppose I can get to the other places on another longer trip which (hopefully) will include Bagan. Places are listed in terms of priority.

#1: Shwedagon Pagoda
 photo 240px-Shwedagon-Pano_zps6f1d2fc9.jpg
Picture from here.

Huge golden pagodas! I’m sure I don’t have to explain why this is on the top of this list.

#2: Bogyoke Aung San Market
 photo bogyoke-aung-san-market-yangon-1_zpsa05c2abf.jpg
Picture from here.

I love markets. The hustle, the bustle and the bargaining. This is on my itinerary for my first day because I want to get a cotton longyi and a bottle of fish sauce for some Vietnamese kids I know. Maybe two bottles of fish sauce since I love the stuff myself. I might get a couple of souvenirs/snacks for the office too. It would help greatly if someone could supply me with information for the following questions:

  1. Where can I get a longyi (which stall at the market is the most reliable/famous)?
  2. How much should a cotton longyi of reasonable quality cost?
  3. What are some snacks I should bring back for the office?

Any other information which might help me would be useful too!

#3: Sule Pagoda + Magabandoola Gardens + Independent Monument + Mirrored pagoda + Mausoleum of Bahadur Shah Zafar
 photo u_tin_aung_tun_021b76_sule_pagoda_night_scence_view_yangon_zps0cd98061.jpg
Picture from here.

I have read that these places are right next to each other, and people usually skip the Mausoleum as it’s not as famous as the pagodas in town. BUT the Mausoleum is the destination for Muslim pilgrims to town. The trip to the Magabandoola Gardens might have to be in the morning. This would probably take up a good part of a single day.

#4: The Circle Line
 photo yangon_circle_line_train_zps558f8533.jpg
Picture from here.

Yangon’s equivalent of the Singapore’s mass rapid transit system. Also known as the land version of the ‘Cruise to Nowhere’ that some people are fond of. This round trip cost US$1 (foreigner price) and takes 3-4 hours to complete. Along the journey, the foreigner may see glimpses of life on the outskirts of Yangon city. Foreigners taking this trip have to produce their passport and sit near the front of the train. Food sold by food hawkers on board cost extra.

#5: Chinatown
 photo china-town-yangon-night_zpsd1d6bad1.jpg
Picture from here.

I like visiting the Chinatowns in the different countries I go to as it is interesting to see how Chinese customs have evolved and adapted to local customs. Also, food should be good. Chinatown is usually the best place to get souvenirs for the people back home. Right? I am supposed to go to Latha Road to experience Chinatown in Yangon.

So, here’s my list of places to see while I am in Yangon.
I think it is a little ambitious, but I know me: chances are that I will drop some places from this list.

What do you think about my list?

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