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#3157 5 Festivals not to be missed in Myanmar

Posted by JaxGary on 02 August 2013 - 04:46 AM

Burmese new year, also called Thingyan (from the 13th to the 17th of April):

 

I had the great opportunity to attend this event in Yangon during one of my first stays there, and the less we can say about it, is that it is really impressive.

Seeing all the Burmese people participating to a gigantic water battle is not something everyone has the chance to do.

 

And here, there is no pity, whether you are dressed casually or in a suit, everybody pays the same price, which is watering, watering, watering until you are fully wet.

So you’d better leave all your electronic equipment at home (laptop, cell phone…) and if you need to carry your wallet around, be sure to wrap it up safely in a water tight bag cause that would be the last straw if your cash would be useless, especially in Myanmar.

 

So I go out of my hotel wearing a pair of jeans and a fashionable T-shirt, and I pray to be spared. I look over my left shoulder and I see a group of people throwing water at each other, on the right side then, I just see a kid with a bucket full of water.

I decide to wait wisely for a group to pass and as one would expect they are watered, as the youngster is filling his pail again, I have enough time to run through.

 

I walk for the few meters to the supermarket proud to be still dry (my intention was to buy some food) and suddenly I feel an awkward sensation of cold running through my body, I just got thrown a bucket full of iced water from the passenger of a car that was passing.

 

I understood that I had no choice but to be part of it, so I enter the shop to get myself a bucket as well and I leave the food for later.

In the end I spent the afternoon spraying people and having a lot of fun, until exhaustion.

 

I highly recommend you to attend at least once in your life to this awesome festival, which marks the beginning of the Buddist year, according to the lunar calendar. The ambience is just astonishing and everybody seems to be very happy.

 

In most countries, getting watered and watering everybody without differentiation, would most likely lead to conflicts and quarrels, but Thingyan is so anchored in Myanmar traditions and the people are so nice that it is always done with good humor.

The water is supposed to clean you from all the sins you’ve done in the past year, so that you can start the new year as pure as the snow.

 

The Tabaung full moon, festival happening in Mars from the new moon to the full moon :

 

I am lucky enough to be in Yangon when the celebrations of the Shwedagon pagoda occurred on the 26th of March 2013.

Arriving at the paya, it takes me at least five minutes to reach the top and the magnificent golden stupa. Once there, I’m already all sweaty and I pay five US dollars for the entrance fee (preferential treatment only awarded to foreigners).

 

I learn from a local touristic guide that it is one of the most sacred festivals in Burma.

During the month of March, most of the Myanmar temples have their own celebration for this religious revival, considered to be the most beautiful of the country.

I am also taught that this festival used to have a festive atmosphere with vendors and events all around the pagodas.

But what I notice has nothing to do with that. I can see thousands of indigenous praying, some of them even pouring some water on the hundreds of Buddha images circling the monumental Shwedagon stupa. Monks are singing and praying.

 

Astrologists are here too, and people are queuing up to listen to their good fortune. I am observing these age-old rituals and I feel at peace.

 

Ananda pagoda festival in Bagan, which generally occurs in January :

 

If you are in Bagan during the month of January, you shall not miss these ceremonials. It celebrates the famous Ananda pagoda, which is one of the most important in Bagan. If you want to know more about it, I recommend you to check this link http://mingalapar.com/bagan/ .

 

Since I am in Bagan with my old friend Florent, who dreamt of visiting Myanmar for years, we decide to take part of the festivities for the full moon.

While leaving Amazing Bagan, our hotel, we grab bikes, made available by the hotel for free and we start pedaling by night to cover the ten kilometers to Ananda.

 

But nothing less easy, our bicycles don’t have lights, so we ride with a flashlight in the hand in order to see in front of us, the road not being lighted at all, and to signal to the motorized vehicles on the way that we would like to stay alive.

After twenty-five minutes of an intense effort we finally reach our destination and it is simply breath taking.

In the middle of the ink black night, the pagoda appears as an oasis of light.

 

We leave our mount on the side of the road and start checking the dozens of stalls offering at us. We found food, beverages, handicrafts, souvenirs and everything that one would be looking for, all of that in a festive atmosphere, even if it is a bit messy.

