An October 2002 trip
to Myanmar by romaunt
Quote: It was a journey into an unknown land. The locals are kind Buddhist souls who perserve this quiet Asian land. The problem is that the current government controls the people under a strict military rule. Read up on Myanmar before entering this enchanted land.
As a tourist, you will think that you are free to do what you want. But I found out that tourists are only allowed in a certain area of the country and they are preventing from seeing a large section of the country. The main tourist path is from Yangon to Mandalay to Bagan and then back. If you can venture off the path and see some of the villages and smaller towns. The locals will welcome you with a "Hey you!" and open their homes with smiles.
So the price was right, the staff is very friendly, you can pay by FEC, and after seeing the public restroom and showers I am glad that I got my own bath. The room is basic with a bed and little room for much more. There is one sheet on the bed and a pillow. I had to reach up to switch the air-con because I realize that the staff at set it on low to save money. :)
Oh, I did have one fellow traveler that said that his bathroom flooded the floor in his room and drenched his suitcase. So keep your pack on your bed and watch the water flow.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 17, 2003
Garden Guest House
No. 441-445 Mahabandoola Rd.
One of the managers at the guesthouse that I was staying at recommended this restaurant. He said that the food was good and with Indian food you are almost guaranteed vegetarian meals. It was only a couple of blocks from the guesthouse and I found myself surrounded my locals. Luckily for me, the menu was in English and the food was good.
My one problem with the place was the young waiters that serve you. These young men are children and working hard. If you take a look into the kitchen you will also see that chefs are young boys. The manager sits behind a booth and oversees the restaurant while yelling at the waiters. I felt sorry for these hardworking boys. They looked like they should be in school, but are probably working for the money to feed themselves and their families.
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on July 17, 2003
*Small hint* If you don't want to pay for the foreigner fee, that get to the Pagoda early in the morning and make sure to leave before the guides start at 8am.
The foreigners fee is $5 and they might want charge you for a camera, so keep it in your bag while paying for your ticket. :) It is custom to take off your shoes and socks before walking up the steps and while visiting the pagoda. The scenery is beuatiful and the pagoda is huge. Layered with gold along with beautiful tiles and breathtaking statues. Follow the crowds of worshipers and make sure to notice which direction they are walking in.
The story is the pagoda was built on Singuttara Hill on top of another pagoda. The are is believed to be sacred because it holds the relics of three past Buddhas. Besides feeling the history behind this enormious structure one is amazed by the jewels and mass gold that covers the pagoda. The lower stupa is plated with 8,688 solid gold bars, an upper part with another 13,153. The tip of the stupa, far too high for the human eye to discern in any detail, is set with 5448 diamonds, 2317 rubies, saphires, and other gems, 1065 golden bells, and at the very top, a single 76-carat daimond.
Now, everyone that you talk to in Yangon will ask you if you have seen the Shwedagon Pagoda and I will tell you that you can't leave the city without circling the sacred site. If you get lost, ask around and you will be able to find someone that can point you in the direction of the pagoda.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 17, 2003
Shwedagon Pagoda Road
Good things come to those who wait. So I waited and did get the opportunity to celebrate the full moon in the city. There was a celebration in every pagoda throughout the streets. As the sun started to set, people were decorating doorways, lighting candles at the local shops, and decorating sidewalks with lit candles. I knew that thousands people would be heading to the Shwedogan pagoda so I decided to head to a smaller celebration. I walked along the streets with many other people as they flocked to the pagodas. Burmese carried offerings of food, flowers, and many candles. I found a pagoda by the water a short walk from the Strand Hotel. (the place to stay if you have the money, I mean lots of money) The people welcomed me and a honored the Buddha and shared my prayers. I made an offering and took many photos as the sunset. As soon as the sky was dark, they started lighting the candles that were lined up on the ground and saying something. I couldn't tell you what the candles said but I can tell you that it was beautiful.
The celebrations lasted all night long. I didn't last so long, but I could hear the fireworks going off all night long. :)
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 17, 2003
San Diego, California