Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Myanmar Trip - Yangon

After four hours of stopover in Bangkok, I arrived in Yangon at around 1:30 in the afternoon on the 30th of September and yes, I was in a rush. Because I have only half day city tour and sadly to say, it was the only time I had to roam the city so I made it sure that it will be worth it. I was picked up by a car courtesy by the hotel (Summit Yangon Parkview). After a few minutes of rest inside the hotel room, I immediately went out and asked for a map from a receptionist. The location of the hotel is really good as it was a few minutes of walk towards the famous Shwedagon Paya.

Shwedagon Pagoda or Paya is the single most important religious site of all Myanmar. The pagoda stands on the top of Singuttara Hill and according to legend, that spot has been sacred since the beginning of time, just before our present world was created. I entered thru the Eastern gate and I have to climb up about 100 steps to reach the top. When I reached the top, wow it was a picturesque and it felt like I was surrounded by palaces. Color gold is the ultimate shade around the area. I toured the entire area and I think there were about almost a hundred temples around the pagoda and all of them were really nice!

After my experience in that pagoda, I roamed the city by feet and after an hour of walking, I took a taxi that brought me to a money changer. The taxi was not airconditioned and quite old. Most of the taxis I saw were the same in such gesture. While I was walking after I exchanged for kyat, an Indian-Burmese approached me and was asking if I'm a tourist and I said yes.

His name was Dave and after a few minutes of talking to each other, I realized that he was a good person. I asked of a good place where I can eat special Burmese foods and he brought me to this carinderia type. The place was full of people eating and I was delighted to see lots of choices of foods. We ordered fish, chicken, beef, soup and some vegetables and they were all delicious and were something new in my taste, I truly enjoyed it!

He then led me to Sule Pagoda (Sule Paya) which is located at the middle of the busiest intersection downtown Yagon. It is a 46cm octagonal stupa that according to the local story, was built 2000 years ago to house a strand of the Buddha's hair. Same to other pagoda, an entrance fee for foreigners is required and the shoes must be left in the counter. The surrounding was very much like the Shwedagon Paya and still, gold is the brightest color. The vibrant flash on the top of the Sule Paya was really beautiful. Around it were several small temples on which some of the locals were praying. It was getting late that I have to bid goodbye to Dave and I took a taxi again back to hotel. But before I sleep, I took an hour to swim first as my relaxing moment. I will definitely return to Myanmar and will make sure that I will visit Bagan.

More Myanmar pictures here.

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