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Travel to the land of temples-Myanmar

Myanmar is the second largest country in South East Asia with a population of 60 million and is ruled by a military regime. Despite having very rich resources, it has become one of the poorest countries in the world since 1962 due to the military regime. Especially in the field of health system, the situation is very bad and according to the data of the World Health Organization (WHO), it ranks 190th in the world. Average life expectancy is 57. People are not used to tourists at all. Apart from tourist groups that have taken a tour of Myanmar, they are very surprised when they see tourists traveling alone and stare for a long time. But I would say they are harmless, the last thing the public want here is to get in trouble and come face to face with the police and soldiers.

Information About Myanmar

Myanmar (Burma), which has been ruled by military power for 50 years, is literally the closed box of Asia. It cannot be said to be completely safe. While it was the second richest country in Asia before 1962, it became one of the poorest countries in its region thanks to the Burmese Way to Socialism program initiated by General Ne Win. As far as I can see, the country was stuck in 1962, and there is not the slightest progress in terms of the country’s infrastructure or social structure. Every now and then, when the army gets bored, it changes the country’s name, flag, capital, and city names (the country was formerly called Burma and Burma). Even if he gets angry with foreign countries, he closes his borders, while neither tourists can go out nor people from outside can enter the country. When talking about the country, it is impossible not to mention Aung San Suu Kyi. She is a brave female politician, a human rights defender who is known for her struggle against the military regime and followed in the footsteps of people like Gandhi and Martin Luther King. The army imprisoned him for 6 years and did everything to smear his name. There is no place belonging to this country on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Of course, the reason is political. Weight measurement units are peiktha, equivalent to 1.6kg. For length, they use feet and miles. Unfortunately, the democracy he’s fighting for doesn’t look like it will come to the country for long. There is now intense pressure and brutal rules imposed on the people by the military. If you want to understand the country, I recommend you to read “Burma Days” by George Orwell. Orwell is said to have written three books for Myanmar: Burma Days, Animal Farm, and 1984!

Myanmar Travel Practical Information Credit cards are not accepted in Myanmar (it can now be found in major cities and airports) and you cannot withdraw money from ATMs. For this reason, you should take the estimated amount you can spend during your entire trip to the country in dollars or euros and convert them to Myanmar Kyat. Running out of cash in the country is the worst thing that can happen to you. There are two exchange rates: the government’s official rate and the black market rate. While 1$ is 6Kyat in the official exchange rate, it is currently 775 Kyat in the black market. For example, if you go to the banks and change your money at the official rate, you pay 166$ for a coke, and an average of 1000$ for a single night stay. Of course, in this case, no one exchanges their dollars at the official exchange rate. What to do, after you fly to Yangon, the country’s largest city (99% of international flights are made to this city), you go to the city center (you pay dollars for the taxi, of course) and exchange your money at a good exchange rate in a place like a jeweler’s bazaar. But it’s not exactly a legal practice and had strict penalties until the last few years. For example, a traveler who had his money exchanged on the black market was arrested by the police after the same black marketer reported it, and was sentenced to a one-year prison sentence.

The exchange rate is extremely volatile, down 33% from $11150 Kyat last year. For this reason, it is better to go when the dollar is high, otherwise the prices will double everywhere. The hotels I saw as 4$ on the internet became 8$, and the bus tickets increased by at least 50%. Therefore, the answer to the question of whether Myanmar is cheap or not should be “depending on the dollar rate”. Fortunately, with an application introduced in 2011, foreign exchange offices were opened at the airport, offering black market prices. Don’t ask how this is legal, I don’t know. You can safely change your money from this office, which opens at 7 on weekdays and at 10 on weekends. But a single exchange takes half an hour, as they scrutinize and archive every coin you give them. The dollar you will exchange must be in perfect condition, they will not accept if there is the smallest tear, wrinkle, writing or folding traces on the money. They do not accept CB series banknotes at $100. But if you ask for their own money, they look like they just got out of the war. Never waste all your money. You have to pay train tickets, hotel fees, museum-city entrance and exit fees in dollars. If you pay for something in dollars, you get it in dollars, otherwise in Kyat. Well, you ran out of money, what will you do? The only solution is to somehow get to Yangon. Here they give cash to your credit card for a nice commission (between 7-30%, usually close to the upper limit). The public is forbidden to buy dollars, so they can’t go abroad (you can’t exchange Myanmar currency abroad), so they have no choice but to ask the tourists they see to give them dollars in exchange for their Kyats. As a result, they can save up to five or ten dollars and cover their flight tickets and expenses.

