LIFE IS A JOURNEY | BACKPACK. Mingabala Myanmar! Two of Us Traveling to Yangon, Hongsawadee and Kyaikhtiyo. written by LOVE & LIFE IS A JOURNEY

"If speaking of Myanmar, what is your first thought that come right into your mind? The history between Ayutthaya and Myanmar? Myanmar labour? Or perhaps Thanaka powder? Well, if asking about the attractions in Myanmar, where you will be thinking of? Umnn. Hold on! Let's me j

LIFE IS A JOURNEY | BACKPACK. Mingabala Myanmar! Two of Us Traveling to Yangon, Hongsawadee and Kyaikhtiyo.

LIFE IS A JOURNEY | BACKPACK. Mingabala Myanmar! Two of Us Traveling to Yangon, Hongsawadee and Kyaikhtiyo.


"If speaking of Myanmar, what is your first thought that come right into your mind?

The history between Ayutthaya and Myanmar?

Myanmar labour?

Or perhaps Thanaka powder?

Well, if asking about the attractions in Myanmar, where you will be thinking of?

Umnn. Hold on! Let's me just check Google first!!"

"Wow!!! it looks really fascinating" My first exclamation in my mind after I have seen captivating pictures of those attractions in Myanmar on the internet. You guys could try searching the word "Myanmar" on Google and choose picture section and you will know how spectacular Myanmar looks like. Nevertheless, there are still rumor saying that Myanmar is dangerous and also difficult for travelling, searching for accommodation and finding food to eat. And I really don't have any clue about the journey there. Do you guys have any idea? Yet, no matter what, I still would like to travel there anyway.

Since Nok Air has a hot promotion that I could hardly resist, a round trip price for Don Mueang-Yangon costs just only 1780 baht per person. I'm not wasting more time and hurried book the ticket right away at 01.00 am in the first day that they start this promotion. I booked a ticket, even thought I still don't know what are the attractions that we will travel to, where do we stay or how are we going to travel in Myanmar. Anyway, I also call one of my bestfriend to go with me, as he would always agree to go traveling with me without asking any details or having any conditions.

Thus, this journey is happen with the traveling time of 5 days 4 night to 3 cities in total. There are just two of us in this trip and we haven't make any booking reservation in advance except for air tickets and our first night accommodation. Apart from that I guess we would go to find ahead, perhaps it is not a good traveling preparation, however, we think it would be kind of fun and colorful of the journey.

All in all, I would like to write this review to share our journey experiences this time to all of you guys. I just hope that this review could be an inspiration for any person who love traveling, both for those who have been on travelling before and those who never, no matter what a reason is. If you could try to take a journey and experience Myanmar's charm once in a life time, getting to know more about this neighborhood country and you might fell in love with this country unexpectedly.

"Take a deep breath, gather all of the courage you have and then go traveling together"

LIFE IS A JOURNEY


DAY 1 : Don Mueang – Yangon

Taking off from Don Mueang to Yangon airport takes us around 45 minutes flight time and reach at our destination at 08.30 p.m. After we pass through all the immigration process, next we will then go to do the money exchange. In the airport, there would be a lot of money exchange companies in service, thus, we are walking around to look for the best rate. Finally, we end up at the 970 Kyat / 1 USD rate. Well, you should exchange Thai Baht to USD before from Thailand, as they would not accept Thai Baht for exchanging. We exchange money from Thailand for 5000 baht each and that would be approximately 152 USD. Then, we exchange some of our USD to Kyat here and save some USD to spend at some hotel or Taxi as they would accept only USD.

Once we finish exchanging the money, we hurried to catch a taxi to go to the accommodation that we have booked earlier. There are a lot of taxi there, however, the price that they set is pretty expensive. Luckily, we meet another two Thai people who are going to travel to downtown like us, hence, we agree to share taxi cost. Nevertheless, we have to get off at a half way as the taxi would arrive at their accommodation first and we need to continue catching another ride to our accommodation. Actually, we also could take a same taxi but the driver set a price pretty high that we rather find a new taxi in front the hotel. A hotel staff is pretty generous helping us calling a taxi. All in all, we spend 6 USD (200baht) travelling from airport to our hotel which is considerably cheap as usually the price that we ask the taxi driver from airport to downtown would be around 8-10 USD depending on the negotiation.

