Already from the airplane’s window you can see the vast delta of the Irrawaddy river, where the capitol Yangon (formerly known as Rangoon) of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) is situated. Small agricultural squares form a quilt of human presence. Before my flight my entering into the country by a transit visa was held with suspense, since the embassy never answered my questions regarding it. Upon arrival everything went well, but with a tourist visa, though.
Yangon feels like Thailand 15-20 years ago: filled with smoky air and Huge construction projects, smiling people and a non-existent public transportation, which leads to huge delays on the roads. Since the population of Yangon is being wealthier, the more numerous car pool is expecting to lead to even more delays on the small roads. During rush hours it took 1.5 hours to travel the 10 kilometer long Road between the airport and the city center. Yangon’s most important tourism site, the Schwe Dagon pagoda is truly magnificent with its big stupa and gold-covered dome. The colonial buildings of the city have been refurbished and they give a certain edge to the developing city.
The food of Myanmar resembles of India’s curries but with Thai herbs and flavors. One of their specialities are the fermented tea leaves that can be added to for example salads.
The most famous sights of Myanmar, the temples of Pagan and the old city of Mandalay, were not along our way this time. You can reach them for example by an ancient, slow Train line, but this time we chose to experience jungle train exotic by the more comfortable line Bangkok- Chiang Mai. That night train turned out to be the coldest trip in my life, since the ice cold air conditioning in the train compartment could not be adjusted!