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Sunday, April 3, 2016

Birthday Trip in Myanmar

Birthday Trip in Myanmar



Here comes our first trip outside the country for this year, Hello Myanmar! 4 days down the road of Myanmar with our backpacks with us every night and woke up in another place each day, a place worth exploring. It's pretty amazing that we'd spent each single day exploring one place and found ourselves walking in another place the next day. It's even more amazing when I got my birthday celebrated in another country and that happened on the 3rd day of our Myanmar trip. Ooops, 2 years in a row I got myself wandering overseas during my birthday. Wonderin' where will I be next year!

Day 1. "Mingalaba", the word we first knew from our trip, found it right after stepping in the land of Myanmar, Yangon Airport, which means "Greetings". We'd got our smiles up to our ears when we had our walk going to the immigration. We still couldn't believe it that we were in Myanmar when it felt just a few hours ago we were very busy in each of our own cubicle. 

First stop is in Yangon. Yangon City is the largest city of Myanmar and almost an hour away from the international airport. We'd spent not much time in here because we were leaving for Bagan that night. We had our first stop at Kandawgyi Lake, one of the major lakes in Yangon where we you can have a picturesque and serene view. It also has a number of restaurants and cafes in the area. It is surrounded by a green, tree-filled park and hosts the imposing Karaweik, a replica of a royal barge located on the eastern side of the lake. 

Next destination in Yangon, is the Shwedagon Pagoda. It is a popular destination for tourists, the most sacred religious place in Yangon where thousands of Buddhists people gathered to exercise their beliefs and pray to Buddha, and thousands of tourists visited to witness the truly awe-inspiring monument. Besides the main structure are an array of smaller shrines, temples and statues. All of them are shimmering magnificently on bright sunlight.

It was around 4pm when we went out from the pagoda, time to grab some food for early dinner and head towards the bus terminal for our overnight bus trip to Bagan. It was more or less an hour travel from the City to the terminal of JJ Express, the bus company of our booked ticket. We have booked and paid ahead the ticket through their online booking at http://myanmarbusticket.com . We highly recommend JJ express from all other buses. They do have spacious bus and a small tv is provided on each seat. Refreshments on board was also served. Blankets was provided but please do bring a jacket with you as the temperature gets colder during the night. 

Day 2. We arrived at around 5:30am in Bagan Bus Terminal. As we alight in the bus, a number of taxi drivers offers their ride, make sure you made  a deal with the driver beforehand. We then headed up to the temple to catch the sunrise. On our way, we paid 25000 kyats per head at the Bagan Main Entrance, one-time payment as admission fee for all tourist which will also serve as entrance fee on all the pagodas. It was still dark when we head up to the temple, just in time for us to catch the sunrise. A number of people were on their way too. The temple was quite high and it needed us to climb up by the narrow steps on its side. A bit crowded during the morning, so make sure you get yourself to the less crowded area to get a better view of the sunrise. It is usually not the very top spot as a lot of people went to the topmost, so we stepped down to the lower level. Waiting for the sun to rise is pretty awesome. And it's even more awesome when it started to lit up the whole place. The place is so majestic. Exposing the beauty of Bagan gradually is simply beautiful and amazing. The next full day in Bagan was spent exploring the famous Temple in the area. We can either rent a normal bike, a motorbike, a taxi or a horse car. We initially planned to rent a bike but we ended up riding in a horse car. It was a good choice because on our way, the sun was too hot and the place to explore was quite big. It might had consumed all our energies for the next days 😆. We paid 25000 kyats for the full day tour for hiring the horse car. We ended our tour watching the magnificent sunset, then hurried up to catch the night bus to Inle Lake. We quickly fixed our things and took a shower. And heard a knock from the outside, it was the guesthouse staff calling us as the pick up vehicle for our next trip was already waiting outside. My friend quickly changed her clothes and boom, In a matter of few minutes, we found ourselves sitting again in the bus on our way to Inle Lake.

