We have been here in Yangon, Myanmar for over a week now. This city is gritty, chaotic yet beautiful and bubbling with so much energy and enthusiasm at the same time.
One week isn’t long, but neither is it too short to fully experience a city. Our first three nights were spent in a B&B in downtown Yangon. On our first day, we walked down Strand Road, made a turn and came across a large night market, full of hawkers selling food and makeshift stalls peddling all kinds of items.
As we walked on, we found ourselves at Maha Bandula Park and not far off, was the Sule Pagoda. It stands as an island in the middle of a roundabout, splendid and shimmering.
We met up with a Singaporean friend who lives in Yangon, who took us to dinner at Shan Yoe Yar, a popular restaurant serving Shan cuisine. We had Shan noodles and shared additional dishes. One egg dish, in particular, was absolutely delicious.
The second and third day were spent gem shopping at Bogyoke Market and the Gem Museum respectively. R managed to meet his Burmese gem dealer friend and I suspect that he will be meeting her again before we leave.
We also went to Junction City, the newest mall to open in Yangon, and Myanmar Plaza, one of the city’s largest malls. Stepping into these malls was like being transported back to Singapore — great if you need a respite from the chaos, not so great if you need a respite from Singapore.
We met up with Mel, another friend who lives in Yangon, and she introduced us to some local food places she frequents. One of these was Lucky Seven, where we got to try mohinga, milk noodles and prata. Yes, like Singapore, Myanmar has prata too.
In the evening, she brought us to a local beer garden to have barbecue and drinks. By the the third night however, we succumbed to our Singaporean taste buds and had Aston’s for dinner.
We moved to a hotel on our fourth day, choosing it for its proximity to the city centre as R was going to have a number of meetings there. Much of the day was then spent catching up with work before we had hotpot dinner and retired to our room.
The next few days became some of the most interesting experiences I’ve had in Yangon. I attended a conference, visited a special school in the outskirts, and even went cycling on an island. More in the next post.