Made it to Yangon, Myanmar which is in the southern part of the country. My first impression of Myanmar is everything that I hoped for and more. Beautiful golden temples peaking through the lush city canopy, monks strolling around in maroon gowns, and that raw untouched feeling that I was searching for. Honestly I am afraid to write about this wonderful country for my own selfish reasons. I don’t want tourism to change this place. It is changing though but they are wanting to keep their culture. The traditional clothes are worn still. They actually have a word for people who wear both tradional and western garb. Sorry I don’t remember the name. Both men and women wear the dress-like wrap called a longya but to the western world it is similar as sorrang. I have to say it is very comfortable in the hot temperatures.
From what I have seen so far, people are extremely polite. In traffic, people let each other in and give a curtious wave. This is nothing like I have encountered traveling so far. India and Nepal were more like aggressive games of chicken that every driver played. Experiencing the last minute dodge of death and the driver willing to kill us both was something I just got use to. I think I even started getting into it. “Wait! Wait! Wait! You got this! Don’t pull over for this guy! He’s going to chicken out!” When I was in my first taxi in Myanmar, I actually noticed “the fact” that drivers in Myanmar don’t play that game. I then came back to my senses and remembered yes that is a much better way to drive. I then applauded my driver for his generous move and thanked him for not risking our lives.
All my taxi drivers have been really good to me. I am guilty of not being able to pronounce the street names correctly and have been taken to the wrong destinations multiple of times. I say Pazundaung road and they think Pansondan road. The driver doesn’t try to up any charges or get frustrated. I just pull out my map and figure out where we are. We then work as a team to get me to correct destination.
The golden temples in Yangon are some of the most impressive that I have ever seen. The evening sun reflects beautiful rays of light off these golden towers and makes for spectacular sunset watching. Walking around downtown Yangon, I haven’t seen too many tourist which is what I heard it was going to be like. Few locals have approached me offering directions or suggested places to go. The thing that is different about Myanmar is that these individuals aren’t trying to sell me anything and don’t end the conversation with “give me money.” They are just friendly individuals wanting to do good deeds. I’m not saying that there is none of that but I haven’t experienced it yet. There is a sign in the train station that says be friendly and welcome tourists.
I even found a coffee roaster (Genius Coffee) in Yangon that does a proper pour over coffee with freshly roasted coffee beans! It was so good!
I heard about a 3 hour commuter train loop where locals take the train to commute to and from work which I decided to take. I wanted to see what the areas around town and see more of the town. It was an aged train that made me feel like I was traveling a 100 years ago. The exciting ride bounced up and down and clunked as it moved down the track. I wasn’t sure if was going to pop off the track or fall to pieces but I was loving the real life carnival ride.
After 3 days in Yangon which I absolutely loved, I ended up taking another overnight train to Bagan which was equally as fun or if not more. I was warned about about getting sea sick as the train really sways back and forth the whole time. It was definitely a bouncy ride! People suggested the shorter overnight bus but I would rather take the train. And I would do that train again! The train carts actually disconnected at one point and we had to wait for them to reconnect. haha That was great!
Train being reconnected.