Myanmar – Yangon

The journey from Sri Lanka to Myanmar was long. It required a 6 ½ hour train ride from Sigiriya to Colombo, followed by a 1 hour bus ride from Colombo to the airport, followed by a 4 hour red eye flight from Colombo to Kuala Lumpur, followed by an early morning 2 ½ hour flight from Kuala Lumpur to Yangon. We were sleep deprived and in desperate need of showers.

Missed our previous Uppuveli & Sigiriya post? Read it here

Luckily our accommodation, Check In @ Downtown, allowed us to check in at 10am. Which was truly a lifesaver. They gave us some much needed coffee and we headed up to our room to freshen up.

Our room in Check In @ Downtown

We trekked out for some lunch. We had a basic idea of which direction we were headed. This was made a bit more uncomfortable since we were in the midst of a downpour. We actually ended up at the high end mall, Junction City. We went to the restaurant floor and found a place that was jam packed with locals ‘YKKO’. This turned out to be a pretty famous chain in Myanmar and they specialized in one dish ‘Kyay Oh’. We ordered one ‘wet’ with wonton noodles and pork and one ‘dry’ with chicken and rice noodles. We dressed them up with fresh chili and garlic and took our first bite.

Kyay Oh Noodles…amazing!

Oh. My. God.

Put this on the list of one of the best things we have ever eaten. So what is kyay oh, you may be asking?

It’s a soup noodle dish that is traditionally comprised of pork, pork meatballs, pork brains and pork intestines.

What does it taste like? Magic.

The rule of thumb when eating in Asia is find the place that is brimming with locals for these two reasons.

First, the food turnover rate is higher which means you’re less likely to fall ill.

Second, they are there for a reason; the food is worth it.

So what did we do on our first day in Yangon? Well… to be honest. We watched Deadpool 2 in the movie theater. We were so exhausted from travelling, we just needed a day to chill and not use any brainpower. It was also raining which gave us more of a reason.

CGV…say what?!

The next day we trekked out in the rain to see some sights and markets. We checked out the Bogyoke Market where we treated ourselves to some delicious Burmese tea and Tea Salad. We then headed on to see the Sule Pagoda, Maha Bandoola Park and Independence Monument.

Tea time with a side of Tea Leaf salad

Afterwards, we stopped into one of the many adorable restaurants in the area called Rangoon Tea House. This place was amazing. Cute coffee house/restaurant downstairs, classic bar/restaurant upstairs. All styled in a colonial time design. We sat upstairs and enjoyed some chai cheesecake, pork steamed buns and an ice cold beer.

The Rangoon Tea House

Once we finished up there, we took our Tour de Yangon to the Blind Tiger for some happy hour cocktails and friendly banter with the hospitable barman.

Blind Tiger

We will call this Day 2 – Our day of indulgence.

On Day 3 we set out try a place that was apparently famous for their kebabs and hummus. On arrival we could smell why, whatever they were cooking inside smelled incredible. But we were soon let down to find out that they had closed for Ramadan and would only reopen to the public at the end of this month. So we trekked on looking for a new place to serve us lunch preferably with aircon. There was not a drop of rain that day and my god, it was HOT. Well, we did find a place it was cute and cool but the food was terrible so we won’t give you any details here.

We trekked on to the Shwedagon Pagoda but we both forgot our sarongs to cover up with. So we just looked on from the outside. We then continued on our walking tour back to the main area where we found an INCREDIBLE dumpling spot. If you like dumplings and you are in Yangon, check out 800 Bowls. Their Xiaolongbao was sensational! We are absolute suckers for dumplings and these babies were eaten up in no more than 3 minutes!

Streets of Yangon

After the dumplings we decided our main course would be the infamous Shan noodles at 999 Shan Noodle Shop. We got 2 different types and shared. Personally, I can’t get enough of kyay oh, but Pete preferred the Shan noodles.

China Town in downtown

On our final day in Yangon we had to be out of our room at 11 but our night bus to Bagan did not leave until 8pm. So we had some time to kill. We were feeling a bit nostalgic, so for lunch we ate at the Korean fast food chain ‘Lotteria’.

Admiring the colonial architecture

Something to be noted here… most of the buses here are used Korean public buses. The movie theater is the Korean brand CGV. You can also find Korean fast food and Korean beauty shops. We only left Korea 4 months ago, but after living there for 4 years, we do start to miss the place we called home for so long. Because of this, Yangon felt foreign and familiar all at the same time! Which may be why we loved it so much.

Sule Pagoda at night

The rest of the day we pretty much wasted time. We walked around the streets, through the markets, picked up some Thai teas from the Thai chain Black Canyon and then grabbed some bread rolls and snacks for our long bus journey.

We made our way back to our accommodation where they were nice enough to let us shower off in an unused room. We cleaned the sweat from our bodies, put some comfy clothes on and called a grab taxi.

Our taxi driver was wonderful and full of conversation. We found out a few things…

1. There are three groups of wealth in Myanmar: the government and their kids, the military and their kids and the black market and their kids.

2. The black market is the opium trade. Myanmar is the worlds 2nd largest producer of opium.

3. They are not allowed to speak poorly of the government.

The infamous railway

Our first impressions of Myanmar are genuinely wonderful. The people are kind and their generosity is sincere. We love the food, with the exception of fermented bamboo shoots. Just stay away from anything that says ‘sour’ because guaranteed it will contain these horrible creations.

Yangon was our entry point into Myanmar. In a mere 4 days, the country has made its way up to one of our top favorites.

Continue on with us to Bagan

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