En Route Myanmar Sept 2014: Yangon

Shwedagon, the Iconic Temple of Myanmar

 

arrive Yangon around 2.30pm but only arrived my GH at 5.30pm. why??? partly my fault.
when i arrived the bus station, there were so many ‘hello taxi” “hello where you go” “hello where you from” as usual.  and i was running low on my budget. and i wanted to do it the local way. so i told them where i wanted to go, via local bus and where i was from (still assuming the Thai nationality)

and one very sweet gesture… after i told them i wanted to take a bus, some new faces who just entered the scene came after me. i was kinda irritated. but still told them nicely where and how i plan to go. and the lovely burmese didnt get unhappy but instead told me which direction to walk to get my bus. WOAH that really made me feel so ashamed again for being skeptical. lovely Burmese.

so after asking around, the locals combined-effortly put me up the local bus towards my destination, Hledan-lan (lan = street/road). so cheap somemore. 20 times cheaper.

so i alighted at my destination at 4pm. check location, check map. confuse. lost. ask around. nobody knows. wah siao liao.

wah then i smart. i spotted two students. higher chance of them knowing english right. at that moment i felt like i was the smartest ass in the hole wide world. okie. pun.

then i found out. i was at the wrong Hledan. what do you mean by WRONG HLEDAN! did i just end up in another province?! (having been there for 10 days, i know there is a strand road at EVERY different part of Myanmar…)

i was at the purple Hledan instead of the red Hledan!!!!

10 mins during off peak. it’s like from Ion Orchard to Geylang lor 27

 

it looks near la. but it really isnt. so ended up spending another 2000k on a taxi.. and by the time i arrived my gh… it was almost 6.
i was feeling quite depressed.. but my mood lightened up 15% when i saw this!

YAKUN!!!!!!!!!!!! from SINGAPORE!!! didnt go in though…

finally found my gh around Hledan street…

checked in at the 8 bedder mixed dorm, greeted by a contemporary art installation

masterpiece of Anna the ‘Hungarian’

showered, missed the sunset, still sick and lacking sugar and salt, and feeling another level of “yellow skin asian” treatment by my dorm mates (later i found out 5 of them were germans travelling together thus the anti social attitude)

and when i finally went out for dinner…

sky alreadyblack black.

so i was staying at the chinatown area. lots of food. but i was still feeling sick..

but still had to eat la.

actually is delicious. taste like singapore chinese fried noodles. a little different.  looking at this now makes me hungry. just that i was sick at that moment so i only had one fifth of it.. and could feel the oil greasing my throat.

needed a drink. something light and sweet… and i found THIS

another saving grace.

sat there until i felt stronger. and walked a little around the area

 

 

 

ah girl helping her ma out at such a young age

my body was still weak and i was very sleepy. so i headed back… had a little chat with the non-german dorm mates and then slepttttttttttt…


went for a walk the next day, with two missions 1- find post cards. 2- buy stamps and mail postcards. ok thats three missions.

the very nice Malaysian business big brother had also arranged to take me out for dinner that evening. so i had to be back at my GH by 6pm (mainly for the wifi to contact him)

 

 

 

cigs

 

looks quite tempting..

well since i was already a little sick, the worst that could happen to me was, to just shit on my pants. so i decided to buy and try!

wow!!!!!!!!!!!! it’s corn inside! i thought it was like calamari and chicken nuggets or something. its all vegetarian (not sure about the oil used). perfect to snack on as i continued walking.

 

 

Bogyoke Aung San market

everyone told me there’s postcards here. so i combed… =/ tak ada (malay word for ‘dont have’)

it’s also here that i started meeting some less friendly people.. cant be blamed. it’s a tourist trap
met the two Dutches here again (first met them at mandalay, moustache brother show)
they found out i was travelling myanmar alone and both said ‘Travelling here alone? Thats so unsingaporean!”

well i take it as a compliment.

this sign caught my attention quite funny if you know what it means.

“special discount for thai people”

 

 

no postcards…. no stamps… i mean yes there are postcards. but are all the one set one set ones. and very expensive.. and out of 20 piece-set, 10 are of Bagan. nah, not gonna send what i didnt see.

nothing much to keep me there so i left pretty soon.

some self indulgent here. at this mini mall there were two cafes.

yes yakun. thats not the main point… beside this singaporean cafe.. is..

Bar Boon, a dutch cafe…. like i said, it’s a little self indulgent. if you get it, you get it.

let’s move on! was hungry.. so went for lunch

noodle with oil and friend shallot

wah this is good too. it’s very close to the chinese onion oil noodle.  this one is a little more oily. should have known by now Burmese food can be on the oily and salty side.

i would have enjoyed this more on a normal day. the oil was really clogging me.

satisfied, i took the walking trail suggested by Lonely Planet

 

SO MUCH BIRDS

one of the three things that can make me cry is LIVING THINGS THAT FLY. and birds are HUGE LIVING THINGS THAT FLY.

i didnt dare to cross and had to wait until some young locals pass by and i asked if i could walk “in the middle“.

that must have made them a little puzzled.  yeah of course they let me walk in the center and even so, i was still treading with 120% alertness and caution. what if the bird decides to land on my instead of the 6 other people around me?

said thank you and bye bye to them and i carried on my journey.

 

Sule Paya

 

 

sat down at the park and three locals came over to talk.

Thissar, Mongkon and Nwee Mu

Thissar speaks super good Thai and i almost cheun-bou (expose). the other two could speak very good english!

spent about 15 minutes there then i carried on my search for postcards/stamps.  was a little behind time. only had 3 hours more before i have to head back to my GH!

 

 

the walk was bad for me. because the K’ung Ya stalls become very congregated in Yangon.
okie i MUST say the following in singlish. try to comprehend if you arent singaporean. sorry..

the smell is damn strong. it’s not like the rubbish dumb that kind of chao sng and fishy smell. 
then hor when i see the stalls i link link link and i will link to seeing them spit the remnants out. wah fk. now i type i also can smell it. 
then i will link to their red red stain on the road. which is like EVERYWHERE de lor. then i will link to their stained teeth. and that thing actually will like corrode their teeth. wah this is like the combo package of ‘imagination’. is really got smell, got colour, got audio, got visual, got acid reflux reaction. my hands suddenly feels weak now. 

 

 

this is like the buffet spread

so they take the betel leaves, spread some plaster (the white stuff) then put some betel nuts and then sprinkle chewing tobacco.

 

the different FLAVOURS

i was really too sick to take more photos. but will definitely take more in december.

anyway… i couldnt tahan(tolerate) the smell. there was like one booth every 20 steps. or sometimes its like 3 stalls side by side.. or down an alley, left right up down…. all is this K’ung Ya…

 

that was the first time i could feel vomit coming up my throat liao. luckily i brought my Citronella oil. put gao gao. but still felt like puking. then i saw a building and quickly went in to hide. wah really is born to be tai tai. of all places, i went in STRAND HOTEL. easily the most expensive hotel in Yangon.

sat for awhile and quickly continued my search for POSTCARDS (it was already past 3pm. i had to head back by 5.30pm)

finally found my postcards. needed a place to write… heh so i went back to Strand Hotel.
yes it’s a budget backpacking trip. but to experience the other end of the spectrum is also part of the experience!!!

a pot of tea for 4USD

really quite okie la. 4usd.

okie done with writing. took me more than an hour. quickly head to post office…. and then….

WAH LAU CLOSE at 5pm!!!! i was there at 5.03pm~!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
i want to (*&^&#%@(#?)(@#@$^*&# also boh lat (no strength)

dejected to the max.

boh bian lor. head back to gh. then it started drizzling.. and got a little heavy. (i dont remember a day it didnt rain…)
so i had to take a bus back.
ask left ask right, nobody knows.

then this local (probably in his late 20s) said he is going to somewhere nearby my GH and only knows buses to that place. not too far from my GH la. so i followed him.
wah and he paid the bus fare for me.  wah Burmese…… why you so generous also!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

we alighted  he walked me to somewhere nearby so i could find my way back to the gh. really very nice.

SINGAPOREANS WILL YOU PAY THE BUS FARE FOR SOMEONE ELSE???? LET ALONE SPEND SOME TIME WALKING THAT PERSON TO HIS DESTINATION?

back in GH, there was a new dorm mate, Syzmon from Poland. who may one day become a ‘famous’ dude in Myanmar.
he was in Mandalay U Bein bridge and happened to chance upon some local production crew shooting a Music Video. the director spontaneously invited him to guest appear in the MV. hahahahha like that also can lor.

okies.. anyway Big Brother Lee (the malaysian business man) picked me up at my GH and took me out for “dinner for the sick” 555

porridge and giam neng (hokkien word for salted egg)
unfortunately, the other dishes were also very oily.. so the sick person didnt eat a lot..
but the porridge was god-sent.

it rained again…. aiyohhhhhhhhhhhhhh then Big Bro Lee took me to Shwedagon.

