Saturday, May 30, 2009

Myanmar: Avoiding the holiday rush and going back to Yangon

There was a power outage again when i returned to Nyaung U (I asked and was told that the dry season was affecting the power generation).I n the 40 degree plus temperature, it feels nice to be able to nap with the windows open before having a leisurely lunch and showering.myanmar bagan busAt nearly 3.15pm, the Bagan Minthar Express bus bound for Yangon passed by. I made a hasty wave to Aung, Eden's manager. He helped me secure my ticket with one call to the bus company and it cost me only 16,000kyats (about $16), even cheaper than the fare I paid for the trip from Yangon to Mandalay.

The bus made a very early dinner stopover -- 5.30pm to be exact. After that, our next stop was through a military checkpoint where soldiers listed down our names and inspected our passports and visas. I summarily fell asleep afterwards. I was expecting to arrive in Yangon at around 9am so getting there before sunrise was a big surprise. The much improved roads have considerably reduced the travel time to just under 16 hours instead of the usual 20.motherland inn 2 facadeThe taxi from the station to downtown shouldn't cost more than 7,000kyats but the taxi driver I rode with not only asked for more, he also got more passengers to ride along. I tried getting into the YMCA hostel along Mahabandoola Road but the gates were still closed. I tried the second inn on my list and it was an act of serendipity. Motherland  Inn 2 is located in the quieter side of town, at lower Pazandaung Road, near a railway. Except for the occasional shakes when a train passes by, the place is cozy, very clean, and offers good value for money. yangon motherland inn 2 roomAt $10/day for an airconditioned double room, it offers very spacious and very clean toilet and bath, free big breakfast, free transport to the airport, cable tv (only five channels available); internet-ready computers (spotty connection though). The clincher was the 24-hour power supply. Considering the very long power outages even in Yangon, this was a relief. The staff were also very friendly and helpful, especially Ko Ko. Look for this friendly chap if and when you pass by. 

Tips: always carry your passport/visa (and also a photocopy) especially when traveling cross-country • info: Motherland Inn 2, no. 433, Lower Pazundaung Road, Yangon; email: mli2@myanmar.com.mm
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