We enter the temple and we see hundreds of people praying, there are go-ing and fro-ing everywhere.

While I enjoy a Burmese cake, Florent is bombarding the place with pictures; he will later confess that he had spent one of the most beautiful evenings of his entire life.

 

The lights festival, also called Tazaungdaing, in November :

 

I have to confess that it is one of my favorites.

It occurs during the month of November, the day of the full moon during Tazaugmone month, the 8th month in Myanmar calendar and it marks the end of the rainy season.

On this occasion, I found out that Yangon really put on its most remarkable feast fineries, and like for any other celebrations, where else to go but the Shwedagon.

 

On the forecourt of the temple I am witness of an unexpected robe weaving contest, one of the guides present there tells me that it started yesterday already and will continue during the night as well.

I’m not patient enough to see who will be the winner, so I wander around the stupa and I see hundreds of people presenting offerings to the monks. It looks like Christmas for them; indeed, the believers are bringing all sorts of gifts, news robes, food, toothbrushes and many more…

 

Then I decide to go back to the city and I am in awe when I realize that all Yangon is illuminated, numerous inhabitants are slowly walking in the streets with paper lanterns in hand, an otherworldly atmosphere reigns…

 

I have heard later that maybe the best place in Myanmar to attend this festival is Taunggyi where they hold a probably much more interesting hot-air-balloon contest, I may go there next year.

 

A Burmese wedding:

 

It’s not really a festival but I wanted to talk to you about it as it an essential part of the culture and it touched me.

My friend John, who leaves in Yangon for about 2 years already, invited me to his wedding with Burmese woman he met at work.

Before this day, I didn’t have the chance to met his future spouse, but I know he had the greatest difficulties to be accepted by the bride’s family.

So, I go to the celebrations that begin in the morning and in a room rented for the occasion I see my friend and his future wife magnificently dressed in a traditional Burmese outfit, offering gifts to a group of monks.

John explained me later that the intent of this tradition was to elevate their Karma but also to ask the monks for their blessing.

The date of the wedding was preliminary chosen by astrologists.

 

Subsequently, John took place on a cushion right next to his fiancée, a Brahman coming forward on the stage and starting to recite sentences beyond understanding for my more than limited Burmese.

 

The bride’s parents climb up on stage then and shake John’s hand as well as their daughter’s. Then come my friend’s parents, Elizabeth and Mike, I know them since my childhood, but they seem to be lost, the scene is quite surrealistic. Mike, moved to tears gives his son the alliance and Elizabeth gives her alliance to the bride, who bows low to show her respect.

 

Once the ceremonials are over, it’s time for the meal where countless dishes are served. I enjoy the food very much and I realize how lucky I am to be here, for this unique day in the life of one of my friends.

 

For those who would like to attend to a wedding in Myanmar, it may be possible to do so for a price, perhaps one of our dear readers would know more about it.

I remember that I was granted access to a Greek wedding in exchange of a small fee.


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#3925 Picture of our pets

Posted by giggs on 14 August 2013 - 10:53 AM

Hi guys,

 

I love pets, now I have a cat, but I used to have small marsupials sugar gliders when I lived in Bangkok. Unfortunately Couldn't bring them with me in China.  They have pouch like kangaroo and they can bark like small chihuahua. And of course they can glide. They love to eat chicken and worms; and at night they don't let you sleep as they are nocturnal. Anyway they are so lovely and cute.

 

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#5637 Looking for Old Friends

Posted by TruthTraveller on 04 October 2013 - 07:02 PM

Thank you for your offer to help me find my old friends.Their names are Taw Taw, Tin Hla, Tin Maung , Maung Aye and Maung MaungThey went to England as members of the Burmese Air Force in 1952. They spent one year in England learning English before travelling to RAF Locking in Somerset England to join the 75th Entry of Royal Air Force Apprentices, in September 1953, for three years training as radio technicians. They trained in Air Wireless and Air Radar for three years. Then I believe they travelled back to Burma. I have some photographs of them which I will post shortly. I also remember that when they had leave from their studies they often went to London as guests of the Burmese Embassy in London. Unfortunately I do not have any records of their service numbers.