Day 3. Our night bus trip departed at around 8:30pm with a fare of 19USD. This time, we didn't booked with JJ express company because they didn't have any schedule departing from Bagan to Inle during night time. The bus we had at this time was not as comfortable and spacious as of the bus of JJ Express. But everything's alright, we arrived at Inle as scheduled. Upon entry to Inle Lake zone, tourists were required to pay 12500 kyats as entrance fee. We only had 1 day to explore Inle. Without further ado, we then proceed directly to the lake for our early boat tour. We were the earliest tourist that time. It was still dark when we started and the temperature was so cold. Our knees were trembling. We were still wearing our jackets this time since day 1, hahah 😆. As we sail early in the lake, we'd got the chance to witness the beautiful sunrise of Inle. It was amazing to observed one's sunrise in a new place. It felt like magic. I almost forgot that that day was my birthday. Oh yeah!!!! Well anyway, I already celebrated my birthday since day 1 of this trip. While we were very busy capturing photos in the midst of the rising sun, the villagers were also very busy doing their daily activities for their daily living. Some had started rowing their boat for transporting their goods. On the other hand, fishermen in the lake were out and started sailing away to catch fishes on their way. These fishermen were not as ordinary fishermen we knew, they were unique and perhaps as far as I know, it was only in Inle. They were known as Intha people, they became the major attraction for tourists because of the uniqueness of their way of fishing by using one leg in maneuvering the boat. It is simply admirable. We'd spent half day of exploring the village of Inle but still there we're a lot to explore. Time's up and we need to get up and proceed to our scheduled activity. Well oh, we don't have any planned activity next but then we need to change some money as we didn't have enough local money anymore. So, we sailed back to the place wherein we took a motor car ride towards the main city of Nyaung Shwe that costs 2000 kyats per head. We requested the driver to drop us up in a money changer, walking distance to the bus terminal for our night trip. Luckily, the exchange rate in Inle was higher than that of in Yangon's Airport and they didn't have any maximum allowable money to change unlike the latter which only allowed us to change 100 Sgd per person. 

Having enough kyats on hand, we decided to pamper and treat ourselves. We indulged into a body scrub, wash n blow our hair and took shower in the nearby spa place (Amaradavi Day Spa). Feeling refreshed, we headed back and decided to take our time on a nearby restaurant and had our feast for my birthday 😆 while waiting for our time to depart back to Yangon. At around 5:30, we finished everything and put back our backpacks on ready for the last night bus trip. We booked JJ express again through their facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/jjexpressbus/ ). You simply sent them a message of your desired trip for reservation and pay later on the date of your trip. Our trip from Inle to Yangon costs around 23300 kyats per person that includes dinner. Unfortunately, there's no way for us to squeeze more in our stomach as we were very full prior to our departure, so we decided to just request for an orange juice. And they gave us orange juice with a pair of cookies that solved our midnight snack in the trip. The bus company, JJ express also provided us shuttle bus either going to the airport or downtown of Yangon City (near the City Train Station) . 

Day 4. Early in the morning, we were  walking in the streets in the City of Yangon with nowhere to go. Luckily, we had our local friend's brother who had a taxi cab and just one SMS away he's there ready to fetch us. So in 10 minutes, he came and brought us to a nearby place where we had our breakfast. Then we decided to visit the National Races Village Union of Myanmar as he suggested where we had an hour of exploring and cycling. Admission fee costs 3000 kyats for foreigners and 500 kyats for locals. This village simply portrays the different 8 major ethnic groups or races in Myanmar as officially recognized by the Burmese government. We then decided to relax and just cool ourselves in the nearby shopping mall in the city wherein we can buy some Myanmar products / souvenirs to bring home. Unfortunately, we couldn't find any Myanmar keychains in the mall. With the help of our hired taxi driver who eventually I considered him as our tour guide in our Yangon stay, he brought us to Bogyoke Market when we were on our way to the Airport. And yes, we did bought few souvenirs there - keychains and some lucky charms for us and for our friends at home. An hour and a half travel from the City to Yangon's airport due to traffic jam at some places was just enough for us to arrive at the airport for our flight back to Singapore. This time it was the hardest part of our trip, I was still in the country of Myanmar but I was already missing Myanmar. I miss Bagan, I miss Inle Lake, I miss Yangon and I miss the night bus!

Finally, we're back in Singapore. And the next day will be the usual working day. Oh well, I love working because it is by working hard where I can travel harder. 

Save more and cheers for your next adventure!


A few words from my Guest Blogger:

"Just call me Ahdy, I just woke up from a deep sleep a year ago and realized that I need to go out from my box to explore the world. I made my first step and so far it's quiet fun and addicting. Now, I'm on my way to more travels and adventures with God's Grace."

2 comments:

  1. Very interesting blog. A lot of blogs I see these days don't really provide anything that attract others, but I'm most definitely interested in this one. Just thought that I would post and let you know.

    ReplyDelete

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