We stay at "Sleep In Hostel" which is right beside China town area. The hostel is located in the alley which is pretty dark and isolated during that time. Moreover, the hostel's signboard is rather small that we need to spend quite some time searching for the hostel. The hostel is a 4 to 5 story commercial building and the accommodation costs 300baht/night per person. We booked a hotel through Agoda website and make a payment by credit card. We print out a hotel voucher to present at the reservation counter when we do the check-in. The exterior of the hostel looks very old, yet they are newly renovating the area inside. The accommodation is a dorm style which will be separated between men and women. Inside, there would be 4 of two storey beds with a safe box along with a lock located under a bed. Furthermore, there are pillows, blankets and towels provide. It is an air-con room with a really slow Wifi in service, yet, the internet is still good enough to make a contact back to Thailand and upload some pictures on Facebook page.

The bathroom is a shared bathroom located in the outside area. There are toilet, shower room and wash basin. The water doesn't flow well. All in all, the condition is good that I would give 8 out of 10 point.

After finish keeping our baggage, we then go out to find something to eat at China town area and it is now almost 11.00 p.m.

Most of the cuisines are closed by this time, yet there are still some fruit stalls open.

There is also a shop that sells fried cricket.

And there is also a telephone service like in our country 10 years ago.

We walk around finding some food to eat for a while, then we end up eating rice and curry shop along the roadside.

Foods are kept in a little pots that was put in an order, thus, we need to open a lid to see what kind of food is inside. Under the dim light, we open and look into all the pots. Well, foods in every pot look all the same to me that we could not know what is it. As we could not speak Burmese and they also could not understand English, therefore, our last communication choice is "Body Language". If you would like to know what the food made of, I would suggest you to point to that pot and post a gesture like a chicken, ox, pig or fish and if seller nods his head that mean the answer is yes. Now, we could choose food as we prefer and finally we have 2 portions of rice together with two orders of beef and pork to eat with rice. The food costs us 1600 Kyat (50 ฿) in total.

When we finish eating, we then take a walk for some digest around Sule pagoda. We walk around pagoda for one round, take some photos and then head back to the hotel.

This little kid is doing his homework while waiting for his parents to close the shop.

On the way, the unexpected thing come up when we walk pass a group of people who are buying betel nuts. For a while, we suddenly feel something strange and somehow our stomach feel hurt.

Now, we know what makes us feel strange inside as our stomach start to ache. That is because of the rice and curry we have eaten just now. It makes us feel like loosing bowels and really want to go to toilet right away. Therefore, we need to rush back to our hostel.

Ps: Please use some judgment when choosing street foods.

First day expenses:

1. Accommodation: 600฿

2. Transportation: 6 USD (200 ฿)

3. Food : 2800 Kyat (86 ฿)

Total expenses: 886฿ / 2 persons


DAY 2 : Yangon - Bago - Kyaikto

Today, we need to wake up pretty early to catch a train to Hongsawadee city at 6 o'clock in the morning. In fact, there are many bus services to Hongsawadee and spend shorter time than travelling by train. However, we choose take a train ride as we would like to take time watching the scenery from both sides to closely learn and know more about local life style here. Most importantly is that it would make us have more time spending with our souls.

The distance between the accommodation to train station is about 2 kilometres. During morning time, the road is quiet empty and the weather is rather pleasant.

It is kind of interesting that they even could bring a tri-cycle on a bus.

We walk and run, sometimes we even walk pass the place or getting lost but anyway we finally reach our destination.

Yet, it is quite a pity that we could not get in time to catch a 6 o'clock train as that train passes by in front of our eyes.

Luckily, the next train is at 7.15am which is train No.89, thus, we hurriedly line up to buy tickets. To buy a ticket here, we need to show passport and need to pay in Kyat currency only. The ticket costs 600 Kyat (18฿) per person and for the train schedule you could check more information at http://www.seat61.com/Burma.htm#Yangon-Mandalay

We have some time before the train takes off, thus, we walk around the station to find some breakfast, snack and drink to eat. Well, the vendors here are all pretty nice and cute.

We feel really excited as it is our first time taking train in Myanmar. During waiting, we continue looking at the clock at all time, although the clock goes normally but it seems that the time runs pretty slow today. It just likes someone used to say that it's all about the feeling that could make time goes slow or fast depending on one's emotion.

Upon the train gets to the station, not to waste any more time, we hurriedly go to find our bogie which we also receive a great help from the officer in bringing us to our seats. Actually, we would like to compliment the officer in Burmese that "You are really generous", yet we do not know how so we only just say "Jesutin Badae" which means "Thank you" in Burmese instead.