Hi Mr. Terry, Good news! As you don't have any record of their service number, it is not easy to find them from the Quartermater General's office. But fortunately, I was happen to talk about yours with my friends today. One of my friends( she's 17 years older than me) father in law is a former Colonel and he have been to England in 1952/53. His name is ( U)Soe Min and there are two other that they went together to England. They are (U) Min Oo and (U)Maung Maung Aye. These three were from Army, Air-Force and Navy. Soe Min now live in Yangon, Min Oo is now in Australia and Maung Maung Aye is live in Pyin Oo Liwn ( May Myo). We assumed that Maung Maung Aye might be your friend. So I will let you know after I contact to him. And I will give Min Oo Facebook account soon. Hope you happy to read this news. :D
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#3370 Vehicle rental services in Myanmar

Posted by TruthTraveller on 05 August 2013 - 04:17 PM

Since the economy of Myanmar is fast growing, the sector of travel and tour is starting to get more demand and people need to go around the country for business or some people are also willing to plan their own trip using a private vehicle. So here are some information about renting vehicles in Myanmar.[/size]
 
There are many car rental services companies in Myanmar, but most of the visitors from abroad are used to rent vehicles from Yangon city mainly. And since the rental service companies of Yangon are more in touch with expatriates and local customers than in any other cities, they are more professional and usually provide better services.
 
The services most of the rental services companies provide are
1. Daily rental service
2. Monthly rental service
3. Round trip rental service
 
Daily Rental Service 
 
Prices for daily rent with a driver depend on the type of vehicle, model (year made) and condition. You will find a list of the different cars available and their prices below:
 
-   Sedan 4 seats, year made 2000 and above in good condition: 60,000 kyats a day
-   7 seats van like Toyota Hiace (Super Custom), year made 1996-2000 in good condition: 65,000 kyats per day
-   7 seats van, higher model, like Toyota Alphard, year made 2002 and above: 85,000 kyats a day
-   9 seats vans like Toyota Hiace (Grance Cabin G), year made 1999-2000: 70,000 kyats per day
-   Vans with 14 seats (Toyota Hiace Commuter, for example): around 90,000 kyats per days
 
The above-mentioned prices are only for the use of the car within Yangon area, and it is not possible to rent the vehicle for daily rental without driver. Most of the rental services companies do not provide this kind of services. Only some companies have daily rental service without driver for people who are very familiar with them or if the person has long-term relationship with the car renter as a customer.
 
The service hours in these daily contracts are mostly limited to 10 hours a day, beyond this service hour, 10% of daily rent will be charged per hour. Fuel, driver charge and driver’s expenses are included in the price of this rent already. But if you go to the industrial zone and for air-port transfer, you will be charged an additional 10% of daily rates. However, some rental services companies do not charge for that. So it is necessary to confirm whether they charge it or not before you settle the rent.
 
The daily rental prices in Mandalay would be around 70,000 kyats per day. The differences between Yangon rental services system and Mandalay is, fuel charge is not included in above-mentioned price of 70,000 kyats. You need to fill the fuel by yourself depending on the usage. Normally, 1 gallon of diesel fuel (4 liters) for 25 Kilometers is necessary.
 
Mandalay rental services companies mostly provide Toyota Hiace super custom and Sedan for daily rentals. 
 
For Nay Pyi Taw daily rental, they usually charge 15,000Ks to 20,000Ks more than Yangon daily rental prices. The reason why they charge more is that the distance between one place and another can be much longer in Nay Pyi Taw, so the fuel charge is indubitably higher than in Yangon.

Monthly Rental Service
 
There are two kinds of monthly rent basically. They are 
1. With driver service and
2. Without driver service

 
With Driver Service
 
Mostly all maintenance, accident and accidental damage are the responsibility of the rental services company. Only Fuel is on the hirer. Some rental services company allowed keeping the vehicle at hirer premises and some just take back the vehicle after working hours. The working hours are also 10 hours a day, 5 or 6 days a week. You will have to pay 1000 Ks per hour to driver as overtime charge for using the vehicle beyond working hours. 
 
