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Thursday, 30 June 2016

Myanmar (Burma) 2016

Yangon-Bagan Escape

 (Saturday night) June 18, 2016 

Checked in Esperado hotel and it cost me 79$ with oh well nice room, reasonable breakfast with Shwedagon Pagoda view. Min and Wai picked me up the next day (Sunday) and they helped me booked bus tickets to Bagan. They also took me to Shwedagon pagoda but first we had lunch and the boys bought me a traditional skirt. It was a lot of fun because I never thought I would meet CJ (my former Vietnamese student in Da Nang) in Myanmar after two years. I still remember the last time we saw each other two years ago; we were in the cafe in Dong Hoi and we promised to see each other someday somewhere perhaps Tokyo.  So, yesterday was amazing because both of us were surprised when we found ourselves in Yangon. 
In the evening I took the bus to Bagan from Yangon. We arrived in Bagan at 430am (Monday) and I just took a cab to Popa Mountain resort for 40,000ks. It was a 90-minute-drive. It was quite scary on the way because the road was pitch dark, the driver drove really fast, and looked like he was going to dump me anytime along the way while he made a few stops trying to convince me to take his sightseeing tour. Seriously, I had never been this brave. I know right? I usually travel alone... and I find it exciting but not that morning. 

Monday: (June 20, 2016) 
Yes, the driver safely took me to the resort and I checked-in. It costs me 75$ a night, and since I checked-in early morning there wasn't any breakfast included, so I had to pay $10 extra for a small Ala Carte. Anyway, staffs here are nice and somehow helpful. I took the sightseeing-taxi tour for 80,000ks. This is quite expensive but I understand because Mt. Popa is far from old Bagan. By the way, I booked tickets back to Yangon at 830am Tuesday. The sightseeing tour was fine except that I thought I've had enough of pagodas and temples from Vietnam to Siem Reap, anyway.

Tuesday: (June 21, 2016)
The mountain resort was kind of “nostalgic”, that on my last day, I just wanted to go back home. I had an early breakfast, made sure to take more photos of the view, the staff, and took the last sip of my coffee passionately. Honestly, I don’t like the resort’s breakfast because it’s way too expensive and too small for a huge tummy like mine, but it’s a perfect place to relax as there isn’t any wifi. Anyhow, the resort’s driver took me to the bus station and we left Bagan at 830am. I was sitting with a Burmese woman, and she didn’t fail to smile at me each time I tried to ask her if she wanted to turn on the A/C. On our first stop for lunch, I had time to check with Min and told him I was on my way back to Yangon. 
To make the story short, I arrived in Aung Mingalar Bus Station (Yangon) at 5PM. Since, I almost ran out of cash and didn’t have any idea which hotel to stay for a night; I went to the airport and got a room at Seasons International Airport Hotel for $60. Hmnn.. to me it was quite too much for the fair service and the breakfast. Then I met Wai, Min and CJ in Hledan centre for a short chitchat and to pick up some gifts. That was really nice of them, so thoughtful. Since they had to go back to work, I went to Myanmar plaza to kill the time and headed to the airport at 4PM.

Popa local market


Guess what, 500 dollars won’t be enough for three days if you’re not wise enough to bargain with the cabs, and if you go there for the purpose of “treating” yourself for a holiday. I would be back, but to Inle and Mandalay for more travel photos and cultural immersion.
taken at one of the pagodas in Bagan
Shwedagon pagoda