Our travelling fellows are all Burmese people, yet we hear a voice speaking with us in Thai language that "Are we Thai?". It is a voice from a monk who comes to send his relative at the station. Therefore, our dialogue in Thai is started, as we talk, we have learnt that he used to work in Thailand before at Klong 6, Pathum Thani province. However, his son died so he comes back to get ordained in Myanmar and he will go back to work in Thailand in a near future. This monk names "Koko Wangwang" and a person on the right side called "Sata". Only just a short time before a train takes off, we could learn Burmese language more than 10 words such as "A-go/A-ma" means "Older brother/ Older Sister" or "Na Meh Be Lou Kor Leh" means "What's your name?" and etc. (I don't know whether my accent is right or wrong, I just type from what I have heard that day, so if it is wrong, I would like to apologize in advance). Before we apart, he also invites us to stay at the temple if we go back to Yangon. Unfortunately, I forget the name of the temple which is pretty pity that we could not get a chance to stay overnight at the temple.

A train slowly takes off the station and our excitement are also gradually harder and harder according to the speed of the train.

Train tickets that we borrow from our trip fellow, it looks pretty classic.

During first part of the ride would still be around the city area, yet there are not much tall buildings to be seen. Moreover, most houses which located along a railway are made of galvanised iron or nipa leaves.

The train is arriving at one of the stations.

A train here is not bumping hard like a train in Thailand, it goes up and down gently. Furthermore, a bogie's floor inside is made of wood.

We have got a private 40" flat TV in every seats, showing 4 dimensions scenery shots live view from outside.

Only a short while, the train is riding pass into a field area. It is a pity that we are traveling in dry season, thus, we do not have a chance to see a verdant field. In fact, we have got the inspiration riding a train in Myanmar from one of the TV show called "Nang Pha Pai" in which the moderator, Khun Ball and Khun Yod take a train from Mawlamyine to Yangon and it is kind of give us a feeling of riding on a train.

Luckily, there is still green field and a small herd of buffalo to be seen.

Some people come take a seat at the stairs to receive some air.


Now, we both go and explore around a train.

This is the upper class seating which will cost a bit more expensive, around 1,150 Kyat (35฿) which is suitable for travelling in a far distance.

Reason why Myanmar's rail is not delay like in Thailand is because they have a double track railways, hence, they don't have to waste a time swapping a track. I believe this help us understanding Thai's rail a little more better.

Gathering for harvesting rice is to be seen periodically in some areas.

Thing that I would like to see very much is an oxcart that is still normally in use here. When I have seen a real oxcart that is used to work in a reality, it somehow makes me feel like going back to the past and that makes me really want to ride on it as well.

I cannot help wondering that what is he thinking right now? Thinking of the destination or thinking of the one who is waiting him at the destination?

Around two hours have passed and now we finally reach at Hongsawadee city. Mr. Sata is kind to remind us when we arrive at our destination.

Let's take a selfie picture with a villager to keep as a good momento. Badly, they are somehow busy at that moment as no one looks at the camera.

"Je Zu Tin Ba Deh A-go Sata" means Thank you very much Sata brother.

Our train ride trip will come to an end at this station, yet on the contrary a journey of this guy is about to start.

Every step of a journey usually comes with a farewell in order to start a new journey of those who leave.

When we are leaving the station, there are two Burmese guys walk toward us and ask us in English language that Where are we heading? Where do we staying? Have we eat anything yet? We then reply back that we are finding a ride to Kyaikhtiyo. He then says that he knows where could we buy the ticket and volunteer to take us there. Although, we actually know that he is an agent, however, he says that he will ride a motorcycle and will take us there for free. Without hesitation, we promptly jump on his motorcycle.

We are riding pass one of the local community area, somewhere on a map, situated on a laterite road among a hot burning weather.

Then we get through to a main road that has a really bad traffic with a loud sound of the horn ring all the time and it happens that there is no one has any conflict with each other under this busy circumstance. They send us to one of the cuisine which has a ticket booth in the front. From what we learned from the travel review, it tells that a ticket price from Hongsawadee to Kyaikhtiyo should not cost more than 5,000 Kyat as the distance is not far. However, as that time we don't know where is a bus station that sells a normal ticket price located, moreover, the driver is generous to us as he rides us here to buy ticket, then take us to have a meal. Moreover, after a meal, he would wait to send us to the bus station, hence, we decide to buy ticket here which costs us at 7,000 Kyat (200฿) per person. Well, we negotiate the price down from 8,000 Kyat, I think this price is kind of including additional service charge price for the motorcycle ride as well.

Most of our food that we always order in this trip is just a fried rice as it costs the cheapest and comes in large portion. One order of fried rice for me could make me feel full for almost a day which is kind of save our budget as well.

After we are done with the meal and get pretty full that we really feel sleepy. Then those two guys send us off to get on a bus as they promise. This area should be a bus terminal which located pretty far away from a train station.