Most of the available vehicles in car rental services companies are sedan type with 4 seats, low engine power 1300/1500 CC, Toyota Belta, Toyota Asista and Nissan Tiida Latio, year made 2007-2009. The price would be about 650,000 kyats to 700,000 kyats per month, included driver’s salary.
But there are also other types available, here is a non-exhaustive list with their prices, also included driver’s salary:
 
-   Mini-saloon vehicles, engine power 1000/1300/1500 cc, like Toyota Vitz, Toyota Passo, Suzuki Swift and Mazada Demio: 550,000 to 600,000 kyats per month.
 
-   High engine power vehicles (2000/2500/3000 cc), Toyota Mark II, Toyota Crown, Toyota Brevis, Toyota Verosa, Toyota Premio, Nissan Cedric or Honda Accord, year made 2000-2004: 800,000 to 850,000 per month
 
-   7, 9 or 14 seats vans are hardly available for monthly rental in most companies. Only Toyota Alphard 7 seats, year made 2001-2006 is available for monthly rental sometimes: price will be 1,200,000 kyats to 1,400,000 kyats per month with driver.
 
If you intend to use the vehicle to go outside of Yangon area, you have to negotiate with the rental company before you sign the contract because some rental companies charge for trips.
 
Without Driver Service
 
The rental services will require a deposit for car rentals without driver, but of course it is refundable at the end of contract, if there are no accident and accidental damages. Mostly, maintenance is in the responsibility of the hirer, but you can negotiate about it with Rental Company. Accidents, taxes and fines for disobedience to motor vehicles law are without surprise the responsibility of the hirer. The hirer can keep the vehicle at his/ her premises.
The prices and categories of vehicles are the same as I have mentioned above in the monthly rental with driver, you just need to reduce the price by 150,000 kyats for the driver’s salary from these prices.
 
There are not many differences between Yangon Rental services companies’ system and other cities like Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw rental services companies systems. The prices and provided vehicles are more or less the same. 

For foreigner, they will ask you the copy of your passport and visa for individual renting, and for companies or business renting, the certificate of business is needed. 
For local, the copy of N.R.C card, household registration, the certificate of property (i.e. - house, land) for individual renting, and the certificate of business for companies.


Round trip Rental Services

 
You can also rent cars with driver if you want to plan a specific round trip from a city to another, you’ll find a list of the usual journeys available below:
 
For Yangon - Golden Rock (Kyiek Htee Yoe), Yangon - Ngwe Saung, Yagon - Chaung Tha or Yangon - Nay Pyi Taw (round trip), the fares you can expect are as follows:
 
-   Sedan 4 seats: about 250,000 kyats.
-   Van 7 seats (Hiace): about 300,000 kyats.
-   Van 7 Seats (Alphard): about 400,000 kyats.
-   Van 9 Seats (Grand Cabin G): about 350,000 kyats.
-   Van 14 Seats (Commuter): about 500,000 kyats.
 
For Yagon - Bagan, Yangon - Taung Gyi (Inle Lake) or Yangon - Mandalay (round trip), prices would generally be 100,000 kyats higher, as listed below:
 
-   Sedan 4 seats: about 350,000Ks 
-   Van 7 seats (Hiace): about 400,000 Ks
-   Van 7 Seats (Alphard): about 500,000 Ks
-   Van 9 Seats (Grand Cabin G): about 450,000 Ks
-   Van14 Seats (Commuter): about 600,000 Ks
 
The rent includes fuel charge, driver charge, food and accommodation for driver and toll pass charge. The rental company will charge between 50,000 Ks to 100,000 Ks per day for extra days.


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#2390 Shin Mway Loon And Min Nandar(Burmese Romeo and Juliet)

Posted by Thet on 19 July 2013 - 01:43 PM

                                      THE STORY OF SHIN MWAY LOON AND MIN NANDAR

Long time ago,in the Kingdom of Okkalapa(what is now Yangon),there lived the king of Syriam.The king loved so much to his wife and also he wanted a baby of their own as they had no child.One day,the queen consort had pregnant.But unfortunately,she had died in child-birth.At the royal cemetery,the loyal ministers kept vigil near the queen's body,which would lie on its golden bier until the time came for its cremation.All was silence.Suddenly there was a sound like the cry of new-born baby came out from the queen's bier.People discovered there was a little child,still in her mother's womb,was not dead.The king was very glad to hear that he now had a daughter.But he couldn't took his daughter to the palace with him because this was the custom of country at that time-anyone who was born in the graveyard shouldn't live in the city.So the king built a palace for his daughter in the graveyard and named her Shin Mway Loon.People of this country believed the princess brought bad luck to the country.The poor princess grew up lonely and isolated in her palace guarded by maid-servants.

