The flight arrived at Yangon International Airport after being subjected to quite a sum of turbulence. Being the prepared individual that I am, having registered for an e-visa meant that immigration was straight forward. Trying to exchange JPY at the airport was a bad idea, and thankfully I eventually went against it. Actually, a tip here: if you are exchanging anything other than US$, then ask a taxi driver to take you to the Thai Embassy. Just behind it is a money exchange counter that gave me a deal that was 4% off the exchange rate – pretty good deal compared to the 32% difference offered at the airport…
I booked one of the last bus tickets available for Bagan at the airport for US$21, which is a pretty good deal for what they described as FIRST CLASS. With that chore out of the way, I asked the taxi driver to first take me to the Thai Embassy with the money exchange counter round the back, followed by a trip to the city centre.
This is where the madness started. I was in awe of what passed by me: little streets with drink stalls whizzing by, giant metal buses thundering by picking up passengers from a door positioned on the wrong side (actually, most vehicles are like this. Seems like most of them have been imported from Japan as second hand vehicles. This means that for a country that drives on the right, everything is on the wrong side…), and so many old, rustic buildings that are worn beyond belief. Perhaps my taxi driver was doing the same as suddenly he swerved like crazy to avoid what could have been a horrific car crash. A car in front decided to do a U-turn, which came dangerously close to our taxi. My guy decided then to speed up between the culprit and another driver to yell at the offender (including getting out of the car at a traffic light to further yell at the offender). At least upon his return, he gave a polite, yet brief “sorry”, accompanied by a slight nod of his head.
And so the journey to Myanmar began… A country so long closed to people from entering has opened up rather recently to foreign tourists. Well, actually for quite a while now that there are plenty of services catered to tourists. But the excitement came from knowing that in comparison to other countries in the world, tourism in Myanmar is still quite recent, giving hope that I would still be able to get a taste of life in this country without the distraction of flooding tourists.