This bus is coming from Yangon, it will stop by to pick up passengers at the main cities like Hongsawadee. At that time, there is not much seating left, thus, we need to sit in the last row.

On the way, the bus would stop for toilet and some meal. Our bus stops for quite some time as they need to fix the air-con which does not work well. As the bus stops, we have a chance to meet with other two Thai people who ride on the same bus with us and they also have the same destination as ours which is Kyaikhtiyo pagoda. As we talk, we happen to know that they are the owner of a resort in Vang Vieng, Laos. Their resort is a place where a lot of people like to go taking photo as there would be a unique identity of a wooden bridge that rides across green field to guest rooms with having high mountains of Vang Vieng as a background.

Three hours and a half have passed, now we finally reach at Kyaikhtiyo and then get off at Kinpun Base Camp. We all separate to each of our accommodation to keep our stuff, then we will meet up again at a bus terminal to go worship Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda together.

They already booked accommodation in advance, but we haven't. Therefore, we continue walking to find an accommodation around the area which most of places are rather expensive. Finally, we find one place that has a cuisine in the front and the accommodation would be in the back area. It is kind like a commercial building which the room costs us 10,000 Kyat (300฿) per night and it is considerably save the money which is suited for adventurous men like us the most.

Inside the room, there are mosquito net, bedding, pillow, blanket and fan provide. The room could accommodate 3-4 people, however, it is rather dusty inside.

In the back of the accommodation, there is a shared bathroom which separates men and women. In addition, there are two toilets apart from shared bathroom as well. Although there is no breakfast service here, yet they offer Thanaka powder for free and guest could also borrow a sarong to wear.

After we finish arranging for our accommodation, we then head out to meet up with those two Thai people at a bus station according to our appointment. From just two Thai people, now we have four of us and that somehow makes my heart feels a little warm inside. A vehicle that will take us up to the above area is a small truck which the back area has adjusted to be seating around 6 rows. Some trucks have a handrail in front of the seating while some have not. One row could sit around 5-6 people and the transportation costs 2500 Kyat (75฿) per ride per person.

The route up to above area is gradually steeper and steeper. The road has two lanes and the vehicles will ride cross to each other, the ride is quite scary, I would say. There are a lot of winding way as a truck swings to the left and right continuously with a laugh noise and excitement voice along the way. The atmosphere at that time is pretty jolly, everyone seems enjoy this ride and dizzy in the same time.

Both sides scenery are forest. In some route we even ride pass a waterfall, thus, the weather is considerably pleasant cold. The higher we ride up, the more beautiful scenery we could see.

It takes around one hour to reach the above area which we are safe and sound, I have prayed to God many many times all the way up here as well. There are villagers who offer a palanquin and basket service for carrying baggage to the accommodation, yet I don't know how much it costs.

"Travelers never think that they are the foreigners" - Mason Cooley

We do our best to act like Burmese people and I think our appearance and dressing are somehow a little alike, only that we would have to learn Burmese language a little bit more. Lol.

Before going to worship the pagoda, we need to stop by to purchse a ticket which it costs 6,000 Kyat (185฿) per person. After that, we walk a little bit further and then we could see Kyaikhtiyo pagoda stands eminent on the tip of the cliff.

Most of the Burmese women would all dress in a beautiful clothing, no one would give up to one another. As for this aunt, she dresses in a cool unique stuffs I would say.

The thing we have feel when we get into this place and other temples is that a strong belief of Burmese people to Buddhism.

The nearer we come to worship Kyaikhtiyo pagoda, the more feeling of a sacred power we could feel. A splendid aspect of the pagoda that has a yellow golden color all over it along with the location of the pagoda that situate on the verge of a cliff which if we watch by our eyes, it completely could not stand like that. In conclusion, This pagoda is pretty marvelous!

We walk to watch a beautiful scenery around along with taking photos until our camera's battery is almost used up.

During the sun is about to set, the scenery is stunningly beautiful that we do not want to turn our back and leave this place. However, as we watch the time, it is 05.50p.m. now, Omg! the last bus is going to leave at 06.00p.m.!! Now, we better hurry...Run Quickly!!!

At last, we could not make it in time!!! As we try to ask villagers around that area whether there is a car or whatever vehicles going down or not, yet the only answer that we have got is just No!!! A bus here leaves sharply on time and there is no more bus as it would be rather dangerous if riding down during night time, thus, no-one won't go down if it is not really necessary.

I feel really bad until now as it is because of us that make our other two travelling fellows who come up with us miss a bus because we are too engage in enjoying taking photos and do not control a time well, just think that we could catch the last bus in time. Our accommodation and all the stuff is at below area, all we have left now is ourselves and money. Our accommodation is not much a big deal, but the accommodation of them costs pretty expensive and they could not go down to stay in their hotel. On the contrary, they have to waste their money and experience hardship with us at above area. I would have to apologize them once again.

