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State of the pavements (sidewalks)
The state of the pavements in Yangon is bad. You need to be careful where you are walking. This is especially at night when I would recomend you have a torch with you due to the unforseen blackouts.
This pavement situation is common in downtown Yangon.
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BEWARE OF PICKPOCKETS AND BAG THIEVES..
I beleive that this is a normal warning!! Prior to getting to Yagon (Rangoon) I was warned about thieves and pickpockets by other travellers and hotel staff , but I must say that I had no problem in this respect at all. I found the people that I dealt with were from what I could see very courteous. I was warned a few times when Hiring my bike NOT to leave my day bag in the basket ..Common sense is the order of the day here and this is no different than anywhere else.. The people of Myanmar do life the hard way and I imagine that some tourists are fair game..
Don't flash cash.
Don't put your bag down without a form of personal restraint.
Always carry your shoulder bag around your neck and not just over your shoulder!!
Always be aware when in large crowds like, markets, bus stations and railway stations,
Don't keep all your money in one place ..have a special stash somewhere on your body.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
- Budget Travel
Dont be tricked into staying at the Thammada Hotel
This hotel which is owned by the Military along with Inya Lake Hotel does have a lamentable service and is managed by incompetent people. For the money you pay for this degenerated hotel, you could get a better place to stay.
Avoid this hotel
Panorma Hotel is a better choice.
Always ask people in the know who are the local people. i would never book a hotel through an agency from outside Burma. only through a travel agent in Burma and especially with a knowledgeable one who comes recommended..
Heed what the people tell you
I have always enjoyed a little ride on the Yangon River.. you can rent a whole boat for the journey for 1500 kyat one way or they charge you 100 kyat per ride. so i went down to the river front near Botataung pagoda to engage a boat.. they were quite happy to take all the Burmese in the group but felt sorry that they couldnt take any foreigner on the boat.. either they do not have permission to do so or they have been told that the boats are not considered safe enough for foreigners? in any case, i gladly accepted their judgement. Please Please do not insist and try to bring more trouble than they already have. Please try to be generous and not try to cheat or evade fees when they are levied, try not to sneak into places when you are told you are not welcome.. there are plenty of places to go and plenty of things to do..
i still remember one european ( a pomme I think) complaining that he had to pay $1 for the round the town train ride! when burmese paid only a pittance.. We are better off without tourists like that...
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Respect while visiting the Shwedagon Paya
It is important to keep in mind that Shwedagon paya is a sacred and holy place, so a visitor so keep in mind:
Always keep your voice lowered and at a respectful tone while within the walls (honor locals’ meditation)
Dress should always be modest.
Footwear should be removed before stepping onto any sacred ground (even socks)
There are one or two locations at Shwedagon that are off-limits to women: the eastern upper platform of the pagoda, where a Buddha statue stands who is believed to be able to grant wishes
A woman should not touch a monk in any way. Monks may not touch women, nor take anything from their hand.
If visitors want to photograph people, ask their permission first (though this is not the rule as far as you don’t act like a paparazzi).
It is considered an insult to point one’s feet at anyone or at any holy place or object. When kneeling in prayer or sitting, the feet should be tucked under, or turned inward.
Be respectful of the hours in which you are permitted to visit the Shwedagon, and should not try to break that rule.
Unfortunately, not much has been done to manage the upkeep of footpaths so you will find all sorts of holes, jagged pieces sticking out and especially dangerous storm drains that look as if they are covered but are not!
Be especially careful of the central median strip opposite Sule Pagoda. My brother thought he would get a good photo and stood on a cement slab which lifted and left him with his foot down a gaping hole. It was just lucky he did not break his leg on the first day!!
Make sure you look carefully where you are walking and watch where the locals walk -they usually avoid the storm drain section. Take a torch with you at night as there are few street lights.Related to:
- Religious Travel
- Arts and Culture
- Budget Travel
Stop calling it Rangoon!!
This city has been known as Yangon for about 15 years. All the locals call it Yangon. The government changed the name to Yangon, so it's Yangon. You can't decide on what to call cities based on whether you agree with the government, or whether they have democracy or not. That way madness lies. Same goes for Burma/Myanmar.
My wife is the one who likes sweets, she can`t live a day without chocolate. But trying hard she couldn`t find some kind of good chocolate in Yangon and pined long for it. So if you are the same a bit odd I advise to bring your favourite chocolate with you straight from your country , `cos even if you find some chocolate there I`m not sure it will be like real chocolate. I pined long for meat food , but could I bring with me pelmeni for example ?Related to:
- Family Travel
- Food and Dining
NO INTERNET ?!? Communication Blackout
Access to the internet is severly restricted by the junta. I was able to find one "black market" internet cafe that got me access to yahoo mail but don't count on it. Before you arrive in Burma email your family friends that you will be out of contact for awhile and when you will write back. It's probably a good idea to register with your embassy as well
You're actually pretty safe from any problems unless you try to see the lady on University Ave or start a revoltuion yourself. The gov't is pretty hungry for hard currency so as long as you're here to spend money they will leave you alone.
It is illegal for a local to be caught with foreign currency - especially the US Dollar.
Try to convert your US Dollars to Kyat at the airport, or you might just find yourself without cash. There has been several bank runs and there were just not enough cash to go around. SO, budget well when travelling to
Myanmar. There are not very many places that excepts credit cards. So, come prepared with cash!
Well this isn't a warning tip for any traveler unless you are hauling ice! LOL But this poor guy had his ropes come loose in the traffic and he had to stop to re-tye them. You can see the profits melting away to the ground in the mid-afternoon heat!!\
The warning is don't carry unprotected ice in the middle of the day! It will melt away!!Related to:
- School Holidays
- Budget Travel
Avoid accepting FEC...
Avoid accepting FEC money...for which you can only
get 330 kyats for against the US dollar.
Hold on to your US dollars in cash..
or exchange them before you go. info is free from
Trust this VT who got ripped off with FECs!!
Just know that nothing is free...
Just know that nothing is free in Burma. When someone is really nice to you, they are usually hoping, if not expecting, to get something in return. Not that that is necessarily bad. If I was born there and was in their situation, I'd probably be doing the same thing right now instead of typing this. The girl in this photo and her friends came up to me at a pagoda in Mandalay and pinned a butterfly on my shirt. They talked with me and flattered me and at the end asked me for money. I gave them some candy. But I'm glad they came up to me and talked- I learned a bit and they showed me around. But if I had wanted them to leave in peace- well, that would have required money.
If you're going to visit...
If you're going to visit Myanmar, you are doubtless aware that a military regime is currently in power, and that there is an ongoing democracy movement. Said military regime is regularly accused of some nasty human rights violations, including a big showdown a decade ago in which citizens were gunned down, and forced labor performed by political prisoners. Some would exhort tourists to stay away from Burma until the situation changes.
What you think is up to you. Rangoon, the seat of power in Myanmar, is definitely not the place to discuss politics. Keep your thoughts private, or at least practice extreme discretion in your dealings with any new acquaintances.
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