After visiting Hong Kong, I had to really put in a lot of thought on where to head next. Wanted an adventure and also somewhere where it would test me as a traveller. Been to countries like Cambodia and Yogyakarta where exploring was a must. A lot of options came into mind but my heart was set. Booked my air tickets and there I was,
From one look, you can tell Yangon, or Myanmar as a whole has opened its doors to the world. Upgrading is something you see at every corner of the streets among the religious monuments around the city. Malls are sprouting out and fast food is readily available. But amidst all this, I do hope the country does not lose its charm. Once you walk down the busy streets of Yangon, just smile at anyone and 9 out of 10 times you will get a smile in return. That one time you don't, its because they are busy staring at how different you look. I got that a lot.
We took a boat to the other side of town to this place called Dalla. It was really away from the city and there lied a town on its own quietly away from the hustle and bustle. But there were a live of activity going on right there. There was a tiny competition going where there were playing this game, Sepak Takraw which is a game played on a ball made completely by Rattan. The stakes were definitely high due to the fact money was on the line. I was invited to sit on the umpire's chair who was also the same person who collected the winnings. I obviously declined his friendly offer. At the end of a full day of exploring, we were greeted by a beautiful sunset. Maybe calling it beautiful is definitely an understatement.
This was one of the main reasons and attractions for me to visit in Yangon. The Pagodas were the main attractions in Yangon and they were a sight to behold. We visited the Chaukhtatgyi Buddha Temple, Kandawgyi Lake and also the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda which I would be mentioning at the end of this story. And we were mindblown by the infrastructure that greeted us. One thing that was common around Yangon were the kids whose faces were adorned with the thanaka, made from ground bark that kept them cool. Adults also used them and it was usually placed on their cheeks. But there were some who put their designs to another level.
Like the locals say, no visit to Yangon is ever complete if you do not visit the Shwedagon Pagoda. The pagoda stands at 110 metres and 4531 diamonds encrusted at the top of the stupa. Made it a point to visit the place on Vesak Day or also known as Full Moon Day to the locals. It was mad packed when we entered and the humidity was not helping anyone as well. But I decided to persevere through with my camera and I was glad I did. Walking around the temples needs a lot of planning. Planning comes in the form of how to escape the hot marble floors when you visit the temple at its hottest temperature. Finding shelter was essential to not get your feet burnt! Overall, it was a great experience being in such a religious and a true wonder of the world.
After Yangon, there was only one other place in my mind.