When we could make up our minds that we still unable to go down no matter what, just need to wait until morning and need to stay overnight at this place. Thus, we walk around to find an accommodation to stay which most of them are fully booked. There are only the accommodation that is near to the entrance of the temple available. I'm not sure whether it belongs to villager or a temple. This accommodation is located on the edge of the cliff, the room provides a small bed with a bathroom inside. Moreover, there is no fan available, yet the weather during the night time is colder than air-con room. The room costs at 40,000 Kyat (1,200฿) per night. It is so bad as we make an effort to spend money the least on accommodation in this trip. Yet, we have to waste our money just because our time controlling problem.

We feel sad as we look at the money in our wallet and then we go out finding something to eat. Most of the cuisines are closed by now, there would be only a villager's shop that sells Thai's instant noodle. Thus, this night we have to eat our popular menu the instant noodle. Tonight, the weather is rather pleasant cold with a mist floating by periodically that somehow make us think that whether there is anyone house get burn?

There are a lot of people come to worship the pagoda more at night time than in the evening time. Some people even prepare pillow and blanket to sleep among the dew at a wide ground of the pagoda. They all take a space as they prefer and sleep without mosquito nets or a roof to cover them. I feel pretty stunned somehow that how can they sleep in the condition like this?

It is because of Burmese people who traveling here are from other cities, some cities are far away while some are near, hence, they need to stay overnight here in order to wake up and offer food to the monk in the early morning. Actually, at the pagoda area, there is a multi-purpose pavilion which allows people to stay overnight for free, however, the space inside is filled right now, therefore, some people need to sleep in the outside area. I think this could reflect a great belief of these people.

An experience in which we have no choice but to stay overnight at the above area has repeatedly remind us to be more cautious on the time. Another aspect, it is also regarded to be a good chance for us to feel the atmosphere here during night and morning time as the scenery at the above area is considerably beautiful and the weather is really pleasant.

2nd day expenses:

1. Accommodation : 60,000 Kyat (1,800฿)

2. Transportation : 19,000 Kyat (550฿)

3. Food : 4200 kyat (125฿)

4. Admission Fee : 12,000 Kyat (360฿)

Total expenses : 2835฿ / 2 persons



DAY 3 : Kyaikto - Bago

I try to pull myself off from the bed among a cold weather during the morning time. We cover ourselves with the blanket and go up to the deck area of our accommodation to watch the sun rise scenery among the mist sea. After that, we walk up to worship Kyaikhtiyo pagoda once again before heading down to the below area.

The atmosphere of the people around the temple during morning time is still crowded and bustling which is not different from last night. Well, some people gradually begin to go back to below area now.

Before getting back you could buy some souvenirs back.

Or you also could try eating one bite of betel nuts.

Now, the vehicle along with all the passengers are ready, thus, our journey back begin right now. A truck that we ride this time has no handrail in the front of each rows, it has the handrail only at the side of the car. Thus, we need to hold other's people hand side by side or hold one's shoulder who sits in the front. From a person that never known each other before, now we all start to smile to each other. This time riding is not just swing to the left and right but it also swing to the front and back. As the car swings, we all laugh. It is kind of a friendship that comes with an enjoyment. Although, we have a difficulty in communication with each other, yet we could communicate by our expressions and gestures.

Upon getting down at below area, we hurriedly back to take a shower and pack our stuffs in order to continue catching a bus back to Hongsawadee city once again. In fact, we could take a tour bus directly from Yangon to Kyaikhtiyo and do not have to stop by at Hongsawadee. Yet, the reason that we choose to travel like this is just because that we would like to try riding on Myanmar's train. On the way back we take a bus at a bus terminal and bus ticket costs at 4500 Kyat (140฿) per person with no additional agent fees.

During the ride, we have to get across a bridge that crosses "Sittaung river". The origin of the legend that King Naresuan firing the musket across the Sittaung river. In that moment, I feel pretty excited that I could not explain in a word and in the same time I try to imagine the scene of that event which actually happened at that time.

Upon getting off from a bus, we find one tricycle. After we negotiate a price with him which would cost 2,000 Kyat (60฿) to take us to the downtown area, then to Swemawdaw pagoda or Mutao pagoda. Then we buy admission tickets which cost 7,000 Kyat (215฿) as usally the normal cost for Hongsawadee city admission fee would be one time package ticket which costs around 10 USD and traveler could travel to all attractions in the city. However, the driver tells us that most of the temples here do not have the admission fee, as for those that would collect the admission fee, he will take us to those places later after passing the time that they collect the ticket fee. All in all, he suggests that we do not have to buy a package ticket.

