I think we are city people. Every time we arrive in a new one we are overwhelmed but quickly adjust and normally appreciate whatever craziness it chooses to throw at us. Whether that is an endless stream of mopeds and scooters that prevent us crossing roads (thank you Hanoi) or the constant attention from street sellers in most of the Indian cities. Yangon was another city we fell for. The mix of awesome pagodas slathered in gold, super friendly people in our hostel and ice cold fruit smoothies in our newly discovered favourite drinks shop (Cha time) meant we fell hard and quick for this bustling city.
Yangon apartment blocks:
Yangon isn’t receiving the mass influx of Chinese money like Mandalay and since it lost capital status to Naypyidaw a lot of its buildings have been left a bit decrepit.
The ban on scooters and the existence of pavements means navigating the city is easy on foot. The taxis are cheap but we were trying to save so we walked everywhere in the 40 degree heat. It made the smoothies even better!
Quiet Yangon street (taken at like 6am before the daily traffic jam starts):
Shwedagon pagoda is probably the most famous sight in the city and appeared to be the top draw for teenagers hanging out escaping the midday sun and making use of the free wifi.
Pinion burning her feet:
A monk braving the hot tiles:
Considered to be the most sacred pagoda in Myanmar, this place is immense. The stupa itself is ridiculously high and covered in gold. The floor tiles were really hot, and as you are not allowed to wear shoes or socks in the complex we spent most of our time rushing around to find shady areas and posing for photos whilst our feet cooked underneath us.
Another pagoda across the road from the mammoth Shwedagon complex was a bit surreal, it was kitted out with fake foliage resembling a forest (the heat was making me grumpy and so I didn’t take any photos). Over pagoda’d we walked back to downtown where we stopped for what Pinion claims was the best (Non-alcoholic) drink she’s ever had, a lychee frost. This was the day before we discovered my new love Cha-time, the home of the half sugar mango smoothie that is also known as heaven in a plastic cup.
Our second day in Yangon was also spent ‘pagodaring’, the Sule pagoda is located in the middle of a roundabout. Crossing over to it made me more grateful than ever that scooters are banned in this city. It was a pretty nice place to relax and watch people making offerings to the many Buddha statues.
Sule pagoda in the middle of a busy roundabout:
It really is right in the city centre:
It is also very gold:
The Sule pagoda also has an important claim of being located close to Cha-Time. Ice cold drinks gave us the energy to tackle booking train tickets. Fearing queues in the style of India or back home during rush hour we headed to the booking office. Fortunately the place was empty. We purchased tickets for the train to Bagan on the following day and retreated back to our hostel. Reading other blogs about this route had given us the fear, it had been described as ‘the worst travel experience of our lives‘ by other travellers and so we stocked up on beer and snacks. Nothing ever seems so bad if you have beers and snacks.
Pinion fighting the crowds in the booking office: