Yangon, Myanmar - Part 1 - Orlando / Florida Guide
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The reasons to go to Yangon are many, not least the dazzling pagodas, mouth watering food and tantalising market stalls. Life in Myanmar’s fascinating former capital truly feels golden.
On arrival at Yangon airport a sign announces that you’ve reached the ‘City of Gold’, however by that point you’ll already know. One glance out of the plane window will have revealed the smatter of gilded pagodas, either reflecting sunshine or illuminated by spotlights at night, that give the city its name. These Buddhist temples are the most obvious treasures in the city and a visit to them is practically mandatory especially to the most famous, Shwedagon Pagoda. However, there’s so much more to see. Stroll around Inya Lake, it was in a waterfront property here that Aung San Suu Kyi was held under house arrest or explore the leafy downtown streets lined with crumbling colonial architecture which is a remnant of British rule. Also visit the 70 year old Scott Market, which is filled with jewels, longyi skirts and souvenirs. Your first day will just pass by before you know it.
British citizens require a visa, which must be obtained before arrival, more about this later. On the plane, you’ll be given an arrival/departure card to fill in before you land. You will need the address of your first night’s hotel and your flight dates/numbers. At the airport you must pass immigration. Your photograph will be taken and you’ll be given the departure part of your card; keep this to hand in when you leave the country. Then you can claim your bags, which will be scanned before you finally enter the Arrivals hall. In Arrivals there are money exchange desks where you get local kyats. This is not normally the best place to change money but the exchange rate here is only a little lower than in town, so it’s a good option. Take US dollars to change and bigger bills get a slightly better rate. On departure you can change any remaining currency at a desk just after immigration.
Getting into town is easy as taxis are readily available and the cost of the ride into the city is low. You can expect to pay around 10, 000kyat, which is about £8 or around US$10. Drivers will gladly take dollars but make sure you agree on the fare before you start your journey.
If you don’t want to fly in then your options are more limited. Currently the only land border crossings available to foreigners wanting to enter Myanmar are via Thailand. There are four options available which are Tachileik the northernmost crossing, Myawaddy which is east of Yangon, Htee Kee which is very remote and Kawthaung which is the southernmost. Visa rules seem to change all the time and you should check before departure. Currently, unless you’re content with only a day trip to Myanmar and don’t intend to leave the town area you arrive in, then you will need to organise a Myanmar visa before you travel.
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