Yangon

Yangon is the most exotic of all Southeast Asian cities. A walk down a typical street, the sights show noticeable commercial and traffic signs written mostly in local alphabet, not to mention the appearance of wandering monks in burgundy robes and the gilded pagodas as this is expected in this Buddhist country, and down to the locals keeping up their appearances. Here, everyone seemed to be comfortable with walking barefoot - indoors or outdoors; with faces applied with sun protection cream from the extracts of a tree branch called Thanaka; smiles reddened by bloody red juice from chewing betel nut; as well as being used to images of men wearing a sarong-like garment, the longyi.

The Circular Train is way to get a tiny glimpse of life along the commuter rail corridor in Yangon. For experienced travelers, though, the train is monotonous and doesn't reveal more than train stations and a handful of water spinach fields. A ticket costs 500 kyat (since 2014 same price for tourists and cannot be paid in USD any more) and is available at the Station Masters office at (Platform No. 7 at Yangon Station). To get to platform 7, take the walkway above the tracks east of the station along Pansodan Street, and go down the last stair to the south. The train departs from the west end of the platform. The station itself, in true British colonial style, is a grand building that combines functional Western styles with Burmese architectural elements (layered ornamental roof). Vendors, vegetable sellers, monks, commuters, all use the train which passes through the many villages that surround Yangon. The scenery changes from urban to rural fairly quickly and villages with ponds, kids, and cows passing by. The journey takes three hours.

The Dallah Ferry - to Dallah, a small village across the river from Yangon, is an interesting ferry ride, particularly if you won't have the opportunity to catch a local ferry elsewhere in Burma. The ride is brief but filled with all the craziness of a Burmese ferry: you can buy freshly sliced watermelon, cheroots and cigarettes, tea, all kinds of interesting looking food, various knick-knacks from the many vendors who pack the ferry. The ferry are two tiered. The lower deck has plastic seats possibly for rent -- small plastic chairs (kid-sized!) are available for rent for 5 kyats (odds are that the chair rental agent won't take your money) and larger deck chairs for 15-20 kyats. The Upper deck has seats for free. Upstairs, kids will jostle to sell you packets of what is used as bird food. You throw it out to acrobatic gulls flying in circular pathway looking to get a morsel!

Food Market Tour and Cooking Demonstration offered by the Governor’s Residence Hotel to experience the local way of life and the produce on offer in the local markets of Myanmar. The cooking demonstration takes place upstairs in the hotel's Mindon lounge where you will learn to cook a traditional Myanmar salad.

Karaweik Palace does nightly shows and buffets. The food is okay, but there is more than 2 hours of unique Burmese entertainment. It is a fun night out, but it is rumoured that the profits from this show go directly to the government.

TS1 Yangon. Transit Shed No.1, located in the centre of one of Southeast Asia’s most historically significant and iconic areas of exchange, houses Yangon’s first Pop-Up Project. Named TS1 Yangon, it includes three distinct spaces: a gallery, a retail space and a restaurant called Port Autonomy. In keeping with the pop-up concept, new gallery exhibitions, retailers and menus rotate in to TS1 Yangon regularly. All content is Myanmar focused, with a twist. The space will host a carefully planned programme of cultural and social activities, including concerts, literary readings, performances, screenings, trunk shows and workshops.

Sapel Burmese Traditional Foot Spa. The only place in Yangon that specializes in Traditional Burmese Foot Massage in an open hall concept. It provides a safe and comfortable environment for all travelers to indulge in a healthy and relaxing massage after a day's walk along the nearby streets of busy Chinatown.

Health Blessing. The welcoming staff at Health Blessing have been specially trained in the ancient techniques of traditional Massage and Reflexology Foot Massage. The owner, who speaks English, is graduated from world famous Wat Pho Massage School.

Yangon Yoga House was born out of the desire to bring together the growing community of yogis in Myanmar's major city under one roof. YYH was opened to encourage practitioners of all levels to explore, share, and grow their own yoga practice in a common space.

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