 

 

 

 

a really big and grand temple. majestic was the golden rock and Grand is this one.

ended the night. really really thankful to have Big Bro Lee taking care of me and insisted on paying for everything….  謝謝你的照顧!我知道你有在讀!


 

next morning after breakfast, i had a little time before packing to balik kampung (malay word for go home)

and i remembered the secret ‘hideout’ P’Thee took me to before i left Mandalay. so i went to find my own ‘secret hideout’. BEAUTIFUL.

the view from my secret hideout =]

quickly packed and headed to the airport.

but not before taking a selfie with one of the best non-asians i’ve met in this trip.

Anna the Austrian. we’re planning to meet again in dec!

once again, Yangon, Myanmar…

 

 

oh did i mention!!
i asked for a second helping of banana at the guesthouse during breakfast (so i could have it for lunch). she nodded and even filled my thermal bottle with hot water (i brought a sachet of instant milo, also part of my lunch).

so i had the banana at the side pocket of my cargo pants and when i was going through the metal detector i asked if i needed to take the banana out and put it through the xray scanner… guess the shock on the officers’ faces… they burst into laughter and even taught me how to say “banana makes me strong” in Burmese. unfortunately it happened too quickly and i forgot… but it was still a very hilarious experience!

if i was in another country i might have been brought into some room….

take away from Yangon? it’s still a beautiful capital and i urge all to visit this place before tourism infiltrates and turns it into another bangkok…

 

EXPENDITURE

Day 1: 
Local bus to Hledan – 200K
water – 300K
Taxi from Hledan Road to Hledan Street – 2500K
Room – 10USD
dinner – 1800K
bubble tea – 520K
Total : 15USD / 20Sgd

Day 2:
fritters snack – 200k
lunch – 1100K
postcards (15 pieces) – 3000k
tea at Strand – 5USD
laundry – 500K
room – 10 USD
Total: 20 USD / 28 Sgd

Day 3:
Taxi to airport – 7000K
Total: 7 USD/ 10Sgd

TOTAL EXPENDITURE FOR YANGON: 42USD/ 58Sgd


and i thought the kindness of the adorable and lovely Burmese stops in Myanmar… i was wrong!
the passenger beside me on the plane home was a young Burmese girl. we had some simple conversation with the very limited english words. and when the plane landed, passengers took things out from the overhead compartments.. and she passed me a bag of the local snack… “for you, present”.

that’s definitely the most heard english phrase i’ve encountered in this trip. “For You, Present”.

i cant offer much in return, but will always always remember their kindness and return it by being kind to everyone else =]

Next up:
Myanmar in a brief. i will select my 12 favourite photos for this trip. 12… it’s gonna be really really really tough. okie maybe 20? teehee!
T.

En Route Myanmar Sept 2014: Kyaiktiyo

Mario the Burmese boy

Kyaiktiyo Pagoda (jaik tee yo) also known as Golden Rock)

is a well-known Buddhist pilgrimage site in Mon State, Myanmar
(source: wiki)

arrived in the noon. the sun was crazy hot. and i was hungry. okie lets talk about the journey there first, so the Burmese lady beside me could tell i was foreigner. and with her limited english she asked when i am from.

as of Mawlamyine i have already been adopting a pseudo Thai nationality.

Two reasons. 1 – some burmese can speak thai and it will be very useful if i need help in directions etc.
2- identifying myself as a singaporean makes me feel too ‘rich’ and i didnt like that.

and this thing i really really really appreciate and love about Thais and Burmese is that..  if you ask local A something and A doesnt know, A will ask B. if B doesnt know B will ask C.  until you feel paiseh and say nvm or until they find someone who can help.

this is something i long to see in singapore one day. and yes i have been practising what i preach. =]

so when the lady beside me knew i was Thai she sorta asked two or three other passengers if anyone could speak thai. and wow one uncle on the next row speaks Thai! so both of them took great care of me the entire 4 hours. anyway, pit stop. toilet break

the tiny walk way to the cubicle

this thing that was on my mind, on many people’s mind.. is that.. many of them are so poor.. some of them live right beside rubbish dumps.. but look at their temples..

they have golden temples everywhere… hmmmmmmmmmm…… at this place i saw a seng pao (ice popsicles) uncle. the conversation was similar

“hello where you from”
“thailand”
“oh thailand. sawadee krap”
“mingalabar”

what came after happens frequently too (for this trip)

“hello. you buy?”
“no thank you. =]”
“for you, present”

so after rejecting politely, the uncle decided to give me instead. (i was more worried about the water they used for making la) then when he said he gives me as present, i was a bit paiseh also so i say i buy. but he stillll gave me one more. “present, present” so i had two pops. and i gave one to the Burmese lady beside me. happiness is really about sharing isnt it?

arrived kinpun and had to take a motorbike to Kyaiktiyo. so the thai uncle on bus alighted with me to help me get a motorbike and told the driver where exactly to take me to and kept assuaring me to “ไม่ต้องห่วง” (not to worry) so nice of him =]
the ride took about 30 mins. i was kinda exhausted by then. plus the sun and lack of sugar/sodium.

arrived GH, got a room… i could have taken the cheaper room but after being in the tiny cell for two nights, all i want is some comfort.. so i took a bigger room. had lunch.. not much appetite and i could feel i was falling sick.. or perhaps just needed a gooooooood sleep.. but i had to get to the golden rock before i miss the last truck down..

boarded the big truck up.

see how narrow the seats are!

had to squeeze in this truck for 45 mins!!! met 3 thais who were on their way up too! i spoke to them in thai and they invited me to join them! oh how i love the warm and friendly people!! and why would i turn down any opportunity to speak thai? hee hee hee

anyway the truck veh irritating. they say one hour depart once. then i went up the truck at 2pm. wait wait wait wait wait wait wait until 2.40 then depart cuz waiting to fill the seats. and it was so warm, no wind and very suffocating i almost wanted to puke.

finally depart.. WIND YES. felt much better.
oh. did i mention that dogs in myanmar are are all soooo skinny… Mawlamyine16
see liao v sad.. after 45mins of turning bending saw-toothing… finally arrived.. and wah lau must pay this pay that.

my new thai friends decided to stay at the hotel up there 150USD/night. and invited me to join them (and said i didnt have to pay) they was worried i would be lonely and not so safe alone. but i rejected their kindness la. my barangs all at the foot of the mountain. anyhow, we went up the temple together.

and this Burmese boy, Mario (named after Mario Maurer?? 555), followed us around. he could speak very good thai. like a thai. and he acted as a ‘guide’.

P’ Nan

P’ Som

P’ Katua

pigu ;p

okie photo gallery now.  

How Majestic….

women are not allowed inside

it was here then i remembered i brought some little toys along and took them out, gave them to some young children. they were thrilled!

gave two to Mario because he has 7 siblings at home!

i sat there, enjoying the peace and serenity. i felt thankful too. for all the good things that happened to me. for all the good people i met, all the good sunsets i watched, all the good moments…

spot me at the bottom?

someone who has been here told me it’s a place i can witness the entire life of a Burmese.. i guess that’s true.. in that short 90 minutes, i saw babies in the arms of their mothers, toddlers losing their balance, little children learning to observe silence, teens carrying bricks up, old people sitting around, selling things..  people praying, people working, people playing…

their devotion is gold.

always enjoying a round of chinlone..

oh the wind was so strong up there and i was freeeeeezing!!!

wpid-1413517169358.jpg

the sun was about to set and i had to take the last truck down..

while waiting for the truck, i realised i didnt have enough money to pay for the trip down (left most of my money in the GH) so this other uncle who heard me speaking Thai helped to tell the driver that i will pay when i get back. they were okay with that.

(my parents were right when they told me Language is one of the most useful things to learn. and never said no whenever i wanted to pick up a new language. but i guess it was all along in me to be interested in languages =D)

and so i said bye bye to my 3 new thai friends and arranged to meet the next morning. while waiting for the truck to leave i saw a group of people playing chinlone.. and… it reminded me of someone. so i decided to be ‘closer to someone’ by playing the game.

dont ask why blurry!!!!

i couldnt play as well of course. but they were very patient and so excited in showing me and teaching me. i was a burden la. 555

Team Golden Rock!!!

the truck started engine, i said bye to my ‘team mates’ and smiled. i ‘played’ chinlone! 5 minutes after the truck left the peak, it started POURING LIKE SIAO. poncho also useless. that was ONE MOMENT of relief and worried.

relieved i brought my DSC_8256feelfree drybag backpack. the blue one. it has the roll roll roll and clip function of the normal dry bag on the  inside. the camera is inside. confirm safe.

worried…

my raincoat wasnt exactly a ‘raincoat’. it  was good for drizzle. but not a downpour like what i was experiencing. the driver speed. i was at the back. non-sheltered. the wind, the rain. and it didnt stop.  for 30 over minutes. i knew i was falling sick..it didnt help.