Myanmar Attractions

1. Mandalay Hill Climb

Mandalay Hill step by step. Above you, a magnificent view of the entire city, mountains and valley stretches under your feet. Entry is free. Hop on one of the pick-ups to the town of Amarapura, 11km from Mandalay. Your destination is the U Bein Bridge. Remember, Myanmar is not considered to be visited without a commute at U Bein.

2. Sagaing Hills

You can go to the Kaunghmudaw Pagoda by climbing the Sagaing Hills 21 km southwest of Mandalay. In the nearby U Min Thonze Pagoda, dozens of colorful Buddha statues await you.

3. Mingun

Another important attraction of Mandalay is the 11 km boat trip to Mingun. Everyone says it’s an unforgettable experience, you have to get up early for this because the only boat of the day leaves at 9 am.

4. Bagan Temples

In Bagan, take a map and enough water with you, rent a bike and ride as you wish among 4400 temples. Every temple you visit will be a new discovery, a new experience.

5. Shwezigon, Bagan

Bagan’s most famous pagoda is called Shwezigon. This golden temple built in 1057 is very impressive (entry is free). Inside the Ananda Temple are huge golden Buddha statues. While you’re here, don’t forget to stop by the nearby Bamboo Town.

6.Inle Lake

A full-day boat trip on Inle Lake will make you spend one of the most unforgettable days of your life. Enjoy, admire the daily life of the people of the lake, marvel at how the foot paddlers can both ride the boat and fish by themselves. A hot balloon festival is held every year in October on a hill (Tanggyi) at an altitude of 1460m near Inle Lake. If you come acrossit, I guarantee you will have a great time. Another feature of this place is that there are many hill tribes living on it.

7. Kalaw

If you still have time and energy left after all this, you can join one of the trek groups to Kalaw. There are daily, 2 and 3-day trekking options, choose one and enjoy the unique nature of Myanmar.

Things to do in Yangon

1. Use a map

Get maps from the MTT office in the city center as soon as you go. Here you can find maps of other cities. It’s really hard to find your way without a map.

2. See the Shwedagon Pagoda

Spend at least 2-3 hours going to Shwedagon Pagoda. This huge temple complex, where the people come to find peace and worship and spend all their days, is almost like a city within a city.

3. See the floating temple

See the floating temple (Karaweik) in Kandawgyi Lake up close. If you wish, you can take a walk around the lake, but let me state that the entrance is 2000Kyat.

4. Take the Circular Train

Go to the train station and take the Circular Train ($1). These trains depart at frequent intervals and pass through many neighborhoods of the city for 3 hours and return to where they started. It is perfect for watching the local people who have built their lives around the train tracks.

5. Travel through villages

Cross over to the opposite bank of the river. You can use one of the boats in the port area ($2 round trip). On the opposite side, you will find a completely different world consisting of small villages. Arrange one of the Trishaw drivers at the pier and ride as you wish.

6. See the Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda

If you have time, take one of the Mon State buses to Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda, 160km away. The peculiarity of this pagoda is that it is on a hill, and right on the edge of the cliff there is a golden rock that looks like it is going to fall beyond the laws of physics, but remains stable. This rock is one of the symbols of Myanmar.


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