When I was travelling through Asia, Myanmar was not originally on my list, but on my travels I had met quite a few people who had recently been and told me that I needed to go see it now before it became too touristy and changed too much. I then decided that February 2015 at the end of my trip to Asia I would visit Myanmar. It was pictures like the one below that made me want to go visit.
So I looked on the internet and applied for my visa online. I believe you are still unable to turn up at the airport without a pre-approved visa on arrival. I had to apply for the e visa about 30 days beforehand but it was easy and simple to do.
Once I was out of the airport I got a taxi from the official taxi rank and to my hostel, Sleep In in Yangon. When I travelled to Myanmar there was not a lot of options for hostels, there seems to be more now as Myanmar is becoming the place to go. I found the staff here very friendly and helpful, they booked my bus to Bagan and my accommodation there too. It was also clean and included a basic breakfast, but you do need to get taxi’s to visit any of the sites in Yangon.
My first day there I went to visit the Shwedagon Pagoda, the original was built over 2,600 years ago and it has been rebuilt over the years to what it is today, a pagoda standing at 326 feet. It is covered with hundreds of gold plates and the top of the stupa is encrusted with 4,531 diamonds (As always when I visit a place, there was a lot of restoration going on and scaffolding surrounding the pagoda).
It is a huge site (114 acres), located on Singuttara Hill. There is so much to see here, it is truly spectacular. I have also heard its worth seeing lit up at night, but unfortunately I had a night bus to catch that day. It is a must see when you are in Yangon.
After my visit I decided to go to the People’s Square and Park opposite Shwedagon Pagoda. There is a mall before the entrance with a few places to eat so I stopped and tried there equivalent of McDonalds before entering the park.
There are great views of Shwedagon Pagoda from the park and I have read that it’s a great place to go in the evening, there are musical fountains and it’s a great view of the pagoda lit up. It’s a huge park and some beautiful gardens to walk through, worth a visit while you are at the pagoda.
It was then time to go back to the hostel, before my night bus to Bagan, the place I was looking forward to most on my trip to Myanmar.
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