Yangon

Yangon, Former Capital of Burma

We flew into Burma from Thailand and got the Burmese visa in the airport. When queuing for the registration, we had a small talk with a farang (this is how they call white people in Burma, just like mzungu in Eastern Africa). He said that people in Burma are incredible, they are even much more hospitable than Thai people. We did not believe at once, but then Burma really impressed us starting from the very first city in which we landed, Yangon.

Transport

Yangon was the capital of Burma till 2005, and international flights still arrive here. Getting from the airport to the city is possible by taxis, motor rickshaws, and buses. To catch the bus, you will have to walk for about a kilometer to the bus stop. We knew the bus numbers we needed to take, but this was not helpful, since they are written in local language. We chose a young guy who looked intelligent and asked for help.
Transport in Myanmar

It is probably not very usual that farangs take a bus in Burma. First, the drivers were obviously shocked, second, the conductor did not take money from us. Or was it the famous hospitality? In any case, Burma buses are something special: they are old, and it is very hot inside, even in the morning.
Transport in Myanmar

There are many traffic jams in Yangon, and both taxis and buses move with the same speed. By the way, there are really many taxis here, it seems like every second or third car is a taxi.

Accommodation

Finally, we reached our bus stop and hotel T-Venus (Address: No. 47, San Yeik Nyain street 5, Kamayut Township, Yangon 11221). Hotels in Burma are of two kinds: for locals and for foreigners. The latter ones are way more expensive than the former, but there is no way for a foreigner to stay in the hotel for the locals. In Т-Venus, we were again surprised by the hospitality of people. We were not going to sleep in the hotel on that night (we were planning to take a night bus to Inle Lake) but planned to stay in T-Venus on the way back. Nevertheless, the owner of the hotel allowed us to keep out staff there, and, when we returned from Inle and Bagan, he even offered a free ride to the airport to us.

Food

Also, the hotel owner advised a place to eat, Khaing Khaing Kyaw restaurant close to the hotel. In fact, this is a chain of restaurants, so you may find one near you.
where to eat in Yangon

We were shocked by the variety and taste of Burmese food; also, you can see all the dishes there like in a buffet, which is why it is easy to choose. We also tried 999Shan Noodles recommended by Lonely planet, but it does not even stand next to Khaing Khaing Kyaw. 999Shan Noodles has tourists and so-called expats very happy about their choice, while Khaing Khaing Kyaw is way tastier, cheaper, the portions are larger, the restaurant is cleaner, and the waiters are not so obnoxious.
Burma cusine

Myanmar cusine

Trains

We recommend starting your visit to Yangon with Yangon circle ride by the train. It goes around the city, and you may buy the tickets at the platform. The locals yielded their seats next to the windows so that we could look around.
Trains in Myanmar

Trains in Burma

Yangon

We took the train at one of the stops in the city and arrived at the trains station, from which it is possible to take a walk to major attractions.
train station Yangon

Colonial Architecture

Interestingly, Yangon resembles Panama City by the number of abandoned buildings next to colonial and modern architecture.
Colonial Architecture

The colonial architecture is of course the most famous, like, for instance the City Hall:
City Hall

The Supreme Court building:
Architecture in Myanmar

The Port Authority:
Architecture in Myanmar

Postcolonial architecture is less sophisticated, as for instance, this Independence Column:
Independence Column

Inya Lake and the Yangon River

All of a sudden, Yangon has a piece of nature: the city stands on Lake Inya. There is a promenade and a park around the lake, and you may have some rest in the shadow of the trees.
Inya Lake

But make sure you do not have sex.
Inya Lake

You may also use the boat over the Yangon River to visit Dalla village.
boat to Dalla village

Shwedagon Paya

The major sight of Yangon is Shwedagon Paya Buddhist temple you may see from many sides of the city
Shwedagon Paya

Shwedagon Paya

Shwedagon Paya

Unlike multiple Bagan temples which mainly attract tourists, Shwedagon Paya is a real place for the locals to worship. Shwedagon Paya is known at least since the 15th century and is still blends with the rest of the city very well. Yet, we were personally mostly impressed by the toilets we first say in Burma, or, the division, to be precise: they are separate for foreigners (usual wc pans) and locals (holes in the floor).
Shwedagon Paya

Bogyoke Aung San Market

This market is a mixture of second hand, Chinese goods, souvenirs, works of arts – that we actually recommend to see.
Bogyoke Aung San Market

Bogyoke Aung San Market

And many other interesting things…
It might seem that you travel in time in Yangon. Some services, requiring typewriters:
Bogyoke Aung San Market

Bicycle rikshaws transferring passengers:
Bicycle rikshaws

Handmade cigarettes wrapped in leaves:
Myanmar cigars

Fresh juice:
fresh juice

You may buy tanaka, traditional in Burma too. This is a product you may find in a variety of forms serving to protect the skin from the sun and keep its beauty.
tanaka

Needless to say that we really liked Yangon, but this was just the beginning… Bagan and Inle Lake impressed us even more. Also, we will certainly tell the wonderful story of glass factory in Yangon in a separate blog post.