30 minutes later, i was drenched. soaking wet. my shoes were wet, my socks were wet,  my pants my two laters of top, my underwear, my hair… everything. all drenched. the  only things that remained dry were whatever inside the drybag.

i was so down… i was hungry.. i was cold.. i was feeling sick.. and i was all alone… arrived the foot. ran back to my GH. asked for hot water. (i brought a pack of Yuzu tea.  saviour!)

quickly took my shower but was welcomed by this…

you see the fat spider and the ants?

the room was filled with ants, little flies,  spider that grew fat within 5 hours… it all just didnt help. i turned on the shower tap.. fk.  the water pressure was PATHETIC. unless i switch off the heater. WHAT IS THIS!!!!!!!!!!!

i got more depressed. i took my shower, ignoring the X number of lizards above me.. fat lizards. and the army of ants all around…

i wanted to cry. done with shower, washed the clothes, came out and realised 3 out of 4 of the lights in my room wasnt working!!

nooooooooooo WHY LIKE THAT!!!!!!!!!!!

dried myself a little. i wasnt hungry. but i need to eat. i need hot food. i need internet. i need someone.

there was no wifi in the room. and no wifi at the lobby. i had to walk to the truck station for wifi. WTFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

so i went for food. took less than 3 bites and left. it was still raining. went back to the truck station.

no lights. there were about 8-9 teenage boys. basically it was the kind of situation people will ‘avoid’. especially ‘a girl alone’. but i was in Myanmar… true there will still be bad people. but there are more than enough good people to come to my rescue and burmese will not harm tourists. (99% of them will not). and i needed comfort…

so i didnt think twice. sat down, logged on to wifi and did some messaging.. but the reception was bad.. and i couldnt do much…  and i felt my body giving way. body aching, feverish… so i went back to my gh..

and just before i stepped in, i SLIPPED AND FELL. a cut on my knee. bleed. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh i really really wanted to cry. but i still didnt. back in bed..

first time lying on the bed. WOAH really is you gou sway (very unlucky). the bed was soft like fk. machiam a WHOLE DURIAN on a pandan cake.

i couldnt even rest in comfort and there were lizard droppings on the pillow.. and MORE ANTS crawling on the wall. NOoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

i was so afraid i would wake up to realised the ants had moved the whole room away..

i cried.. ‘i want mommyyyyyyyyy…’
and stomp my feet weakily on the soft mattress.
i cried. and hugged my blue elephant… 

i guess the trip has finally taken its toll on me. but i am not that vulnerable.. so what was causing me to get emotional? i guess it was just a little childish tantrum..

but the night went really really really really slow. the bed was so bad i kept waking up every 15-30 minutes.. it was only until 5am that i finally found the best position and slept… continuously for 2 hours..

woke up at 7. feeling lethargic.. had no energy to pack my barang. no appetite for food. dragged my feet out to get some hot tea.. almost had to crawl back. didnt dare to buy medicine i am unfamiliar with….

took 2 hours to get everything inside my backpacks. then went to the truck station to wait for the three of them. seeing them made me feel so much better instantly. and they had what i needed!!! Medicine with THAI WRITING 555

ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

took the med and felt better. wonder if it’s a psychological thing.

then we took the bus and headed north. they were heading Bago and i was going Yangon…

at the pit stop

photo from them

soon after this, they alighted and we promised to stay in touch. and even up till today they are still constantly reminding me to tell them when i go thailand. they will show me around their place… once again, touched by angels.. Kyaiktiyo… you were so majestic.. but you were so naughty… =[


Expenditure

Day 1
Toilet – 100k
ice pops – 100k
motorbike from Kinpun – 3000k
room – 15USD
lunch – 2300k
truck up to and fro Golden rock  – 5000k
Golden Rock entrance – 6000k
dinner – 1800k
Total : 33USD

Day 2
Bus ticket to Yangon – 8000k
La’pay’ee – 300k
Total: 8USD

TOTAL EXPENDITURE FOR KYAIKTIYO: 38USD/~50SGD


Next up, my confusing arrival at Yangon, where i also met up again with the very nice malaysian business big bro (whom i met at taungyi vineyard, almost puked and strayed from ‘budget’ travelling.

20140918_17001820140918_212125

till then,
T.

En Route Myanmar Sept 2014: Mawlamyine / Hpa An

sunset at mawlamyine

sunset at mawlamyine

i mentioned before.. that this trip to Myanmar is an impulsive one. it took me a few websites surfing and a 130bucks offer from Jetstar. all within.. 10 mins.
why so impulsive? i have to be very honest with myself. i wouldnt have gone Myanmar without a catalyst.
i went because of someone i fell in love with. who sent me photos of Myanmar’s sunsets when he was there for his SEAsia trip. (things didnt work out of course. because.. distance and.. okie no grandmother stories….)  so in a moment of spite and “loved and lost” i decided to go on my own venture to “relieve” his Myanmar sunset moments..
(which is why… there’s sunset in alllll the posts but this wasnt the best season to go for sunsets. it’s cloudy… )

so i read up on the places for the most beautiful sunset in Myanmar. and i was directed to Mawlamyine… (almost a birds no lay egg place for most singaporeans)

it was so out of my way. i was planning to go Bagan after Mandalay. which is one of the most common routes. and also because that was his route. and i only decided to scrap Bagan one week before the trip. (and thus impulsively booked another trip to Myanmar in dec for Bagan….

SEE HOW FAR THEY ARE

SEE HOW FAR THEY ARE

so basically i was doing this central to east to north then to south then to central route. haha it actually forms an infinity sign.

you see Mandalay? around it’s 5 o’clock is taungyi. and it takes 10 hours to travel between T and M.

sooo  yes. it was a 15 hours ride from Mandalay to Mawlamyine… arrived around 9.30am

view from the guesthouse's balcony

view from the guesthouse’s balcony

breeze view

breeze cat

it was also here that i felt that non-asian travellers dont really talk to asians. at my GH there were about 7-10 other travellers. and all of them were non-asians. i tried talking to them but only this Israeli girl Shir was more responsive. and she was very nice to tell me her plans (with two other girls from britain) for the day. and i asked to join in. since it was something i sorta planned to do too.

SOOOOOOO we went to this WWII memorial place. if you know about the Death Railway in Kanchanaburi, then yes this is the Burma side of the railway. we took a bus to  Thanbyuzayat. an hour away.. and walkeddddddddd to locate this.

and it was a little difficult to come because the locals around dont speak much english. almost zero.

English Girls:How do we get to the Death Railway Memorial?
the locals : (smile smile) hello. (smile somemore )
EG: do you know where is the death railway?
locals: (smile smile) shake head

HERES WHEN THE ASIAN SINGAPOREAN STEPPED IN

me: mingalabar, siam, burma, japan, *bang bang bang* (gesture: point different direction)
locals: (smile with understanding) ooooo (some burmese words then point to a direction)
me: jayzudingbadeh!
locals: tang jew (their accent when saying thank you)

YOU SEE YOU SEE. being a singaporean is really a blessing. because we often have to speak in broken english/singlish. makes us damn kiang.
anyway.. all the effort just for.. this.

Mawlamyine01

Mawlamyine02

nothing much really. especially if you have been to the one at Kanchanaburi, this one is really “wah lau you make me come here see simi sai”.

but ya la. better than nothing.

then we left this deserted place

Mawlamyine03

where birds also dont shit

and went on the next search for the War Cemetery  also a long walk.

Mawlamyine05

Mawlamyine07

the girl stationed there to assist visitors

Mawlamyine06

Their Name Liveth For Evermore

Mawlamyine09

RIP dear warriors. You fought to protect your loved ones and people you have never met. Your sacrifice will not be forgotten.

 teared uncontrollably as i read the messages left on their stones.

Mawlamyine08

20140914_143855

peace really isnt something to be taken for granted of and it isnt free…

didnt spend a lot of time there because we had to catch the last bus (at 2.30pm) back to Mawlamyine.

20140914_151522
met a cutie pie on the bus

i headed to Kyaithalan temple because according to lonely planet, the best sunset is seen there… mawlamyine kyaithanlan

steady la. got ‘glass lift’ some more. can see nice view on the way up also.

okie did a little experiment with phone camera and nikon.
20140914_174044(
(auto setting)

20140914_181636

sunset setting

Mawlamyine10

WAH SEH. NIKON you good. (cant deny i ps a little. but wah you see, one sky one… ground)

okie.. i waited for sunset

 20140914_180828

20140914_174357

Mawlamyine12

then quickly headed back to meet Shir for dinner.
but not before she went for a haircut!!

Mawlamyine13

Before

Mawlamyine14

After

the stylist SPEAKS A FAIR BIT OF  MANDARIN !!!!!!!! and thus i was able to help shir translate

SINGAPOREANS ARENT YOU PROUD OF BEING IN A MULTIRACIAL/MULTILINGUAL COUNTRY!!!!
(this is what i always tell my students who ‘hates’ mandarin.)

the SHOCK came when she was done and opens her wallet to pay.  2400kyat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

okok. 1000kyat is 1USD. and 1USD is 1.25SGD. so 2400Kyat is..  WAH SUPER CHEAP. yet the stylist had that “is it too expensive?” look when Shir and I repeated his words in utter shock before breaking into crazy laughter.