We visit during the afternoon time and the sunshine is pretty strong, in addition, we have to put off our shoes and walk, thus, we need to find some shady areas to avoid from the sun.

After finishing worship Mutao pagoda, a tricycle has brought us to find something to eat and then send off our two fellows to get on a bus back to Yangon and then take us to find an accommodation afterwards. Our accommodation today is away from a bus station around 2 kilometers which is a new hotel called Amara Gold hotel. The hotel condition is pretty great, there are TV, WIFI and the guest rooms are all air-con rooms with the price per night at 15,000 Kyat (460฿). Later on, around 4.00pm we make an appointment with a tricycle driver's younger brother and son to pick us up and take us riding on a motorcycle to travel around Hongsawadee city. One motorcycle ride costs 6,000 Kyat (180฿), we hire 2 motorcycles and they will take us everywhere as we prefer.

The first attraction is Hintha Gon pagoda or Twin Hintha Birds temple. The unique identity of this temple is Hansa figure that perch on the back of Hintha figure and it is considered as a symbol of Hongsawadee city as well.

Since the location of this temple is on a hill, thus, we could watch a scenery of the Shwemawdaw pagoda or Mutao pagoda from a far distance.

We could not remember the name of the second temple that we have visited and it is not in a guide book as well. The temple is not far away from the first temple and there are kids who await to sell flowers to traveler so we tease them to play Rock, Paper, Scissors game and whoever won the game, we will buy flowers from him. Well, at last we buy flowers from all of them anyway.

This temple is located on the higher hill than the first temple with the above area is situated a pagoda. Moreover, there is a wide ground around which allows us to watch a wide beautiful panorama view.

And the landmark that you could see from every places is Mutao pagoda.

After we head down from the temple, we continue riding on a motorcycle to small alley and get pass through a local community area to go to Kanbawza Thardi palace.

Badly, we could not make it in time as the palace is closed by that time. We could only watch it from a far distance which in below picture is the side of the palace.

Close to the palace's wall, there is a small road which is a transportation route of local people in that area. These kind of small roads would be filled with garbages and you could usually see these kind of roads in almost every cities in Myanmar. I think it might be because of the rapid growth of material and there still has no good management plan to control this kind of problem yet.

We continue riding on motorcycle to the fourth temple which is located pretty far away. People here ride pretty scary as they would always press a horn as they want.

Mahar Zedi pagoda, the admissions here fee is free, however, we have to pay for a camera fee at 600 Kyat (18฿).

The sun is going to set, we better should continue our journey.

The fifth temple is a reclining Buddha image called Shwethalyaung Buddha.

Next is Naung Daw Gyi May Tha Lyaung which is located near to Shwethalyaung Buddha.

And the last attraction before the sun set is Kyaik Pun pagoda or four directions Sitting Buddha images.

After we finish traveling around the city, we then stop by for our dinner at the same cuisine that we had lunch. We order the same menu which are fried rice and a bottle of Burmese beer. After the meal, we take a motorcycle ride back to our accommodation and that would be the end of our motorcycle travelling trip.

Suggestion: should wear mask and apply a thick sunblock and last but no least you have to hold on to a driver tightly.

3rd day expenses:

1. Accommodation : 15,000 Kyat (460฿)

2. Transportation : 30,000 Kyat (900฿)

3. Food : 12,400 kyat (370฿)

4. Admission Fee : 14,000 Kyat (430฿)

Total : 2160฿ / 2 persons


DAY 4 : Bago - Yangon

Today we wake up a bit late as we make an appointment with the same drivers to pick us up at 9 o'clock in the morning. They will send us to a bus station and the ride would cost 300 Kyat (9฿) per person. At first, since the distance to Yangon is not far, thus, we intend to try seeking for a local bus which costs cheaper to get back to Yangon. Therefore, we tell the driver to send us at a bus station to Yangon, however, they said that there is no local bus and there is only a tour bus which would send traveler here. As a transportation fee of a tour bus is pretty high and we are not completely trust them, thus, we try to walk around and ask local people whether there is a local bus to Yangon or not. Well, the motorcycle drivers are kind of worried about us as they walk after us along the way in case we might change our minds and follow them to take a tour bus instead. Anyway, we finally find a local bus stop travelling to Yangon and for making sure, we even ask local people around the area and they confirm that this bus stop is bound to Yangon.