On the other side of the Thanlyin river,there lived the King of Dagon.He had only one son named Min Nandar,a handsome prince, much loved by people and the king.But the royal astrologers had predicted the prince would be killed by some creatures that lived in water.The kings of the nats felt very sorry for the prince and gave him a magic cane .The prince could summon all creatures living in the forests,in the sea and the rivers by using the magic cane.This cane was very useful for the prince and he became familiar with the king of crocodiles called Nga Moe Yeik.Nga Moe Yeik was a giant crocodile and the prince could summon him whenever he wanted.

After the prince heard about the beauty of Shin Mway Loon,he tried to visit her.He went down to the sea-shore and struck the ground three times.Nga Moe Yeik was appeared and offered to carry the prince across the river.The prince and the princess fell in love at the first sight.Then the prince went to the princess everyday across the river.Prince Min Nandar's father was furious that his son fell in love with a girl of bad fortune.He announced an order to all boatmen not to take the prince to the other side of river. This was no difference for the prince as he visited to his lover not by boat.As usual,he rode on the back of Nga Moe Yeik and came back to his palace at dawn before his father could find out.He also brought the magic cane with him together.

And the other crocodiles were jealous of their king,Nga Moe Yeik and wish to overthrow his despotic rule.They found out as long as Prince Min Nandar was alive,Nga Moe Yeik would continue to rule over them,so they decided that the prince must die.So,the crocodiles chose one female crocodile named "Ma Let To" to kill the Prince.This crocodile was in love with Nga Moe Yeik,but he already had a wife and ignored her seduction.So Ma Let To decided to kill the prince and also Nga Moe Yeik to get into trouble.

As all the crocodiles can change into human form,Ma Let To transformed herself into human form as her first step to kill the prince.She went to the Shin Mway Loon and served the princess because Ma Let to knew that the noble strength of Prince Min Nandar lied in his right arm and if one woman sleep on his right arm,he would face bad luck and get trouble.All the maids of the princess said to the Shin Mway Loon that Ma Let To smell was very fishy.But the princess was very kind and allowed her to stay.Ma Let To urged the princess to ask Min Nandar to let her rest her head on his right arm.The prince didn't allow to sleep at first.But the princess continuously asked the prince to let her sleep on his right arm.At last,the prince allowed her to do so.

At the end of the day,just as usual,the prince and Nga Moe Yeik were about to leave.It was the night that the crocodiles planned to attack their king.And the sky was full of dark clouds,thunder rumbled and a strom came up.Unfortunately,the prince forgot the magic cane in his palace.Without magic cane,the prince couldn't summon the creatures of the river.Both the princess and Nga Moe Yeik told the prince not to cross the river but the prince didn't listen.So,Nga Moe Yeik told the prince to lie in his mouth as he was giant crocodile.As they left,Ma Let To changed into her real form,stepped into the river and attacked Nga Moe Yeik.He was fought so long underwater with Ma Let To and also other crocodiles.Finally,Nga Moe Yeik fought all off and fell asleep on sandbank as he was exhausted.

When King of Dagon heard that his son had paid a visit to princess without magic cane.He seized the cane and struck it on the ground three times.So Nga Moe Yeik woke up and remembered that the prince was still in his mouth.He hastened to bring Min Nandar out of his mouth.But the prince was dead already.Nga Moe Yeik carried the dead prince to the King.Nga Moe Yeik was executed by the king.His wife buried his bones a few miles out of the city and built a pagoda over it.

When the princess heard the news of her lover,she died of a broken heart.Their funeral pyres were set up on the opposite banks of the river.The columns of smoke rose from each funeral pyre met at the sky and then turned into a rainbow.The people believed the two lovers were united in the heaven.