(okie i need to learn to stop typing in english. SINGLISH SINGLISH!!!!!!!!)

wah lau eh 2.4 USD for a haircut is damn shiok la! some more not just wash and cut hor. is got head and shoulder massage one okie!!!!!!!!!!!
the stylist suddenly had halo on his head lor.

okie then we headed for dinner. no photos sorry. cuz too hungry and very dim lighting. but it was a tofu feast.

then we went back to the GH. machiam prison. must return by 10pm. wifi accessible only at lobby and off by 11pm…
and room small like cell.

breeze room 2

dont think big okie

breeze room1

if i stand by the side of the bed and lift my hands up to touch the walls? cant even stretch my hands straight.

oh also forgot to mention, the corridor makes me wonder…

20140916_063013

wah lau dunnu is horror movie, geylang (red light district) or war cell

had a quick skype session with my very good friend Jae. it made things so much better. until they switched off wifi.. then i headed back to the room.

i  was writing my diary in the tiny room with walls so thin I COULD HEAR THE NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOUR SNORE..
it was as if he was sleeping right beside me!!!!!!!!!!!!  (RA note: definitely not a red light district cuz i think people will be able to hear their neighbours tear open the condom wrapper)

and then.. i started missing Mandalay… 

10USD per bed during low season. 8 bedder, clean, spacious, well equipped with bathroom at the back. lagi shiok

10USD per bed during low season. 8 bedder, clean, spacious, well equipped with bathroom at the back. lagi shiok

YOU SEE HOW BIG MY ROOM WAS.

then i felt an instant sadness. and i started missing my friends in Mandalay…  ;(
off the lights and slept.

and sekali.. i felt something jumped on my pillow NB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

got sound one. a thud.
i shirked and that thing jumped onto the floor. switched on the light and it was GONE.

it was either a tmd cockroach or a si gina rat. FKKKKKKKKKKKK and the room was so bloody small. i really is no horse run (no way to escape)

then okie lor. i slept with the lights on…  and that bugger didnt appear again. tmd.


next morning….

had breakfast and then headed to Hpa An with a whole bunch of people.
while waiting for the pick up to come, a monk walked pass and had a short chat with me.

before he left….. he gave me a bag of spring roll!!!!!!!!

20140915_090826

wah the norm is people offer food for monk. for me.. i was blessed by a monk!
(this myanmar trip really spoilt me bad. received blessed offering from Nat and Monk!!!)

hopped on to the tuktuk

20140915_075932

transfered to a long tail (we were told its a 3-4 hours ride…. )

Mawlamyine15

they were all heading there but i was only going for a day trip.. (all thanks to booking my room for 2 nights in advance. paid liao. bo bian. otherwise sure go stay in Hpa An)

20140915_090918

20140915_081932

20140915_090001

20140915_083306

Mawlamyine18

Mawlamyine17

20140915_121005

very nice and serene views along the way.

it rained and stopped, rained and stopped, the boat had lobang at the bottom, the boat man had to stop the boat to repair under the hot sun 3-4 times.. and then get drenched again by the rain..

i am full of respect for him and people with laborious job. without them we really cant get much done.

20140915_114412

and while enjoying myself on the boat ride, i also had to take care of the welfare of my friends..

so here.

hamsen angmohs!!!!

20140915_095138 

Mawlamyine22

(but really still cannot beat my sunset dude)

after 3.5 hours we finally arrived Hpa An. accompanied them to their GH in Hpa An and when everyone saw their rooms they were like “Wow This is finally a room!! the previous one was so bad!” honestly, the GH in Mawlamyine is okie. they had good breakfast, nice people and view. its just the room and the “10pm” rule..

but ya la could see the relieve on everyone’s faces. probably except mine because i have one more night thereeeeeeeeeeeeee *omg*

while they checked in and settled down, i went around the town and saw this!

20140915_132934

guess what is this

guess what place is this. (answer is revealed at the end)

then met them again for lunch.

20140915_134237

this was the spread. we had so much food on the table. and that round of silverware in the middle?
it’s paste to go with the food. complimentary. (ahhh singlish singlish!!!)

it is like our chap chye png la. you orler orler then they one plate one plate serve. then you see what taste you like from the selection of their home made paste and you take. some are nice some are… weird.

had my chance to speak a little french with my two other lunchmates. J’mapelle Cio Bu. J’taime Le Petit Prince. 

55555

then i left to take bus back to Mawlamyine.. was a really really short stay.

wah the bus i tell you ah. is frigging old.

20140915_145903

20140915_150225

20140915_145954

20140915_150156

20140915_150248

20140915_150310

a bit the urghs la. but the scenery wasnt half as bad.

20140915_153350

green green grass and mountain. so nice hor?

back at GH after a 2 hour ride.

and i noticed i was scratching a lot… then to my horror..

20140916_065832 20140916_065819 20140916_065815

there were more on the back of my arms, my upper and mid back..  fkkkkkkkkkkkk

ANYWAY on the very HAPPY note

I witnessed an AMAZING SUNSET.

20140915_174906

Mawlamyine23

Mawlamyine24

the book was right. and this wasnt even the right season for sunsets.. it was really really beautiful..

met two Spanish men at the GH who arrived only that day. joined them for dinner

20140915_185747

20140915_185806

20140915_191536

then i went for my haircut too!!

20140916_083042

20140915_210548

he even curled the ends. 555  fantastic service once again!

walked back in the dark thank goodness for torchlights. yeah there was no street lamp!!

had another chat with my new Spanish friend Mario then just before heading back to the room, a guest came out to the lobby and looked for the gh assistant saying there are bed bugs in his room!!!!!!!!!!!!! WAH LAN EHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

so the manager changed a room for him.

two minutes later, the guest came out again and said “this one also has bed bugs”

Mario and i exchanged glances and mouthed the f word.

anyhow, i went back to my room, and spotted a dead spider on my bed. NNB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! now i dare not even lie down on the bed!!!!!!!!! arghs. so that night, i slept in raincoat. like SERIOUSLY. oh yes and with the lights on too.


next morning..

20140916_075740
the bug bites got worse. i was so uncomfortable. the bed was fine. it was the bus i’m sure now.
so i asked for some medicine and the big manager’s wife (they actually live in the same building, upstairs) applied some calamine lotion for me and it felt much much better.

met the Spanish Duo for breakfast

they heeded my advice to go to Hpa An instead. 555

maw spanish

we love our jobs and we love travelling. so none of us need to quit to travel. that makes us very lucky people.

ya la i know i tiptoe la. they are like how tall can.

said bye bye.. still had some time to spare. so picked up this Myanmar travel magazine at the gh and wow it was a very good magazine!

asked the GH owners where i could get it or if i could buy it from them.. and the counter boy said ‘oh no no..’ (he knows very little english) so i thought the story ends there.
then a minute later the big manager came down and told me ‘it is my magazine. you can have it. for you 🙂 ‘
WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

20140916_082746

the one of my left is the big manager

dont ask why blurry photo. i’ve explained in previous posts.

then i headed to the bus station, ready to bid farewell to the amazing sky..

and on the street, i saw…

maw free sim

they were waiting to get free sim cards. wow!!

look! despite this being a small and less visited town, they have GIORDANO and BOSSINI (further down) wah atas sial

20140916_084128

Bus station

with that, i left Mawlamyine..

a place i grew more independent and less afraid of the unknown…
a place where i saw lovely sunsets and  learnt that i had to let go of certain things/people if i want something better. (if i had gone to Bagan i wouldnt have seen the amazing sunset and taken a path less travelled)
a place where i had my first (hopefully last) bed bug bites and will now be more careful
a place where i had my first tear this whole trip (at the war cemetery)

Thank you =]

20140914_174343


EXPENDITURE

Day 1
motor bike taxi to gh – 1000k
Bus to Thanzabyat and back – 200ok
drinks – 100k
bun – 400k
late lunch – 1000k
motorbike from Kyaithanlan to gh – 500k
snacks for boat ride – 800k
dinner – 2100k
room – 10 USD

total: 18USD

Day 2
Boat ride to Hpa An – 10000k
tuktuk to town – 1000k
lunch – 2000k
bus back – 1000k
dinner – 3000k
hair cut – 2400k
room – 10 USD
Bus to Kyaiktiyo 6000k

total: 30USD

Day 3
taxi to bus station: 1000k/ 1USD

 TOTAL EXPENDITURE FOR MAWLAMYINE: ~50 USD (65sgd)


20140915_132934

so do you know what place that was?

answer reveal…

20140915_132940

know now?

yes it’s the Hpa An Post office!

Tee Hee,

T.

next post on: Kyaikityo

Kyaktiyo02

find out about The Golden Rock and 3 new Thai friends i made! and why i cried for the first time in this trip.

stay tuned!