We buy something to eat at a bus stop. Moreover, most of things that are sold here are like those in our country, even the product's presenters are also Thai stars. Well, when you buy things from them, they also could have delivery service sending to your hand.

Actually, I would really like to try eating betel nuts, yet after think thoroughly once again, I would better pass it for now.

Not wasting anymore time, we jump on a bus and take a seat as we prefer. A motorcycle driver is coming after us to send us off and then he says that he will take money to pay a bus fee for us which is cost 3,000 Kyat/person, yet we think it is a bit expensive so we tell him that we will pay by ourselves. At last, a real conductor who takes a bus fare has get into the bus and then he collects a bus fee from us which is cost just only 1,000 Kyat (30฿)/person. It is like what I think as the convenience would always come along with an additional service fee. Anyway, a motorcycle driver also looks polite and he is not trying to frighten or extort us, on the contrary, he tries to help us in anyway, it just only that he charges an additional fee pretty high, that's all. Lol.

After we get on a bus and pay for a bus fee for a while, then a bus is set off. Our travelling fellows are ladies who is sitting at the seat in the back. As we talk, they sometimes could answer to our questions, sometimes they just smile and laugh back to us, they are pretty nice!!!

It takes us around one hour, then we get off at somewhere in Yangon which I think it surly is not a bus terminal. We get off with those ladies in the back, hence, they also help us calling a taxi and tell the driver to send us to Chauk Htat Gyi pagoda which costs 4,500 Kyat (138฿).

We ride pass Aung San Suu Kyi's house which the driver slows the car for us to take a photo.

It takes only a while and now we have arrived at Chauk Htat Gyi pagoda which is situated a reclining Buddha image, Chauk Htat Gyi Buddha or Thai people usually calls "Sweet Eyes Buddha". It is a large Buddha image with has a really sweet eyes which quite suited the name that Thai people call.

In former times, the eyes of the Buddha are not sweet like this as it was newly built in 1966 to be replaced with the previous Buddha image which was built in 1907.

Apart from coming to pray respect to Buddha image and make a merit, I think we also could picnic here as there is a cooling wind flows by and the weather is very pleasant.

We circle around Buddha image for one and a half round and then we continue walking to Nga Htat Gyi pagoda which is located just only around 500 meters away. Inside the temple is situated a large Buddha image named "Nga Htat Gyi". The Buddha image is approximately five storey building tall and it is a Buddha image in subduing Mara attitude which was carved from a marble rock. Furthermore, it is a crowned Buddha image which a set of golden clothing was made by metal. As for all the decorative adornment in the back is made from carving teak wood which was carved in various pattern styles replicate from a Buddha image in Yadanabon Era (Mandalay period) which looks magnificent and stunningly beautiful.

Next, we hire a taxi to Botataung pagoda which costs 2,000 Kyat (60฿).

The admission fee here costs 3 USD (100฿) per person and you could leave baggage at the ticket booth.

Traveler could walk into under the pagoda's base, there would be a room that has a golden wall carving with a beautiful pattern style.

Inside the pagoda is enshrined hair relics of the Lord Buddha.

Walking out to the side of the pagoda, we would see a famous place of Thai people.

That surely is a pavilion of "Bobo Gyi Nat" or "Speedy God" where many people come to make a wish and worship continuously.

After finish making our wishes, we then go out and explore around the pagoda. As you could see, people in the picture are all walking hastily, it is not that they have an important matter to do but it is because we all need to take off shoes and walk barefoot on the burning hot ground.

And the last attraction in this area which is located opposite to the pagoda and it is also the place that Thai people would not miss out to take a visit.

Of course, that is "Whiper Goddess". Everyone is going to whisper their wishes to the goddess and we also surely won't miss our chance.

Our next attraction is the Bogyoke Aung San market to look for a place to exchange our money more and then go to find an accommodation for tonight.

I would recommend if you would like to exchange money here, you should better make an exchange at a bank or an exchange shop that has a clearly signboard of the exchange rate. Do not believe those agents who walk around and offer the exchange service.

Upon finish exchanging some money, we then walk continually to look for an accommodation. We walk through this alley and that alley, all we have found is local houses.

We walk till our legs are stiff, however we also like it as buildings here look pretty art.

They are old buildings in a colony period which is considerably harmonious with a life style of people here.

We walk and look for an accommodation for a quite distance, maybe around three rounds of football field and finally we end up staying at Okinawa Guest House 1 which is located near Sule pagoda. At that time, they have got one last bed that located next to the walkway and descending stairs. Normally, the room costs 18,000 Kyat, yet we bargain the price and they give us at 16,000 Kyat (480฿) per night.

