A word of explanation.

Yangon Travel Blog

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This lady could not wait to show off the little one and why not?

I should undoubtedly start this journal with a word of explanation.  I have only just joined Travbuddy as one of the many very dedicated travel writers searching for a new travel  website after the wanton destruction of many years of our accumulated hard work on the Virtual Tourist site due to the seemingly insatiable corporate avarice of the pretty appalling Trip Advisor mega group.

Since "touching down" here, I have concentrated primarily on writing reviews which is what I like to do best and seem to have mastered that tolerably well despite my utter ineptitude regarding anything technical.  I have decided now that it is time to bite the bullet and attempt to write a journal as I believe they are called here.  The explanation I was going to offer is that I shall probably make a complete mess of doing it so please bear with me.

My very first Myanmar beer, certainly not to be my last.


The trip I  have chosen to try and start off on was a wonderful month in Burma / Myanmar in February 2006 although I can hardly believe it is that long as I remember it so vividly.  The primary reason is that I already have the images stored chronologically on my new laptop so that will make it easier.  I have to work that way or I just manage to omit so much I  want to write about.  I shall be using some of the text I managed to salvage from VT, obviously updated as required.

The other reason for choosing it is that my information is now so outdated and things have changed so much in many respects in that country that no review of mine is going to be of any use to anyone.  This way I do not have to try and cross-reference with reviews which may be a step too far just yet.
First room in Burma, and very comfotable too.
  This is merely an exercise in trying to master a new skill and hopefully showcase some of the 1000+ images I took whilst there.

Additionally, the website will not allow me to go back to 2006 so I have had to default to 2007 which will obviously make all the days of the week wrong!

When I visited there were no direct flights from UK because of certain sanctions then in place amongst other things and so I had to go through Bangkok on what was a pleasant enough flight with Thai Air although tedious as I always find long-haul.  At 6'5" I can never get to sleep in cattle (economy) class and so I was glad to eventually get to Rangoon which was not a huge airport and seemed to have a disproportionate amount of uniforms round it but, to be fair to them, they processed me efficiently and courteously and I headed out to the taxi rank.
Cute kids, I met a lot of those!


Ordinarily I don't ever take an airport taxi as they are invariably a rip-off but I was just so shattered and had not researched the bus situation.  As it turned out I would have been wasting my time as the bus does not go within a mile of where I was staying which was an excellet guesthouse called Motherland 2.  As I mentioned above, doing a review would be pointless so I shall reprint here what I wrote at the time, suitably edited.

"If you're not in need of the facilities of a 5 star hotel (Internet access, pool and so on) with all that implies in Myanmar, you need look no further than this place. It's spotless, friendly and very good value.
Personally, I don't like air-con rooms, they always give me a bad throat, so the fan room at 8 dollars US per night (2006 prices) was most acceptable.
A wonderful Hindu temple.
The first image on this entry is a picture of the room (single occupancy of a twin room).
The staff couldn't be more helpful, and they all speak English to varying degrees.
Breakfast is good, the usual eggs (as you like them), banana, orange juice, tea or coffee, all included in the price. The room I had also boasted an en-suite bathroom with hot water constantly available.
On the day I left, they offered me a free lift to the airport. This trip normally costs either 5 or 6 US dollars, so effectively my room had cost me 2 dollars. They also do a couple of runs to the airport to meet the most popular flights, so it really works out cost effective if you book in advance.
I can't speak highly enough of this place. The guidebook says it is a long walk into town, but I managed it every day with no problem.
They just drive the train up the road here.
Let's be honest, you're here to see the place, not run about in a taxi all day.
Highly recommended. and not just by me, it seems. The place seems constantly full of travellers."

I really had a great time there.

After a bit of a lie down, I decided to take a short walk locally as I still was not properly orientated so I kept it fairly close to home.  Even so, I saw my first Hindu temple in Burma and a train literally driving down the middle of the road which surprised me a touch.  I also had my first exposure to a couple of Burmese phenomena which I was to get very accustomed to.  The first is that youngsters will approach you frequently, point at the camera, pose (usually pretty self-consciously) and then show absolute delight when you show them the image.
A game of kick volleyball.


The second is what I believe is properly known as Chinlon.  As the heat of the day declines in the afternoon, and before the light goes, you will find groups of young men indulging in an odd mix of volleyball and football (soccer), which is apparently the sporting activity of choice. Sometimes, as shown in the pictures, it's a reasonably formal affair with a net, but mostly it's just a bunch of blokes standing on a bit of pavement, or in the middle of the road, kicking round a small ball made of bamboo.
I never quite worked out the scoring system (if, indeed, there is one) but it appears the idea is to keep the ball in the air by any means excluding the hand and arms. Some of the players are extremely skillful and demonstrate a variety of novelty kicks.
My first glimpse of the Ayerawaddy River.

If you feel so inclined, you will be made most welcome for a kickabout although a couple of clumsy attempts on my part soon relegated me to the ranks of interested spectator any time I was asked.

My next port of call (pun absolutely intended) was to wander down to the Irrawaddy / Ayerawaddy river which is very much the life blood of the whole country.  It was getting dusk and I am a sucker for a sunset image like most people although when I got there the haze that seems to hang over the city so often was much in evidence so I didn't get great images but I did stand and watch the bustling river life for a while which was interesting.

On the way back I decided to get a bite to eat altough I was not ragingly hungry as my body clock was still a bit out of whack and so when I got my bearings OK I wandered into the May Kyin Shan restaurant.
I didn't fancy this at all.


This was the first Shan restaurant I ate in in Yangon (Rangoon) as I had not bothered at teatime and it was a great choice, brought on more by good luck than good judgement on my part as I say. It is a fairly typical local establishment, where you sit outside on the street to eat.  It was certainly warm enough to do so in a T-shirt.
A trip through the kitchen showed it to be clean and tidy, and the food was certainly good and inexpensive.
The staff were friendly and efficient and although there is an English menu there was little English spoken. This might account for my somewhat incomplete knowledge about what is actually in the jars pictured. As best I could make out they are some sort of medicinal drinks, although a quick sniff suggested they might be medicinal insofar as they would get you so drunk you'd forget about your ailments! I'll drink most things and have done but politely declined this offer.
More ittle posers.


Be aware that, like most places in town, it stops serving at about 2130 hours.  I even had the obligatory cute kids come up to pose while I was waiting for my spare ribs which were very good.  I could just about live on spare ribs and they certainly know how to do them here.  I thought I had had a pretty good first evening in a very few hours and no more than a mile from my guesthouse at any point but there was one more very pleasant surprise left.

As I was wandering down a pretty well unlit street I came upon the four lads you can see pictured sitting take it in turns to strum on a guitar that I would not have given houseroom but they seemed to be enjoying it so I stopped for a chat.  It is no surprise that it was unlit as I was subsequently to find out that the only street lighting in the city then was confined to a very small area of "downtown".
My new found musical mates.


I know most of the VT migrants here know that I am a musician of no fixed ability although other readers may not and there is nothing I like better than a jam with the locals somewhere so, with a little halting English I took off on a few old Western standards (Eagles, Dylan, America and the like) which they greeted with an enthusiasm out of all proportion to the quality of the renditions.  It was indeed a very happy planxty that completed the last lap to the guesthouse.

I know I probably shouldn't do it but I tend to form an opinion about a city and / or country fairly quickly and I had already formed the opinion I was going to like it here.

I was not to be proved wrong!

planxty says:
What, it got featured? I haven't even looked. Thanks so much for the heads up guys. I'm off to look now. I have been so busy just trying to transfer my old VT content here I rarely even look at the front page.

I really cannot believe this.
Posted on: Apr 02, 2017
Cho says:
I had a feeling this travel blog was going to be featured sooner or later. So, hearty congratulations! Oh, thanks very much for the friend request too.
Posted on: Apr 02, 2017
HORSCHECK says:
Fergy, congrats on your featured blog. Well don and well deserved. I especially like the photos of the local children.
Posted on: Apr 02, 2017
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This lady could not wait to show o…
This lady could not wait to show …
My very first Myanmar beer, certai…
My very first Myanmar beer, certa…
First room in Burma, and very comf…
First room in Burma, and very com…
Cute kids, I met a lot of those!
Cute kids, I met a lot of those!
A wonderful Hindu temple.
A wonderful Hindu temple.
They just drive the train up the r…
They just drive the train up the …
A game of kick volleyball.
A game of kick volleyball.
My first glimpse of the Ayerawaddy…
My first glimpse of the Ayerawadd…
I didnt fancy this at all.
I didn't fancy this at all.
More ittle posers.
More ittle posers.
My new found musical mates.
My new found musical mates.
He wanted to pose.
He wanted to pose.
They all wanted to pose!
They all wanted to pose!
River life ia always busy.
River life ia always busy.
More river life.
More river life.
My first venture into Burmese cuis…
My first venture into Burmese cui…
Another cute kid.
Another cute kid.
The local bicycle shop.
The local bicycle shop.
They love this game here.
They love this game here.
Yangon
photo by: aleksflower