Some people believed Min Nandar died because of Shin Mway Loon.She slept on his right arm and that brought bad luck to Min Nandar.So there is a saying derived from this story, never let one woman to sleep on the man right arm.
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#1618 A woman looking for a spot to volunteering

Posted by TruthTraveller on 04 July 2013 - 02:34 PM

Hi Max,

 

  Thank you so much for your reply. Sure, I would like to share my experience about volunteering at the meditation center.

The center is located in Phayargone Village, Thanlyin division. It is not only the meditation center but there are wide ranges of people also. I met the head monk who founded this center since last 6 year. He taught me how to meditate ( observing how mind is naturally working). The center is quite different with other center in Myanmar. It's welcoming all kinds of people, any race, nationality, whether they are rich or poor, no matter how their personality is. There are old age, patients, orphanage and homeless.

 

I used to go as soon as I got my spare times. And now me and my Malaysian friend groups founded an educational support program for 10 kids from the village organized by the center especially for homeless. We provided 50,000 ks for a child per month and also some other edu needs like school uniform, bag etc.

 

The center named that village " Saytanar village" which means "good will ". There are over 2000 households and now also monastic school arrange by center is providing education for 600 kids. Me and my friend group arrange to provided Desks and Tables for them. And I used to cook some soup or food that suitable for patients and old ages at evening time. There are over 1800 resident Yogis there. And now I am planning to provide an English class which teachs Music and English for young kids.

 

  Sorry for my long letter Max. I am very keen to share my experience about the center.  Now I wish to know how other organization do their best to raise the education and awareness among the community. May be I can apply those experience to others who doesn't have in touch with those kind of things yet.

 

Regards,

 

Awbur


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#1578 Myanmar visa application in Bangkok

Posted by prismadelta on 03 July 2013 - 04:28 AM

Hi everyone, 

 

As promised two days ago, here is a report about my visa application I made yesterday at the visa service of Myanmar embassy in Bangkok, near Surasak.

 

So first to got there, take the BTS (Bangkok sky train) and get out at Surasak station, take exit number 3.

 
Attached File  1. Surasak station Bangkok, go out for Myanmar embassy.JPG   100.55KB   2 downloads Attached File  2. Exit 3 Surasak.JPG   101.56KB   0 downloads
 
Then as soon as you are down from the BTS platform, take the same direction as traffic, which should be on your right when you are walking. You should have the Mode Sathorn Hotel on your left.
 
Attached File  4. Walk along BTS line.jpg   114.5KB   0 downloads Attached File  3. Pass Mode Surasak Hotel.JPG   97.56KB   0 downloads
 
Continue walking and you should first pass Thanon Pramuan and Bangkok Christian college after that, before finally arriving at Thanon Pan, which is the street of the embassy.
 
Attached File  5. Pass Thanon Pramuan.JPG   113.11KB   0 downloads Attached File  6. Pass by Bangkok Christian College.JPG   94.6KB   0 downloads Attached File  7. Thanon Pan.JPG   121.36KB   0 downloads
 
Turn Left on Thanon Pan, walk a few meters and you are arrived at the Myanmar Embassy.
 
Attached File  8. Embassy of Myanmar.JPG   114.3KB   2 downloads
 
It took me ten minutes from the platform of the BTS to arrive at the embassy, and when I arrived there at 8:20 AM, there was only 4 people waiting.
Good thing I arrived early, by 9:00 AM when the embassy opened, there was already more than 30 people. But I was told that actually it is by far worse during the high season, and if you don't arrive there before 8:30 at last, you are good for a long wait before your turn comes.
 
One thing you need to know is that to apply for your visa, you must have 2 pictures, 1 photocopy of your passport and 1 application form duly filled.
But if you forgot to bring any of these, there are easy solutions around.
 
To have ID pictures, just walk down the street for about 50 meters and you will see on your left a sign a the entrance of a building, saying that you can take ID pictures. Just climb the stairs and you can have 8 ID pictures taken by an automatic machine just for 200 Thai Baht.
 