After finish keeping our stuffs into the room, take a shower and as we would like to go along with the atmosphere of a place that we are going to visit, hence, we will wear a sarong which we borrow from the hotel's staff. This place is considered as the highlight attraction that everyone who travels to Yangon must not miss out.

And of course, this place is Shwedagon pagoda, one of five great sacred places in Myanmar.

The way up to a great pagoda are a lot as there are ascending stairs in four directions. Well, the driver sends us off at an elevator ascending way. A taxi ride costs 2,000 Kyat (60฿) and the admission fee to the great pagoda costs 8,000 Kyat (240฿) per person. In addition, you could also leave your shoes at the ticket booth.

This is the point that we are stunned and have to stop to watch a spectacular and a magnificent aspect of a shining golden yellow Shwedagon pagoda. We could feel the sacred thing and the belief that permeate around the pagoda, things that we all could see by our eyes, yet feel by our hearts.

It is almost dark by the time we arrive at the pagoda, however, people continuously come to visit this place whether it be tourists or Burmese people. And most people who visit here are Burmese, some come in a whole family, some come with their lover which looks really adorable.

We explore around the pagoda until we find a sight that we are looking for. It is a sight of villagers gather together to sweep a ground around the pagoda.

Around the Shwedagon pagoda is situated a lot of pagodas and various sizes of Buddha images for people to worship. We are stunned by a large Buddha image that has approximately 9 meters tall. As apart from we could offer flowers and pay respect to Buddha image, there is also a pulley string which connects to a large curtain above the Buddha image for drawing a curtain back and forth in order to blow the Buddha image for bringing peace to mind.

Next to this place is the exhibition room which collects history pictures of the old and new Shwedagon pagoda. Those pictures could help telling the story of a belief through time and tourist could also closely see the tip of the pagoda which is full of precious stones and jewels that are unable to evaluate into value cost. Most importantly, all of the wealth that belongs here such as gold or precious jewels were not stolen from Ayutthaya like many people believe, yet they all come from a "belief" of Buddhist who offer them to the pagoda.

Only sit and stare at a pagoda from a far distance could also make us feel large amount of happiness. Moreover, even the surrounding is bustling, nevertheless our minds feel peach and calm unexpectedly.

A tall level would depend on the angle where we look from, while happiness would depend on our heart to feel it.

We walk around the pagoda one full round until we feel satisfied, then we walk down in a same route. After that, we take a taxi to go and have a dinner at China town. We order same menu that we eat almost everyday while we are here which is fried rice. Nevertheless, we order additional menu to eat along which is fried egg. Moreover, as always we also have a few bottles of Burmese beer for drinking and have some grilled pork to eat with beer. However, the food that we order come late, thus, we drink beer while our stomach are empty and the result is we get drunk and we could hardly spoon up rice from the plate.

After finish our dinner, we walk back to our accommodation, take a shower, packing our stuffs and get ready to go back to Thailand in the morning. Well, our happy time is coming to an end and we need to get back to the real world to save some money for some time. And we will meet again soon, Myanmar.

"Je Jon Mear" means Good Bye

In this journey, we take a chance on an adventure to a different places that we don't know before, yet we unexpectedly feel familiar with. We get to see the world a little bit wider, have a lot of new experiences, learn way of life and and get closer to Burmese people as the way that they should be. All in all, they all make us feel a friendship, generosity and belief of Burmese people towards Buddhism. This neighboring country is not scary as many people think at all, it is only that it might not have much comfort that many people expect. Yet, actually we do not think it is that inconvenient, only if we could have an accommodation to stay, have a car for a ride, a way to walk along, water for drinking, food for adding some energy and smile that shares among each other, I think only these things are quite enough for traveler.

Thank you every travelling fellows who follow this review and read until the end. A journey experience is ours along with all the photos and good memories are also belong to us which we really could not sell those to everyone, hence, if you guys would like to have those experiences, you need to go out and take a journey by yourself. And we will always be hearten you on your journey.

LIFE IS A JOURNEY

Day 4 and 5 expenses:

1. Accommodation : 16,000 Kyat (480฿)

2. Transportation : 15,100 Kyat (450฿)

3. Food : 17,000 kyat (510฿)

4. Admission fee : 22,000 (660฿)

Total: 2100฿ / 2 persons

Total expenses for 5 days 4 nights of 2 people with 1 experience are as below:

1. Air ticket: 1,780฿/person

2. Accommodation : 3,340฿

3. Transportation : 2,100฿

4. Food : 1,100฿

5. Admission fee : 1,450฿

Total expenses are approximately 11,500฿ for 2 persons that will be 5,750฿ per person. As for experience that we have gained is unable to evaluate to be a value cost.

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