Sun 10 May, 2015

The following morning we flew to Yangon, to complete our Myanmar trip. Our guide and driver waited for us in the airport. The usual stuff: polite but very limited knowledge of the English language. The city is pleasant, more westernized than one should expect and has a lot of parks and green territory. There are few high rise buildings, but there is a sense of order, much different than the chaos that one sees in Bangkok or the African capitals.


Big Smile
A street merchant with a broad smile in Yangon.
Tricycle Man
A man on his tricycle in Yangon.
Yangon Characters
An elder lady and a tricycle driver in Yangon.
Korean Style
A young man with dyed hair in Yangon.
A monk in Yangon.


We headed to the train station to get on the train that runs around the city. Supposedly this is one of the must do things in Yangon. The crowds are colorful and noisy, the cars worn out, but the feeling was far from what I experienced in Madagascar on the FCE line. The train runs around the city of Yangon, passing next to slum-like neighbourhoods, much different to the center of the town.


The Circle Line
The train doing the circle line around Yangon.
Bite to Eat
A woman in the circle line train in Yangon.
The Monk
An elder monk in the circle line train in Yangon.
The Traveller
Yours truly on the train in Yangon.
Catching the Train
A merchant running to catch the circle line train in Yangon.
Fruit Merchant
A fruit merchant in Yangon's central station.
Train Station
The central train staion in Yangon.
My Ballon
A kif blowing a balloon in Yangon central train station.


We rode for 4-5 stops and then we got off to get a rickshaw. These are pedal driven tricycles seating two passengers and bearing no suspension. The rough ride twenty minutes ride gave me a good feeling of how many locals commute.


Yangon Tricycle
Another tricyle in Yangon.
Yangon Tricyle
Tricycles are very popular in Yangon.
A tricycle owner taking an afternoon nap between rides near the Shwedagon pagoda complex.


Three hours and one lunch later, we drove to the colonial center of the city. There are beautiful buildings and a sad reminiscence of a guilty colonial past, but the buildings are not well preserved and the whole setup lacks the charm of the colonial past. A large population of Indians is running a lot of the shops in the center. The city has a multicultural air, many Buddhist, Hindu and Christian temples and people of different ethnic groups occupying the busy streets.


Colors of Yangon
A colonial building in Yangon.
A colonial building in Yangon.
A man and his longhi in the center of Yangon.
Man in Yangon
A man walking the streets of Yangon in his longhi.
Streets of Yangon
A busy street in the center of Yangon.
A restaurant in the center of Yangon.
Hindu Temple
Hindu temple in Yangon.
A young man pushing a loaded cart in Yangon.
Fruit Merchant
A fruit merchant in Yangon center.
Colors of Yangon
A coloful colonial building in the center of Yangon.
Busy Market
A flee market in the streets of Yangon.


This was our second time in the city, as we spend another day here, upon our arrival 11 days before. We had landed at 6am and drove to the hotel to take a short nap, to recover from teh long flight. At noon, we visited the Royal Lake, in the pleasant but mostly empty Kandawgyi Park in the center of the town.


Cigarette Break
A waiter of a restaurant in Royal Lake taking a cigarette break.
Shwedagon Pagoda
The Shwedagon pagoda viewed form the Royal Lake.
Lunch TIme
Lunch in Yangon's royal lake.


After a chicken wings lunch and a cold beer we went to the Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda, home of the impressive 70m reclining Buddha. The Buddha face is far from manly, a sign of a great respect from the artist, as the guide explained us.


Reclining Buddha
The impressive giant reclining buddha image in the Chauk Htat Gyi pagoda.
The Reclining Buddha
The huge image of the reclining Buddha in Yangon.
Skinny Monk
A super skinny monk in the Chauk Htat Gyi pagoda in Yangon.


As it was still my first day in Myanmar, I was wearing my sneakers that I had to take out every time we entered a temple. I learned my lesson that day: always wear flip-flops. The next stop was in a local market, one of the many to follow in Myanmar. The shops are tiny, the noise and colors intense and the people too photogenic.


Woman in the Market
A woman selling vegetables in Yangon.
Barber Shop
A barber shop in Yangon.


We saved the visit to the huge Shwedagon Pagoda for the end. It “is the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in Myanmar, as it is believed to contain relics of the four previous Buddhas of the present kalpa” (source:wikipedia). The central stupa is very impressive, 99m high, surrounded by a large number of temples and smaller stupas. Pilgrims from around Myanmar and other buddhist countries flee the complex to wash the faces of the buddha images and express their religious beliefs. An amusing spectacle takes place every 5-10 minutes when chords of women with brooms, sweep the marble floors to clean the way for the visitors.


A lady monk praying in the Shwedagon pagoda complex.
A man paryong to Buddha images in the Shwedagon pagoda complex.
A young girl hitting the gong in the Shwedagon pagoda.
These Tourists...
A man wandering around the Shwedagon pagoda complex.
Shwedagon Pagoda
The main stupa in the Shwedagon pagoda complex.
Resting Monk
A monk browsing the internet in the Shwedagon pagoda complex..
Buddhist Temple
One of the temples in the Shwedagon pagoda complex.
What is it Mommy?
A young boy talking to his mom in the Shwedagon pagoda complex.
Long Hair
A visitor with impressive long hair in the Shwedagon pagoda complex.
Sunset in Shwedagon Pagoda
Sunset in the Shwedagon pagoda complex.
Floor Cleaning
A battalion of cleaning ladies in the Shwedagon pagoda complex.
Bowing to Buddha
A pilgrm bowing to one of the Buddha images in the Shwedagon pagoda complex.
Buddhists praying in the Shwedagon pagoda complex.
Pilgrim in Shwedagon Pagoda
A man resting in the Shwedagon pagoda complex.
Washing the Buddha
A plgrom, pouring water on the face of a Buddha image, in the Shwedagon pagoda complex.