Attached File  9. Take pictures.JPG   97.51KB   0 downloads
 
When your pictures are taken, just head on the opposite side of the road, where you will see a yellow sign which says "copy, photo, myanmar visa services...". Enter this soi and on your right you will see a small shop, where probably other travelers are filling their application form.
 
Attached File  10. Visa application form.jpg   115.65KB   0 downloads Attached File  11. Visa shop.jpg   87.69KB   0 downloads
 
Go inside the shop and ask for an application form and a copy of your passport. They will make the copy of the passport for 3 Baht and give you a copy of application form for 5 Baht. 
They also have scissors and glue there so you can cut and stick your ID picture on your application form.
 
Attached File  12. Myanmar visa application form.jpg   87.28KB   0 downloads
 
Go back then to the Myanmar embassy, where a longer queue is waiting for you. Better having a friend alongside with you !!
 
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For those who weren't aware, the Myanmar Embassy visa service opens from 9:00 to 12:00 in the morning and collection is from 15:30 to 16:30.
 
I didn't take pictures of the inside, I was not sure I would be allowed too.
But then it is pretty simple. When the embassy opens, you should go to counter number 4 where a person will check your file and if the file is ok, will give you a number and you just have to wait for your number to be called and go to the corresponding counter, to give your file and pay for the visa fee.
 
About the fee, it is 810 Baht to have the visa 2 days later, 1035 Baht for the next day and 1260 Baht on the same day.
Since I was not in a hurry, I just took the cheapest one and will pick up my passport tomorrow. 
I will try to take pictures if I can tomorrow when I go back and they will be posted here.
 
Cheers,

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#1554 Women cannot put golden sheets ?

Posted by ju ju mint on 02 July 2013 - 08:58 AM

hello Giana

 

Women can't put golden sheet on pagoda.

It is just only tradition and custom,and concerns nothing with religion

.Most burmeses are buddhist and so u can mix  them.So u can ask me what're  the differences.

According to tradition,long long ago, the burmese women wore the blouse that got them into a fix in the upper part of body and at the lower part ,they put on Longyi that was long and tidy cloth like skirt but it is not as convenient as skirt.

so their clothes made them difficult to put the golden sheet on the pagoda

.u know, most of pagodas and buddha statues are high and have to climb to some place to do that

firstly their clothes were uneasy to climb up and it was dangerous for them because they might fall down accidentally.

so,man usually did this sort of work .and later it became like a traditon.

it does not mean the kind of gender segregation by mean of religious.

the buddha did not point out that it is a punishment to reincanate into women in his way.

it is only false believe or misunderstanding among buddhists.

according to religion,buddha said that every man and women have the same rights and oppertunities to get to their paradise if they try best.

the women are traditionnally forbidden to enter the religious monuments and

this bad tradition will fade away soon if all of buddhist consider about the fact and they study about them precisely.

u may be bored with my explaination! sorry for my long post.


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#1155 Why Myanmar people use gmail and not hotmail

Posted by Maibpenrai on 17 June 2013 - 04:03 PM

I am not Burmese, but one reason could be that Hotmail Messenger was very popular a few years ago, especially in Europe and Us, so we all created hotmail address, it was more common to have a hotmail than gmail, we were all chatting on MSN, gmail was more used when we were looking for a job, giving his email address from gmail was more serious. For example jackietuning67@hotmail.com was a guarantee of getting no reply of the employer but Jackie,Pierre@gmail.com was much more professional.

 

At this time I guess internet was not very popular in Myanmar or developed, so now that the people can have easier access to internet in Myanmar,  I think they choose gmail address instead of hotmail, simply because the popularity of hotmail is gone, MSN-Hotmail messenger stopped last march 2013 and got merged with skype, since skype was bought by Microsoft, nobody has used hotmail messenger for the last 4 years (I think the last time I chatted on hotmail was in 2009). and with Facebook and Google+  getting more and more popular, hotmail couldn't resist.

