First day in Yangon: Getting a cheap hotel and walking around!
Yangon is an incredible city of more than 4 millions inhabitants. At first it just seems like any other big crowded city (and I don’t like big cities!), but once I got to the center the architecture and the street life are fabulous!
First Step: Find a cheap hotel
Not that easy around here! Most hostels listed in the lonely planet are no longer at the same price, like Okinawa Guest House (32th street) that went from 5$ to 7$ for a dorm bed since last year, and Garden Guest House (32th street) that is now 8$ for a single room.
Yumi, the japanese girl I shared a taxi with, heard from a friend of hers about a cheap place in 32th street: Mahabandoola Guest House. It is 5$ for a single instead of 4$ last year, but that makes it the cheapest I’ve found! I walked around to check more places but I had to come back to this one! It’s 10$ for a double, Yumi and I are sharing a room as the single rooms were full.
The rooms are clean, no windows (bright light bulbs though), but well, you’re there to sleep anyway! The owners are very friendly and you’ll get towel and soap. The shower rooms are clean (cold water) and they have western toilets (which is supposed to be a rarity in Myanmar!). The room has a good fan so you’ll be fine even with no windows! (and so far no mosquitos around!) For double rooms you’ll get 2 sets of keys which is very convenient in case you share your room with another independant traveler! You might not have the same program!
Mahabandoola Guest House is situated at the very beginning of 32th street, right across the Sule Pagoda (Paya). It’s very easy to find!
Step 2: Changing money
The banks and exchange bureaus actually have BETTER RATES than the back market!!
See my second post about Yangon and changing money at the best rate for more information!
I’ll prepare a post about what notes you can change in Myanmar (euro? dollar? yuan? bath? folded? decent state? perfect state? )
Step 3: Walking around
Yumi and I left for a long walk with no particular aim, admiring those old wooden buildings that look like they’re gonna fall apart, invaded by bright green plants, balconies groaning under drying laundry. Beautiful! And right next to that, you can see brand new sky scrappers. Interesting mix!
There are street stalls selling bits and bobs everywhere, together with yummy-looking street food stalls full of noodle soups, chicken dishes, indian style food, samosas, sweets… I hadn’t eaten all day as I arrived on Monday and I couldn’t find anywhere to change money at a decent rate! Banks were shut (they shut at 3pm) and so was the market! In the evening I finally chose to change 10 dollars at a shitty rate 840Kyats)!
To celebrate that, we had a sit and drunk our first Myanmar Beer! 5% and really not bad! (although some of you might find it weak!)
For a perfect end of the day I found a delicious food stall in street 31 serving rice with fried chicken/tomatoes/onions/peppers and whatever they’ve put to make it that good!!
I ate sitting on a tiny plastic chair on the street, watching Pirates of the Carribean on a TV set on the side walk.
After my 3 hours sleep last night and my 3 hours walk today, I’m sure I’ll have a great sleep tonight!!
- Getting around Yangon using public buses
- [video] Bagan by night
- [video] The wonders of Bagan
- [video] The CouchSurfing contest: Get Inspired!!
- Changing money in Myanmar/Burma
- Trekking on your own in the east side of Inle Lake
- A great travel agency in Nyaungshwe (Inle Lake)
- Cycling on the west side of Inle Lake
- A day floating on the beautiful Inle Lake
- Walking around Mandalay city and Mandalay Hill