En Route Myanmar Sept 2014: Mandalay

20140912_144202

Mandalay “is the second-largest city and the last royal capital of Burma. Located 716 km (445 mi) north of Yangon on the east bank of the Irrawaddy River, the city had a population of 1,225,553 (2014 census)”

Picture 2

A place i headed with the most expectations and plans.
which i checked off less than half, and yet
had the best experience, surprises, happiness and memories.


(probably why i took the the most effort in writing this post and checking the photos)

Arrived at the bus station reallyreally really early.. like what.. 4.20am?? then it started pouring so heavily and i was so hungry. thank goodness for the black gluttinous rice snack Nu Nu bought for me. but there was only one last piece left.  Stuck and hungry. i was unhappy with Mandalay’s welcoming gift. and i was so sleepy. and desperately need a shower.

20 odd mins later, the downpour finally pang chance (gave chance, take pity) so i hired the motorbike taxi and headed to my Guesthouse in the drizzle.

after a 20 minutes of going around in squares
Picture 1

the driver finally found my guesthouse. i was quite grouchy by then. hungry, tired, sweating, drenched, soaked, phone batt dying… i needed a bed, a shower, food and drinks….
to make things worse, i arrived way too early and the guest house wasnt opened..
most people would be really pissed off by now. but heng la, my number one rule when traveling has always been “Jai Yen Yen ใจเย็นเย็น” meaning “chill, calm down…”  everything happens for a reason..

so i looked around and WOOHOO  just right in front of my gh is a teahouse!20140912_070521

FOOD FOOD FOOD!!!!! so i took off my soaking wet shoes, changed into slippers, sat down at the tea house, ordered food and asked if i could charge my phone.

DSC_8441_1

this is some “thousand layer pancake” so i supposed its the Burmese version of mille feuille? 555
it’s quite yummy. and i had a la’pay’ee (myanmar milk tea) . that certainly helped a lot in calming me down.

an hour later, i saw the door of my gh open! settled some check in stuff, asked for map, requested to rent a motorbike later in the day and a chat with Angela (one of the gh owners)
sorry for not sharing too much details about this gh. i can tell you more in private of course!
while chatting with her, i saw some guests who came down for breakfast. there was a group of NGOs and i saw a Thai! WOOHOO HAPPY ONLY.

anyway, i took my long awaited shower and nap..

10USD per bed during low season. 8 bedder, clean, spacious, well equipped with bathroom at the back. lagi shiok

10USD per bed during low season. 8 bedder, clean, spacious, well equipped with bathroom at the back. lagi shiok

was in a daze when i woke up again, thinking it was lunch time, i headed out for “Lunch”
DSC_8450_1

Mohinga noodles. apparently a very popular burmese dish.
not my kind of food though.. after lunch, i checked the clock.
I WAS REALLY IN A DAZE. it was only 10.30am!!
but the sun so SO BRIGHT and it was so WARM i thought it was mid noon!

so i went back to bed…
but before i could hit the sack again, i was stopped by the NGOs who were having a break from their meeting. they were excited to see a Singaporean…

DSC_8456_1

so i became “Star of the GH” for that 2 minutes. and because i was carrying a prime lens, thus this was the best picture i got…
and they invited me to try this local snack
DSC_8454_1

so with that, i went back to bed. woke up again and believing it should be a late lunch, i headed for my LATE LUNCH.

and

Shan Noodles

Shan Noodles

and i wasnt too far form my guess. it was about 1pm. late lunch?

anyway i decided to walk to town. Angela gave me a “are you sure” look and i assured her that i can walk a lot.

Mandalay31

manually solving the flooding issue

the flood was pretty bad. it didnt come up to the knees but it was every where..

DSC_8463_1

mini cinema along one of the small streets

DSC_8465

saw this and decided to go search for it.

DSC_8475_1

Bhodigon Pagoda

the weather was SO SO SO BAD. true that i am a singaporean and i should be able to tahan (tolerate/withstand) but the sun was STRONG and very dry. the kind that can give people a very bad headache.
so i went to….
DSC_8482_1
EAT ICE CREAM 555

then decided to head back to the GH to get the motorbike instead.. hahah i gave up.
ended up chatting with the Big Dad of the GH. he is a very interesting man with very deep and non-conformist thinking.

I asked Angela for a favour to ride me around the area to let me familiarize myself with. (the road direction is opposite of Singapore). was only hoping for a 5-10 mins ride. but she rode and rode and rode and rode… and..
she took me to Mandalay Hill! just in time for the sunset!

20140911_173826

Angela! one of the 8 VERY NICE gh owners.

She not only rode us there. She went up to the top with me! a very tiring 30 mins climb.
told me a lot about their family, the country, the food… i basically had a personal guide!

DSC_8503_1

DSC_8498_1 20140911_174130

we went down the hill and i caught the really beautiful dusk.

20140911_182712 20140912_182007

after that, we headed back. i had my dinner and talked to them more before heading back to sleep. because i was gonna wake up at 3am to catch the Washing of Buddha’s Face and sunrise at Ubein!!

20140911_203801


ended up… i woke up at 7am!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  and angela was supposed to open the gate for me at 3.30am!! OH NO!!!!!!!
went down and she was laughing. together with the Big Dad. she wasnt at all angry. but just told me “it’s okie hahhahahaahah!!!” so i went for my breakfast and was feeling upset for not checking off my plans as intended. i had no other plans for the rest of the day until sunset… =[ maybe Mandalay just didnt welcome me afterall..

then the Thai guy i saw the day before came down. he was quite surprised i could speak thai. hee hee hee. and me being me…… i asked what his plans were for the day and if i could join him. 555
he said Yes! (YES to joining him not “yes i do” that yes)
so we met again an hour later.

his plan for the day was really really interesting. for some confidentiality issues, i will not mention too much. but because of him, i was able to visit a local’s house!

20140912_104539
here’s P’ Thee at work!

after he was done, we headed to the english school of his friends Adam and Emily. and they made us lunch!!!

Mine was Special Edition!

Mine was Special Edition!

20140912_131538

20140912_094702
so cute!

after we were done P’ Thee asked about my plan and said he could accompany me!
so.. to U Bein we went!! shiok again because he rode, i pillion. hee hee
Mandalay01

Mandalay02

Mandalay05

Mandalay03

Mandalay04

Mandalay06

Mandalay07

ubein  2

then we went to the Village at the other end of the bridge.. WOW! and we saw Nat Performances!
Mandalay10

Nats are the Medium who performs seance to contact spirits for the people. they are usually transvestites or gays.

Mandalay09
not missing any chance to capture anything interesting!

Mandalay08
these musicians are so spontaneous! ever ready in striking poses for me. haha

Mandalay13

people bring in offerings like money, fruits, other food products (except pork). which the nats will divide amongst themselves, the musicians, the temple and the people working there. then give the rest to the devotees. and we were so lucky. we each received a can of drink. and the nat pointed at me to receive another blessed item from her!

Mandalay14

a pear almost as big as my face!!! the locals were all so happy for me, saying “lucky lucky!!”

Mandalay does love me afterall. 555
with that, we headed back to the main town, where P Thee headed for his game of Chin Lone with the locals and i went back to SLEEP. 555 oh i actually had a private piano concert performed for me by Angie!!
i went back to the Royal Palace to catch some sunset. (and got lost on the way there and back… argh)
Mandalay16

P’ Thee and i met up again after his game. headed for dinner at the local night market.

20140912_193855 20140912_194905

rushed through dinner to go catch the Moustache Brothers

20140912_201419 Mandalay17

The Moustache Brothers are a comedic trio from Mandalay, Burma known for live performances that combine screwball comedy, classic Burmese dance, and sharply satirical criticism of the totalitarian Burmese military regime.

Mandalay18

Mandalay19

Mandalay20

i think the whole family was involved la. his wife, his sister in law, this one, that one..

Mandalay21

DSC_8744

mandalay moustache 1

DSC_8771_1

hmm… what we both felt was.. 10000k for this is way too expensive.. and we had a higher expectation…
but yeah, never come, never know.

after the show.. we were both FAMISHED. so wanted to get some food. but.. this wasnt Thailand. there seems to be no ‘life’ anywhere. it was only 9.30pm! (sg time 11pm, bkk time 10pm)
we rode around for 30 mins.. NOTHING. almost giving up when we finally spotted a beer garden of sort.
satisfied ourselves with some grills and then… headed back.

P’ Thee was really nice. he knew i had plan to go for the Washing of Buddha Face and sunrise at U Bein. and that i was going alone. so he ‘volunteered’ to accompany me. (it’s his second time in Mandalay)

so we headed back and had an early night. well, not very early.


this time round i didnt wake up late. hee hee
we headed to Maha Muni temple to watch the face washing. thank goodness for him. if not i would have gotten lost and could still be in Mandalay today. =S

DSC_8785_1

DSC_8806_1

DSC_8777_1

females were not allowed inside. so they had a few screens showing the action live.

DSC_8815_1

the devoted side of an otherwise ‘one of a kind’ P’ Thee.

DSC_8811_1

after the processions, the staffs took their magic staff (okie not funny i know) and started sweeping the whole temple.

DSC_8802_1

at least 50 of them scattered all over.  males with two brooms. wow.

then we headed to U Bein again. and this time round, he took me to a secret hideout 555.


20140913_055822

not too far from the touristy U Bein bridge, this place was so much quieter. the air was fresh. we almost didnt want to leave.
i closed my eyes and listened with my heart. there were chickens, pigs, dogs, birds… and an unknown emotion. it was that moment i realised, it was all in the plan.

had i made arrangement with the GH for my very early check in, i wouldnt have known who lives in the same gh. had i woke up on time for the sunrise the day before, i wouldnt have met someone who had an unusual plan. and  didnt even have to think about the wonderful company and all these secret hideouts (oh he brought me to another secret hideout later that day)
and i wouldnt have fostered a friendship with him. (he has indeed became a very cherished friend by now)

it wasnt in my plans at all.

we headed to the bridge.
Mandalay15

Mandalay24

20140913_063625

20140912_143707

20140912_142735

headed back for breakfast. hee hee hee  HUNGRY.

p thee 2

He was craving for this soooo much

i00055

fried dough fritters! (memory card corrupted thus…)

i00174

AWESOME!!!!!!!

พี่ธีร์หิวยัง 555

went back to nap and had a very short chat with other dorm mates. wow finally i had dorm mates. still in touch with one, Jackie, the girl from Shanghai.

napppppped till shiok. then went for lunch with P’ Thee again at Daung Lann Gyi

Mandalay23

Mandalay25

this is the local dish. it’s quite yummy. fried beans, nuts, preserved tea leaves…
lost some photos of the food. but it was really good. especially loved this potato and rice salad. ahhh HUNGRY.


Mandalay26

paiseh. blurred pic. prime lens again.

after lunch he took me to another hideout.

Mandalay29

Mandalay30

Mandalay28

not really a secret place but i wouldnt have known if he didnt take me there. hehe.
once again, i felt a stranger emotion. i didnt want to say good bye. (but i had to, 2 hours later).

i fell in love with Mandalay. i fell in love with my guesthouse owners. i fell in love with the Big Dad, Sophia and Angie. i fell in love with the surprises. I fell in love with my new friend’s company. I fell in love with the sunset. I fell in love with an unknown emotion. it was so hard to say goodbye to them..

but i had to. and i know i will be back (confirmed!) very soon.
so, seated on the motorbike taxi, i waved good bye to  P Thee and Sophia….. with Melancholy already filled up inside.

M for Myanmar, M for Mandalay, M for Memories…

thank you =]

20140919_082634

a week after i was back, P Thee and i were talking on Line. and we both admitted.. that we were still missing Mandalay a lot. (even up till two days ago we were still talking about Mandalay!!!!)
we cant put a finger to what was so special about Mandalay. but it definitely is our favourite place in Myanmar so far..

Take away from this Mandalay journey? A lot of things happen for a reason. we dont force things to happen. neither should we get upset when things didnt happen. quoting a tarot reader who did a reading for me before “What you can see you can change. What you cannot see, you have to go through“. =] Indeed.


Expenditure

Day 1
Motorbike taxi from bus station – 2000k
Super early breakfast at 5.30am – 900k
Brunch at 11am – 900k
Tanaka + snack – 800k
Ice Cream – 1100k
Lunch – 400k
Motorbike rental +petrol – 12000k
Camera “entrance fee” at Mandalay Hill – 1000k
Dinner – 1800k
Room – 10USD
Bus to Mawlamyine – 15000K
Total for Day 1 : 67 SGD

Day 2
Motorbike + petrol – 11000k
Dinner – 1700k
Moustache Brother – 10000k
Supper – 3300k
Room – 10 USD
Total for Day 2 – 35SGD

Day 3
Lunch – 2500k
Motorbike to bus station – 2000k
Dinner at pit stop – 2000k
Total for Day 3 – 9.50SGD

TOTAL EXPENDITURE FOR MANDALAY (3days 2nights): Approx 112 SGD (90USD)
friendship fostered? Priceless.


Mandalay27

See you soon,
T.

En Route Myanmar Sept 2014: Inle Lake

wpid-20140909_094323.jpg

the journey to Inle wasnt an easy one.
we alighted from the big bus at this small little town. and changed to a pick-up van 20140909_062639 20140909_065619

30mins on a bumpy ride and i arrived at another place which i later found out was Taungyi…. where i WAITED again for another pick up to take me to Inle.

..wpid-20140909_070530.jpg 20140909_072641


20140909_072411
  and it was here i met a kind provision shop boss who spoke pretty good english. (his wife is burmese chinese)

waited for almost an hour before the pick up truck departed… 45 mins later i arrived at yet another town.. it was too early in the morning i didnt even bother asking where i was. i was on the bus for 10 hours, then 30 mins in the van, then waited and then 45 mins on the truck. too hungry and tired!! but i later realised the other town was NyaungShwe. but i want to get to INLE LAKE!!!!!!!!!! then i was told to take a boat… AIYOH… in a span of 24 hours i was on a plane, car, tuktuk, bus, van, truck and now.. BOAT.

to enhance your enjoyment, listen to this song as you read. =D

DSC_7897

DSC_7903
.

.

.

.

 

DSC_7932

 

.
.

.

.

.

.

.20140909_094924

okie  a lot of people will choose to stay in Nyuangshwe. esp backpackers la. but i decided i want a more balanced trip. since i will only be there for a night i decided to splurge a little on the accomodation.

I WAS RIGHT. it costs about 55USD but it was WELL WORTH EVERY CENT.
the following photos were all taken using  my Samsung Galaxy S3 and iPhone4 camera phone.

20140909_113937

 

.

.

.

.

 

 

 

20140909_152000

 

 

.

.

.

.

.

wpid-20140909_101046.jpg

 

.

.

.

.

.

wpid-20140909_113821.jpg

 

.

.

.

.

.

wpid-20140910_060258.jpg

 

 

 PRETTY RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
the only drawback was that they didnt have free shuttle boat ferrying service. i had to hire their boat to get out and per trip to NyaungShwe is 12USD. (my ride in was only 4USD…)

but of course i was smart. i hired a boat at Nyaungshwe to pick me up for my next morning boat ride around the lake and to take me back to mainland in the noon next day la. that saved me a lot really.

DSC_8004
DSC_8002
with the help of Walter, the 2nd kind soul, who overheard my conversation with some boatmen trying to fix the price. he took me to this petite lady. i think he wants to help her also la. but her price was very reasonable so i hired her boat.

i spent most of my time there resting, sleeping, taking photos and simply taking in the scene and breathing……. it rained in the noon. much appreciated rain since it was getting really really warm…
20140909_104943
  hahah yes. it was mid autumn. so i brought this all the way from sunny red dot.

went to this nice cafe in NyangShwe.
DSC_7991DSC_8000 DSC_7996

really nice decor and I LOVE THIS caramelised tofu. it’s sweet. then it’s salty, then its spicy and tangy. wow. all in one! A MUST EAT. i am salivating again.

went for a sunset ride.
wpid-20140909_180842.jpg

 

.

.

.


DSC_8033

if you followed me on instagram you would have seen the rainbow that came after the rain.. 🙂

had a very early night after my private mid autumn session
DSC_8068

and went out early in the wee hours to catch sunrise..
unfortunately it was too cloudy.
DSC_8142

 

.

.

.

DSC_8198

 

.

.

.

DSC_8227.

 

.

.

.

DSC_8233

so the best pic i had on my nikon is…….

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.
THIS!
DSC_8262
can you see how shiok i was? 555++++

it was really cool. to lie down on the boat, watch the sky slowly brighten up, listening to the calm water.. breathing in AIR and do nothing…

 

 

DSC_8256

 

 

 

went back for breakfast..  haha typical singaporean.

wpid-20140910_075343.jpg
see egg and toast… first thing is… ask for pepper and.. soya sauce..
wpid-20140910_075702.jpg
 oppa yakun style. hehe

 

said bye bye to the beautiful but touristy lake.. (i didnt see much tourists but the things you see and do there is all touristy..)

headed to Nyaung Shwe still had some time before the truck leaves for Taungyi so i visited… the school..
DSC_8356

 

 

DSC_8334

 

 

DSC_8353

such a lovely girl!

 

DSC_8341

the one in front is the older brother, 10 years old and behind him is his younger bro, 8.

 

DSC_8346

 

 

DSC_8329

this boy is SO adorable! he posed for a lot of photos for me!

according to the principal, there’s only 60 students..

headed back to Taungyi… the VERY NICE provision shop boss’s wife was in da house. she was the 3rd kind person i met. (her husband is nice also la)
told her my plans for the day. >> buy bus ticket to Mandalay  >> visit the vineyard >>take bus to mandalay

so she arranged a motorbike taxi for me for 7USD (its all 10USD off the street)
sidetrack: gosh as i was typing this i suddenly smell that betel nut thing.. /faint /apply tiger balm

anyway ya while she was arranging with the driver, the driver was like pointing to me, then pointed far far, then make a disagreeing expression.

the skeptical singaporean in me was thinking “wah lau.. confirm want more money lor..”
i ought to me slapped for that thought.
because what he actually said was along the line of “but she must hide her camera inside her bag. the police will see she is not local. (only locals were allowed on motorbike there. even as a pillion)”
i should be so ashamed for being skeptical..

anyway, yes he took me to buy my ticket to mandalay, showed me the way to this food stall that sells this local dish i was raving about two months back on facebook.


20140910_113405

toufu nway (i think). its SO YUMMY!!!!!!

20140910_114613
oh. one thing to mention, please pardon the shaky and blurry photos. a lot of locals there arent very familiar with touchscreen functions. i appreciate their help to take photos and really wouldnt want to give them any more trouble.

after the satisfying pre-lunch, i headed to the Vineyard.

 

 20140910_123433

 

20140910_123600

 

 

20140910_123617
met this malaysian lady who was there with her friend who owns a business in Yangon. they are the 4th and 5th kind souls i met this trip. and its only day 3…

so what happened? they invited me to join them for lunch.. and the Business man/ Andy insisted on paying for me and gave me his contact so i could call him when i arrive Yangon.
20140910_131423DSC_8401

 

 

 

DSC_8376

 

 

 

DSC_8403

 

 

DSC_8399

 

DSC_8397

 

 

DSC_8390

 

 

 

very beautiful view from up there!

DSC_8406

after the generous treat, we headed different directions. i went back to Taungyi and walked a little around the town.

 

20140910_161646

went to a tea house to read about my next destination MANDALAY
20140910_163149
20140910_174613
 watched the locals played this sepak takraw game (which i found out two days later that is a different sports, called CHIN LONE.

and i was wondering why the road was always dotted with red stains … and i found out on the motorbike taxi…

 

20140910_174657
actually looking at this makes me lose my appetite..
it’s the K’ung Yaa thing the locals chew. the betel nut thing with tobacco then they spit it out after that.. *argh i am smelling it again*

if there’s anything i dislike about Myanmar.. it would definitely be this..

okies.
so i went back to the provision shop (where i left my bags because she said it’s heavy to bring around and assured me it would be safe. honestly i wasnt doubtful at all)

she invited me to rest inside her house (just next to the shop). and her husband came out with.. HOME PLANTED BANANA!!!!!

20140910_182053


here i was, taking a banana selfie while trying to answer her question “you want some rice? later i will take you to the bus station.”

(the motorbike i hired was for the whole day so by right he was gonna ride me to the bus station. but because the kind lady Nu Nu had time, she decided to take me there)

i didnt know how to thank her. so i decided to return the kindness buy buying some packs of biscuits and asked a favour from the truck drivers to help me deliver to the school in Nyaung Shwe for that 60 students… =]
and then… at their house, i saw another beautiful sky

20140910_181653

she didnt take me to the bus station right away.. instead, she took me to a temple

 

DSC_8428

 

DSC_8410

we went in, prayed and before we left, she insisted on buying this black gluttinous rice snack for me to eat on the bus!!! SHE IS SUCH A SWEET LADY MY GOSH!!!!!!!!

 

DSC_8433
actually we went back to her shop after that, where the boss told her to quickly pack up so the WHOLE FAMILY CAN SEND ME OFF TOGETHER. wahhhhhhhhhhh

she took some snacks, tissue and a bottled drink for me “in case you are hungry in the bus”.

i was really touched to tears. and kept thanking her. the only thing she said to me was “dont take it to heart please. the next time you come, you can stay with me. dont have to pay.”

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH BURMESE!!! WHY ARE YOU SO NICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

and that was how my trip to NyaungShwe, Inle and Taungyi ended: in appreciation, gratefulness and a lot a lot of happiness and love…

really really really nice people..

EXPENDITURE:
Snacks – 500k
lantern – 800k
candle and lighter – 400k
truck to nyaungshwe – 1000k
boat ride to accomodation – 4000k
lunch – 3USD
boat ride out – 12-13 USD
tea at french shop + 2 postcards – 8000k
boat ride back- 8000k
dinner – 3USD
accomodation – 55 USD

boat ride for sunset and back to nyaungshwe – 12000k
bus to taungyi – 1000k
bus ticket to Mandalay – 13500k
motorbike taxi – 7000k
internet – 500k
tea at teahouse – 550k
treats for nyaungshwe school -6600k

total expenditure for 2 days: 190 SGD

NEXT:::
my  journey in Mandalay was… just…. sweet and random!. =]
here’s a little preview
20140912_144202

 

 

20140912_151201
gotta take a while to blog about Mandalay because.. it means a lot to me.. it’s very special to me.. =]

till then!
T

En Route Myanmar Sept 2014: Arrived Yangon

previous post content got deleted accidentally. oh well. too lazy to edit photos. so whatever you see here are all.. as real as it gets.
anyway, i flew with Jetstar this time.
WAH SHIOK ONLY. i was very lucky they gave me the front row with SHIOK legspace. wpid-20140908_111111.jpg

wah i happy la. want to go toilet, seat B and C no need stand up. i just squeeze squeeze a bit can go out. Thank you Jetstar!!!

aliphoon also very excited.

wpid-20140908_114304.jpg wpid-20140908_092430.jpg

the landscape was really really breathtaking but couldnt take because.. must switch of gadgets ma.
arrived Yangon..wpid-20140908_114009.jpg

wpid-20140908_115443.jpg wpid-20140908_115432.jpg

there was so much touting! but rest assure, they really arent out to scam. everyone charges about the same price.

“hello i taxi driver” “hello i drive taxi” “hello i real taxi driver”…
so i took a taxi to the Aung San stadium to get my night bus ticket.
wpid-20140908_123320.jpgday 1 aungsan stadium

had a pretty good lunch. except it was really oily..1st cafe yangon

day 1 fried rice

not a fan of sodas but the weather so soooooooo warm! and honestly i really think this fried rice is AWESOME despite the overload of oil. learnt my first Burmese word from the owner. “Gao deh” which means.. Good!

day 1 yangon book street
walking down the street, i did have an impression i was in Hanoi..
day 1 yangon street

walked past a cinema and decided that since there’s aircon.. and i was a film student.. it made sense to watch a local film.
but the tickets were all sold out.. so i had to buy from the black market. wahhhh i feel so honoured to actually get the chance to pay for a black market ticket!! anyway i blogged about the film before. check it out here.

day 1 cinema
day 1 inside cinema
they also need to mari kita before the show one.

i noticed something puzzling. the movie was scheduled to screen at 1pm. but only starts at 1.30pm and people were still coming in at 2pm…

day 1 outside cinemashow ended around 5 and then i walked back to the ticketing booth which is just opposite the railway station.
day 1 train track day 1 train stationday 1 train station front

day 1 shwe mingalar
Shwe Mingalar bus company.

the pick up tuktuk came and ferried me and some other people to the bus station.day 1 people on truckday 1 men on truck
people squeeze until like sotong, we sit until so shiok. whoops..

so, on my tuktuk there was a young local (probably early 20s) who saw that i was alone. he could speak very good english. i later found out that he was a sailor when he served the military. he was with his aunt but alighted with me (about 10mins walk away from his initial stop), walked me to my bus, we were too early, so he took me to a nearby teashop and said “let’s have a tea, but I PAY okie.” there, he wrote down notes for me, in Burmese, so i could show the local where i was heading. wrote down his phone number, his aunt’s number, gave me a roll of toilet paper because “you will need it”.
then he sent me up the bus, told the people sitting around me to take care of me, told them where i was heading so they could alert me when i arrive, before wishing me good luck and take care…

day 1 guiren
thank you Wai. your kindness, generosity and hospitality gave me a lot of assurance and warmth. =]

day 1 moon
and because it was.. 15th of the 8th lunar month.. Mid Autumn festival…

oh oh oh!!! and this bus is damn cool because…
wpid-20140909_060642.jpg
GOT POWER PLUG!!!!!!!!!!!!! wahahahhahaahahaha

EXPENDITURE for day 1:

1. taxi from airport to stadium : 7000kyat (10sgd/7usd)
2. bus ticket to taungyi: 15500k
3. lunch: fried rice + pepsi: 1800K
4. black market ticket for movie: 1000k
5. grocery at Ruby Mart: 3500k

total: 28900kyat: 29USD/40sgd

so this marks the end of day 1. more to come in next posts!!
Inle lake.. if you saw my photo on instagram/fb you should know what’s up

teehee!! T.

Mawlamyine

Arrived from Mandalay after a bumpy 14 hours bus ride. Gosh. And the bus wasnt as comfy as  the previous ones.

Lady beside me was probably carsick. *spare you the details*

I was thinking so much about the new friends i made in Mandalay. The lovely sunsets, the motorbike rides… the food… the chance to speak Thai(yay!)

And i noticed the kids hawking on streets are so different from the ones in cambodia.

In cambodia they go “konnichiwa, annyeong haseyo, ni hao, sawadee ka, hello, lei hoi… want to buy drink from me? You my friend come. Buy drink from me. 1 dollar, come.. 1 dollar….”

In Myanmar its so different.
“Hello. 300kyat? 200 kyat? No understand? Haha mingalabar, jayzudingbade, byebye!”

Okie. Theres a group of angmoh sitting here with me. They only talk among themselves.
I suddenly miss my dorm mates in mandalay. From shanghai, zhejiang, korea and germany.. but we didnt leave anyone out.  I guess asians generally make friends more “openly”.

mingalabar !

it’s really the M trip.
M for Myanmar, mandalay, mawlamyine, mosquitoes, Man Man Lai.. the internet is really man man lai. and sometimes just doesnt Move it move it… (so i doubt there will be much photos to show today)

day one was goed. watched a myanmar movie by coincidence. and coincidentally, the movie’s name was By Coincidence. so coincidental!

the usher was cool he helped me get a cheaper black market ticket and led me to the ENTRANCE only to exit at the end.
and right outside, people were giving free Milk. wah lucky leh.

anyway while on my way to the Aung Mingalar bus station to take night bus to Taungyi, i met a burmese who could speak very good enligsh. he accompanied me all the way to my bus terminal, wrote down directions and some words in Burmese for me, waited for me to board my bus, informed the people sitting nearby where i am heading and asked for their help to take care of me. WOW!!!!

so the two ladies paid attention to me along the way and helped me find my way to township so i could change a bus to nyaung shwe, where i transfered to Inle Lake.

very Mafan hor? so much Moving. okie i tried adding ONE photo. but it is taking too damn long to load.

 

so thats all for now!

the tantalizing food trip Hong Kong Macau 2014

headed to Hong Kong and Macao earlier this year.
happiness was I GOT TO STAY IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD!!!

thank you Mr Bird for offering us a space!

20140312_082249

 

okie since it’s a food trip. there shall only be food.

MIDO cafe. famous for TVB series.

hong kong style milk tea! gao gao super shiok

hong kong style milk tea! gao gao super shiok

when in hongkong, two is never too much.

when in hongkong, two is never too much.

and MY FAVOURITE!!!!!!!!!!!
macoroni in tomato soup!

i am really salivating as i type...

i am really salivating as i type…

oh there was also this Cookie shop

didnt get a chance to buy this because the queue so freaking long...

didnt queue for this because the waiting time in the queue was TOOOO LONG. 2-3 hours wait!!
this one is at tsim sha tsui area, beside holiday inn. follow the queue…

 

okie. actually we spent a lot more time in macao. because i insisted.
i prefer macao way more than the busy hong kong. it’s just like another singapore.
with bigger land and nights that are forever young…

so here goes.. MACAO!

always ready for photos. heehee

always ready for photos. heehee

Cotai express rocks. the vip seats is SHIOK one.

Cotai express rocks. the vip seats is SHIOK one.

was very lucky. a friend had 50mop discount voucher. so we decided to take the VIP seats.
wah is shiok one lor. dont tell you how shiok la. but it’s worth the money. just go for it.
less people, quieter and much more peaceful

*the standard seats are filled with people heading there to gamble… and are usually very loud people… ahem*

 

arrived and hungry. my reliable source + personal guide told me there’s a shiok sandwich and toast shop just 10 minutes away from where i stayed. wah famished!!!

 

how can anyone resist these staple food

how can anyone resist these staple food

YES JU PA BAO!!!!!!!!!!! pork chop bun!!! juicy savoury tender.. ahhhh shiok ttm

and reliable source plus personal guide told me there’s a REALLY GOOD coconut ice cream stall just 5 mins away

really shiok coconut ice cream!!

really shiok coconut ice cream!!

reliable source plus personal guide also said.. theres incredible soya beancurd just 30 seconds away….

the BEST BEANCURD

the BEST BEANCURD

THIS IS REALLY AWESOME.

softttttt and lightttt and melts in your mouth. i can still remember how it tastes…regretting blogging at this hour..

wah really really craving for this now man.

good luck in finding this shop!

PS i dont like sharing address of all the good finds. but you can send me a private message and i will consider sharing my secret finds.

after all the walking in the drizzle for shiok food, i had more energy to find the next place for dinner…

visited this place during a performance trip in 2012. and couldnt stop thinking about it.
chilled pork knuckles with wasabi dip.

20140312_193316

WAHHHHHHHHHHH
T is not a meat person. and seldom take pork. but this one… cannot resist!!

 

had this Portuguese baked rice..

20140312_193844

Portuguese curry with rice…

20140312_193836

AND THEN… THE HIGH LIGHT OF THE MEAL.

*DRUM ROLLSSSSS*

DURIAN CREAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

20140312_200830

Dont’ be fooled by this harmless looking thing.  it is all a facade.

 

WAH THIS IS SOOOOOOOOOOO GOOD. durian puree with durian cream. a bit pricey but worth every cent.
the previous time i was there, we had this EVERY NIGHT. it didnt help that we were staying just above this shop. and it opens till 2am! at first it was the singaporean style “order one we share la. try try”. until 5 people ordering 6…
THIS IS A MUST EAT FOR ALL DURIAN LOVERS.

 

next day.. breakfast was..  DIMSUM!!

dim sum for two. over ordered...

dim sum for two. over ordered…

the best part of dimsum for hipster singaporeans would be the LSB!!!!!!!!
not lup sup bar please.
(if you dont know what LSB stands for, then you are not hipster enough… )
for the benefit of non singaporean, it’s the egg yolk custard bun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LSB!!!!!!!!!

LSB!!!!!!!!!

purposely put big big photo
the bun dough is oatmeal mixture. shiok for me only.

the other best thing about this restaurant.. they offer cheap Charsiew rice bento at level one.

 

IMG_2825

they get a big crowd by 11am,

 

IMG_2827

besides being really friendly and patient, they also take great pride in their food.

it costs about 2 Sgd.
you might think it’s what we would normally get in SG. few pieces of charsiew, two slices of cucumber.. thats it..
HA HA DONT BE SURPRISED!!!

 

IMG_2828

 

ya few pieces of charsiew. but VERY BIG pieces. and even half an egg!!! less than 2sgd okie!!

the chef was very kind. when they finished they sales for the day, he offered me some loose slices to try.

WOW ITS SO DELICIOUS. i would pay 5 SGD (in macao)for this. but even for 5 SGD we seldom can get food this good back in sg…

 

satisfied.
so it’s time for DESSERT!!!!!!!!!!

Mok Yee Kei

Mok Yee Kei

reliable source plus personal guide said this is a must eat.

20140313_131827

its this pudding thing topped with biscuit crumbs.

another brand that’s worth trying also is Serrdura. (has a lot more flavours)

 

20140314_131032

 

settled. done.
walked around… visited places..

IMG_2835 IMG_2836 IMG_2838 IMG_2841

 

who knows how many Koi Kei bakeries are there in the entire macao.. it’s EVERYWHERE. even more common than 7-11!

20140314_163428

after all the walking.. got tired.. so went to…..

 

no prize for guessing what's this..

no prize for guessing what’s this..

always look at the bigggggger picture...

always look at the bigggggger picture…

THIS IS THE WORLD’S BEST PORTUGUESE EGG TART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
time STOPS and the World SPINS when you put this gem in your mouth.
the crust is crisp to perfection, egg custard soft, creamy and LIGHT.
how is that ever possible!!  reallly regretting blogging at this hour..

satisfied!

chilled out by the beach..
heh not many people know this beautiful place.. yes macao has more than just casinoes..

IMG_2874

 

then my reliable source plus personal guide picked us up for.. DINNER!!!!!!!!!!!!

20140313_200753

tomato egg soup. AHHHHH

tomato egg soup. AHHHHH

 

THE ULTIMATE:

20140313_201633

CRAB PORRIDGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

20140313_201747

i really wonder how my reliable source plus personal guide managed to stay slim in a place thats full of temptations!!

after dinner…. was…. MORE FOOD!

IMG_2885

dessert stall 2 minutes away from my apartment. WOO HOO

so that’s how the night ended: happy satisfied and well fed.

Day 3 in macao started AWESOME
because breakfast WAS REALLY GOOOOOOOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

IMG_2903 IMG_2906 IMG_290420140314_11030820140314_110341

 

 

and…  if you didnt know..

there is a cable car ride in macao! probably the shortest distance cable car ride.

20140314_134855 20140314_134959 20140314_144239

the view from the hill.. is breath taking.. though a little overcast…

IMG_2912

 

then.. it was time to say goodbye to Macao… (and hongkong. but it really pales in comparison for me)

I LOVE MACAO!!!!!!!!!!!

I LOVE MACAO!!!!!!!!!!!

stop staring at the tummy! it’s very well maintained considering alllll the food i have eaten in 5 days.

sorry if this made you hungry..
Tee hee, T.