Yangon

Yangon has not been the capital of Myanmar since 2005 when the government moved to Naypyidaw, which is located between Yangon and Mandalay. But Yangon is by far the largest city in Myanmar, according to an article on Wikipedia its around 5 mill. Inhabitants. Some locals claims that more than 8 mill. live in the greater Yangon area. No matter the number of inhabitants you have arrived at a major asian city, with what it means of traffic congestion and lots of people in the streets.

But its kind of different from e.g. Bangkok, where Bangkok between congestion has tendencies to be rushing Yangon is calm. Even if the road is clear you never experience the taxi driver to go 100 Km/hour. I’ve never experienced anyone to go above 60 Km/hour. The same matters on the sidewalk where the pace seams to be relaxed. In Yangon you will experience traffic congestion every morning from 7:30 to 9 and again from 16 to 20 in the afternoon/evening, so if you are going by taxi prepare for longer travel time and believe it if your told that even a short stretch will take rather long time.

Yangon is quite and old city. The history claims that Sule Pagoda has been around for about 2.500 years but other sources mentions the city as Dagon in the 11th century.

The long history has put a lot of pagodas all over the city, Shwedagon is the most impressive, but don’t skip the Sule or Botahtaung Pagodas they are also amassing.

Getting around in Yangon is easiest to do by taxi. You’ll find local busses with regular routes running all day, but destinations and routes are only described in Burmese. The busses are old and worn down and typically filled with passengers.

Taxi’s has the typical TAXI sign on the roof, the older ones are typical grey but never ones are any colour. New taxis will typically be imported second hand Japanese cars and will have the standard of a 5-10 year old Japanese car e.g. air condition. Older ones are often a special asian model low price Toyota or a 15++ year old Japanese car, don’t expect to find air conditioning, seat belts, comfortable seats. If you find seat belts don’t be surprised if the lock have been removed.

Taxis´do have a meter installed but I’ve never been billed by the meter for a trip. Instead the price is negotiated before you start, be aware that the Burmese sees you as rich and able to pay a high price, so be ready to haggle a bit to save a few thousand Kyats. In January 2015 we payed 12.000 Kyats for a trip from the airport to around Sule Pagoda.

As only few drivers talk English or can read a map it’s a good idea to have your destination written in both English and Burmese. We have had good help from a GPS App (Maps.Me) on our phones as the map can show street names in Burmese and if the driver is uncertain about the way you have an opportunity to guide him

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