Today in Myanmar – A New Myanmar Information Website

There is now a new Myanmar information website for the foreigners who want to know more about Myanmar. Today in Myanmar is a new website on Myanmar culture, custom, travel information, travel advice, Myanmar life, Myanmar food, interesting places in Myanmar, information on hotels, guest houses, restaurants and many other useful information on Myanmar. I was also invited to write articles related to Myanmar on this website on Myanmar. You can visit Today in Myanmar and give me some comments on the articles I write. [.....]  read more

Buses in Yangon (Rangoon)

Yangon Bus

Photo: BooBooToo2 If you ever traveled to Yangon for the first time, you will be amazed by the public buses running the streets of Rangoon. Not only are they old and worn out, they are also overcrowded. And some of them date back to the pre-world world 2 era. Many wooden buses from the colonial period still run the streets of Rangoon. They are old, dirty, crowded and break down easily and frequently. The roof is also quite low so tall passengers have to bend their neck and back when standing. However, those are not the only buses that run the streets of Rangoon. The government has imported larger, newer (comparatively)second hand buses from Japan and Korea in recent years. They are far more larger than the older buses and more comfortable, but most of them are already quite worn out and break down as often. Photo: Alain Badoual One thing you might notice in Yangon public buses is that they are overcrowded most of the time. Passengers were packed into buses like herds of animals. But people are quite used to this and do not complain much. Rangoon bus drivers and conductors are quite notorious for their rude behavior, carelessness and recklessness. More often than not, they shouted at the passengers push them roughly in and out of the bus, and break traffic laws easily. Although the punishment to this offense is a hefty fine and, for habitual offenders, a suspension of the driving/conductor license, most passengers accept this as a norm and don’t bother to complain. Photo: Jules1405 Fare for buses is charged depending on the sectors you travel. The trips are usually subdivided into two or more sectors, and fare is collected for each sector. Usual fare for a sector is 20 kyats. Sometimes, the conductor pretends to forget a change and a passenger has to remind him for the change.

Damneon Saduak Floating Market

In Floating Market

We just visited Damneon Saduak Floating Market in Ratchaburi, Thailand. It is a famous floating market built along a man made canal in Ratchaburi. Sellers row boats along a narrow canal and sell things. The market usually starts early around 7 AM but does not reaches its peak until around 9 AM when lots and lots of tourists flood the market and turn the market into Floating Tourists! If you really want to enjoy the market, I advise to got there before 7 AM in the morning and take a boat ride. A boat ride will take around 45 mins and cost 100 baht per head or 500 baht per boat (maximum 6 per boat). [.....]  read more

Back from Lion City

Life underground

Just coming back from the Lion City, that is, Singapore. I went there for my sister’s graduation. Talking about Singapore, everything is expensive. It was more expensive than the last time I went there three years ago. Food is really expensive and the taste is horrible, in most food courts, except in China Town. Taxi fares are extremely expensive, with so many surcharges for rush hour, downtown fare, etc. Just a few kilometers trip from downtown cost me S$20. Believe me, if it were in Bangkok, it won’t cost more than S$5! I was shocked. And the fare that is displayed all the time on the taxi meter is not the tatal cost. You have to add all those surcharges to get to the total cost.

However, the public transport is excellent. You can go whereever you want using the public transport. There is no confusion about it. And all the direction signs are well laid out. Taxi drivers are also nice. And the roads are clean and the the cars strictly follow the traffic rules. To my amazement, the prices of many cosmetics are cheaper in Singapore than in Bangkok. But clothes are more expensive.

We went to Sentosa while in Singapore. Everything is expensive. Underwater world is a nice place to visit, and the dolphin lagoon is also nice. However, the dolphin show was not as good as the first time 3 years ago. And the famous magic fountain is not free anymore. Worse, the show is not as good as the previous one. Too bad. [.....]  read more

Money Exchange in Yangon (Dollar Exchange)

If you are visiting Myanmar, you will find yourself trying to find a money exchange to change your foreign currency into Myanmar kyat. Although US dollar is universally accepted, small vendors will be reluctant to accept US dollars because of difficulty in exchanging into kyat. So you invariably have to change some money into Myanmar kyat anyway. [.....]  read more

Bus to Mandalay

If you are planning to go to Mandalay directly from Yangon, you have three options. The most comfortable, convenient and expensive one is to take a flight. The price (for two way ticket) is more expensive than a two way ticket between Bangkok and Yangon. The second, less expensive one is to use the train. The cheapest and most uncomfortable way to travel is by bus. [.....]  read more

Tip on going into town from the airport

If you are a foreigner, and coming to Burma for the first time, you will found yourself in a completely different world. And the first daunting task would be to go to your hotel.
If you have already arranged with your travel agent to pick you up at the airport, everything would be OK. But if not, you will have to hire a taxi. There is no airport bus service running from the airport so the only way yo can go to your hotel is by a taxi. And this might be more complex than you think. The taxis in Myanmar are not metered, and the fare is not fixed. So you have to bargain with the taxi drivers at the airport. They will tell you that this is a fixed price, but it is not true. The taxi fare from airport is always more expensive, but you can always bargain. If you are not carrying many things, you can walk out of the airport compound (which indeed is a very small compound) and hail a taxi on the road. Only a few taxis come this way but most of the time, you will be able to get a taxi, cheaper than the one from the airport. Good luck with your travel. [.....]  read more

Chin Head Basket

Have you ever heard about head basket? Well, we have in Chin Hills. Lets call it Chin head basket. It is a kind of basket that you carry by hanging around your head with a string. You don’t carry it by hand. The basket is quite a large one, big enough to carry a 5 gallon water container. And people, even young women and children, carry them by a string hung over their head. It is a tiring thing to do so. I once tried to carry one with some weight in it but couldn’t carry more than a few minutes. For the Chin people, they have been carrying a big load since they were young so seem no problem carrying a heavy head basket over their head. [.....]  read more

How to go to Mindat?

If you are interested in going to Mindat, here is a guide. You cannot go there direct from Yangon. First, go to Pakokku, a big city on the west bank of Irrawaddy (Ayarwaddy). To go to Pakokku, you have two options. One is the direct bus trip to Pakokku from Yangon. The buses are quite old and slow, and carry a lot of goods and cargo. I recommend the second option which is to take a bus to Pagan (Bagan) and from there, cross the Irrawaddy. The bus to Bagan leaves around 3 PM from Yangon, and arrives there around 5 AM the next morning. You can take a ship from Bagan to Pakokku. This ship travels between Bagan and Mandalay, but you can drop in Pakokku. The trip will take around one and half hour. Alternatively, if you are more adventurous, you can take a ferry boat to Pakokku. From the boat pier, you can take a tricycle or a horse cart to Mindat bus station. The station is called “Mindat Gyar Sakhan”, meaning “In between camp”. From there, you take a bus to Mindat. It is actually a Jeep that carries people and goods from Pakokku to Mindat. The road is not bad for Burmese standards, but quite rough compared to other roads in neighboring Asian countries. The trip from Pakokku to Mindat usually takes around 6 to 8 hours although it is only 96 miles. If you use your own car, it will take around 4 to 5 hours, depending on the condition of the car as well as the weather. On the way, you will have to pass Pauk Town and Kyauktu Town. Only around 10 miles near Mindat is mountain road. The road trip is generally safe so you don’t need to be worry to much. [.....]  read more