The city. Always my least favourite leg of the trip. Everything about it defies my idea of “getting away” because I live in a city. But of course, foreign cities are always different.
We nicknamed the scary washroom the Saw toilet because it looked like a perfect location for a sick Saw game.
The hotel’s lobby already looked dodgy as hell, and we made the mistake of not viewing the room before paying for the night. The worse part was the staircase that smelled like pee. The place looks like an old person’s home, and everything in it felt icky — even though the towels and sheets were clean.
We enquired about a day trip to the Golden Rock at the reception, and found out that the bus journey took an entire night, and the other option, private cars, cost about 150,000k (USD153). Plus, the hotels at the top of the hill there are costly too. So we decided to skip the whole thing, leaving us with too much time in Yangon.
Visiting cities as tourists is often just a series of mediocre stops to me. (That’s why I procrastinated over writing this post for months.) So here’s a quick low-down on the tourist things what we did in Yangon.
Breakfast the next morning at Lucky Seven. It was peculiar how it looked like an authentic Hong Kong char chan teng. And the food was extremely good and unbelievably cheap.
We had all of that, including a drink each, and it added up to a whopping 4,000k (USD4)!!! It was seriously one of the best meals we’ve had the whole trip. Kudos to the Lonely Planet guidebook for recommending this place!
Since we’re spoilt princesses who cannot take Thamada’s gritty appeal, we decided to forgo the night (even though we’ve paid) and check into Myanmar Life Hotel instead.
Then we headed back to the hotel to bask in its comfort and hid from the scorching afternoon sun before heading out for an adventurous night. We’ve booked a night cycling tour with Bike World (it’s a hostel too) for 15,000K (USD15) each.
We set off from Bike World’s hostel on our awesome city bikes, and joined forces with a huge group of expat and local cyclists at another bike shop in the middle of town. I think there were 60 bikes in all.
And we were right to be afraid…
As soon as the “tour” commenced, everyone sped off. It was an exhilarating challenge trying to figure out the gears, cycling as fast as I can go (up some painful slopes), watching out for the traffic, and trying not to lag behind. Soon the group split into two, with Ade and I trailing the group that was ahead. The local guides were of a big help as they watched out for us and stopped on coming traffic at busy junctions. So I simply rode with a tunnel vision, willing my thighs and catching my breath as I cycled for my life. The thought of lagging further behind and left stranded in the middle of the road was enough to make me go faster.
The only sightseeing I managed to do was during a break, as the only thing I saw while cycling was the tarmac in front of me.
Next evening, we paid Yangon’s most important attraction a visit.
It’s pretty amazing to stand at the foot of this ancient structure and admire its grandeur, but part of it was taken away by the swarms of tourists buzzing around.
And the entire place is gilded in gold!
I still feel it’s inappropriate to have a place so unnecessarily decadent when most of the population is in deep poverty. It just doesn’t make any sense to me. In my (perhaps ignorant) eyes, wealth is extremely misplaced here.
And we’re finally down to our last meal in Myanmar. So I decided to make it extra special with…
But the rest of the dishes at on 19th street in Chinatown was pretty tame.
What an amazing trip it has been, with lakes, mountains, ancient pagodas, dessert lands, beaches, and great food. I left Myanmar feeling like I barely scratched the surface because there’s so much more to explore, and I should really make it a point to return before it turns into another tourist hub.