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Diary of a French man who lives in Myanmar

Diary of a French man who lives in Myanmar

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Old Aug 15, 19, 1:18 am
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Diary of a French man who lives in Myanmar

Introduction

A little bit of introduction about myself. After I finished high-school I studied one year in China. Then I worked 5 months in Accra, Ghana, in West Africa. Since February 2019 I am working for a company in Yangon Myanmar. Here, do not except to see reports of ultra-luxury hotel and premium cabin (unless you consider upper class train in Myanmar “premium cabin”). I like to discover how a society is working. For example, what is the importance of the religions and the ethnics group? Do adults still live in the same apartment with their parents? Are the Burmese of Indians origin culturally closer to Myanmar or to India? Why is there so many wild dogs in the street?

15 August 2019

Today is 6 months minus 10 days that I am living in Yangon, biggest city but not capital of Myanmar. Yangon is the most underrated tourism destination in Myanmar: most of the visitors will only see the Schwedagon Pagodas, missing all the colonial architecture heritage that shapes this city. Even living here for 6 months, I still discover new secrets every day. For example, did you know that the last king of Myanmar, Thibaw, was exiled by the British in India where he is still buried today? And that the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, was exiled by the same British in Myanmar, where he is still buried today? So I am going to visit the tomb of the last “Emperor of India” in Yangon. Despite its symbolic importance, the place is hardly visited: at 10 am, I am the only tourist. Nothing is really old, most of the building is done of false marble and plastic, but despite this, I really feel in the heart of the Raj History.

On the way back to my home, more historic houses. This one has a lot of greenery.


This one looks straight out of Italian Renaissance.



Last step from today's walk, Bogyoke Market was built by the British in 1926. Here, no food, but jewels, jade, and clothes. Note that a lot of shop have their commercial sign in Chinese. For centuries, Chinese go to Myanmar to buy jade. Things continue like always. In the background, the skyscraper is the “new Bogyoke Market”, a modern shopping mall.
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Old Aug 15, 19, 1:31 am
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Really a different perspective to a very underrated destination. Thanks for posting this.
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Old Aug 15, 19, 1:40 am
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Thank you for your answer GuyCCU83. My goal is to keep this trip report going for the next 6-months, adding both visits of Yangon and excursions everywhere in the country. As there is not a lot of trip reports about Myanmar, I will give explanations about train travel and domestic airlines.
One thing that differentiates Yangon from most other emerging cities in the world is that there is no lack of green space. Just see this picture from my hotel room, and I precise that I live in the downtown. Good luck to find as much green space in Lagos or Manilla.
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Old Aug 15, 19, 1:53 am
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2 days Trip from the 28 June
Dawei is a city of around 200 000 people in the south of Myanmar.

I went there during a week-end, which means:
- leaving Saturday at 2 pm from downtown Yangon by taxi to go to the bus station
- at 4 pm, taking the "VIP" bus to Dawei
- on Sunday at 5 am arriving in Dawei
- the same day at 5 pm taking the bus back
- arriving at the bus station in Yangon at 6 am on Monday
- 1 hour of taxi until my hotel in downtown Yangon
- 30 minutes later going to work



Dawei is your typical third world small city, where most of the buildings are in poor conditions. I will not spend too much time on the touristic sights that are not really interesting, but I want to share with you a picture of my hotel room in Dawei. Did you ever in your life see a hotel that looks remotely like this ?

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Old Aug 15, 19, 7:32 am
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Originally Posted by Hugues View Post
Did you ever in your life see a hotel that looks remotely like this ?
I´m glad I had not to stay in such a room so far, but I guess here on FT were some other rooms on display which qualified for ever negative award. The furniture seems to be mixed from old stuff and one new stool. Am I right that the bathroom was incredible dirty?

P.S: Are their hearts on the linen? Looks wired....
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Old Aug 15, 19, 7:49 am
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Old

Yes there are hearts on the linen. What I found interesting was that the room looks like it was probably luxurious at some point 50 years ago, but was not renovated since. It is different that your average modern creepy hotel room you find all the time in developing countries.
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Old Aug 15, 19, 10:13 am
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Originally Posted by Hugues View Post


Dawei is your typical third world small city, where most of the buildings are in poor conditions. I will not spend too much time on the touristic sights that are not really interesting, but I want to share with you a picture of my hotel room in Dawei. Did you ever in your life see a hotel that looks remotely like this ?

Yes, stayed at worst hotel which was Best Western Las Mercedes Managua, Nicaragua. Your bathroom and bedroom are much nicer.

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Old Aug 15, 19, 12:01 pm
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your hotel looks a lot like some the hotels I stayed while in India a long time ago...
looks cozy..
looking forward to reading more
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Old Aug 15, 19, 12:42 pm
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I have been to Yangon (and Myanmar) a number of times, the last being about 4 years ago. When I went to see Bahadur Shah's grave, they were just about begiining to dig around to look for it. There is a (at least used to be) a family run glass factory a little bit away from the center. I had visited them a number of times.... The family has interesting pictures to show including one with Astronaut John Glen (who visited them when he went on a world tour after his first space flight). I contacted Senator Glen with the photograph, and he got a kick out of it.
Out of curiosity: why Dawei?
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Old Aug 15, 19, 12:43 pm
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I like how the electrical outlet is spaced strategically above the bathtub LOL
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Old Aug 15, 19, 12:48 pm
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I don’t see SFO777 heading there anytime soon
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Old Aug 15, 19, 3:15 pm
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Living in Thailand since 2002 I definitely plan a visit to Yangon and Mandalay next year.
I have an 8 year young daughter who is age to explore countries and cultures now and I need a multiple re-entry permit for Thailand allowing me to go in and out as much as I like. This year only have two single entries and traveling to Europe and on to visit friends in Montreal during september.
I will follow your trip report with interest.
I did stay in a lot worse hotel one night being stuck between Malaysia and Thai border in a village before border crossing at Sadao, the border closed after 18h...
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Old Aug 15, 19, 7:27 pm
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Hugues I admire your adventurous spirit. We spent 11 days in Myanmar last Sept. It was spectacular. I would encourage everyone to consider a trip there. The people are incredible and the history is amazing.

Keep up your travels and see Inhle lake among others.
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Old Aug 15, 19, 7:35 pm
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Hugues , thank you for your reports and pictures of a mysterious place . I have spent a lot of time in Thailand and even gazed at Burma in the distance . I have never spoken with anyone who has been there . I look forward to your continuing reports . Thanks Again
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Old Aug 15, 19, 10:37 pm
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This is so fun to read. We spent two weeks in Myanmar end of last year and absolutely loved it! The hospitality and generosity of the people there is unmatched. We stayed in hotel rooms similar to yours, as well as more luxurious ones like The Strand in Yangon, which is in a beautiful colonial building and has butler service! It was built by the Sarkies brothers (cfr. Raffles Singapore!) and if you haven't been you should definitely go for a drink and a cigar in the bar, which has live music most days of the week if I remember correctly!

Other than Yangon, we absolutely loved Bagan and Inle Lake! Shame transport is so difficult. We were hesitant of taking domestic flights after hearing some stories, so decided to take 2 10+ hour VIP buses, which, except for the extreme cold, was actually quite comfortable!
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