 
So Burmese people who are members here must be around 20-30 years old, hotmail was popular 10-15 years ago, this young generation from Myanmar must be more familiar with Google+, so that's why they mostly got a gmail account instead of hotmail. We have hotmail because we are old  :D

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#6879 Meeting with U Lun Gywe, Myanmar most famous painter

Posted by Max on 20 November 2013 - 08:54 AM

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By a fine afternoon at the end of the raining season, I was going to Yangon airport to pick up some friends, and meet our Burmese friend who kindly arranged for us a meeting with Myanmar most famous impressionist artist U Lun Gywe.

 

After a nice Burmese lunch, we hit the road to North Okkalapa where we had an appointment at the Artist Life Art Gallery with Mr. Lun Thitt, son of U Lun Gywe and artist himself.

This gentle man, who took some of his time to show us the gallery warmly welcomed us and showed us around. We could gladly admire tens or hundreds of paintings, from the master but also from other painters and what was surprising is that the whole family paintings were exposed there.

Indeed, not only U Lun Gywe and his son’s painting were to be seen, but also those of Lun Mya Mya (wife of the master), Lun Kyaw Yee (daughter in law) and those of Lun Pan Che and Lun Moe Yan, respectively 13 and 9 years old, grand children of U Lun Gywe.

 

We took our time to admire the pieces of art and had a nice chat with Lun Thitt when he told me that it was challenging to be an artist when his father already is a renowned one, but that it was great that the whole family shared the same passion.

 

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I was somehow attracted to U Lun Gywe’s dancers painting, several being displayed in the gallery, and amazed by the fact that he always chose the same type of character for these dancers paintings; a voluptuous woman; but each and everyone of them being different in terms of colors, emotions and feelings emerging from the paintings.

 

Our host then kindly invited us to walk out to go to his father’s house, which is only a minute or two away on walking distance.

We arrived to the master’s humble home, where again tens of pictures were displayed all over the walls. U Lun Gywe and his wife Mrs. Lun Mya Mya were waiting for us.

 

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After offering us some drinks and a short chat in Burmese with our Myanmar friend, U Lun Gywe started to tell about his story with painting and his passion for his art. He explained that it started very early for him, since he can remember he has always been interested into painting and arts, he called himself a born artist (or “parami”) and in he differed in that from other members of his family, such as his grand children, who are becoming artists more because of their environment.

 

So it was somehow easy for him to learn about it, he said: “That is why I got no difficulty to study about painting, but in my childhood, you know I couldn’t paint like I do today because I could see the real one, I couldn’t see what was inside my heart. But now I can paint it all without having a subject, without seeing what I paint.”

 

He indeed studied under his master Thein Han, but also went to China and East Germany to study about different techniques and approaches of painting, where he says he learnt a lot.

 

But he still mentioned that such process of studying was a long way, since he had to learn all techniques at the same time and try to master them: water color, oil painting, sketching, drawings, tones, etc… underlining the importance of mastering all to be able to express himself on the canvas.

 

However, for many years already, it hasn’t been a problem for him anymore, he mentioned: ”I am very easy going, it depends on my mood, when I want to use oil or water color both are ok. Whatever I like, I can do.”

 

Speaking of the mood, this is what determine all of his paintings, he explained us : “You know I am an impressionist artist, that’s why in my mind I got an idea and a mood and I just do it accordingly.

Whereas if you want to copy from a photo, this is very difficult to get the things and to get the mood, because it is similar to photography, not really an artwork, which is coming more from the heart and the brain. I’m just following my soul to paint, so all the painting you have been seeing in my gallery and in my home, all of these are coming from my heart, I don’t like to copy from photo.”

 

He also emphasized on the emotion and feeling that you can get and show through a painting, which you can’t really do with a photograph in his opinion. Whilst painting he goes deep inside himself to seek for emotions and feelings to give life to his paintings, this is how he described the process:

“Then if you want to make a picture, you have to think. What do you want to do? What is your desire? What is your mood? What is your feeling? What is your taste?

All of these are very important. An image is only flat, it has no sound at all, but for the picture we say it speaks, it transmits an emotion.

That’s why it is very valuable to paint, suddenly you can have a taste, whenever you look at the picture, at that time you can have a taste and every time you look at it you will have a different feeling about it […] Paintings are always made from memories, feelings.”

 

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Tired of speaking about himself and his painting, the painter got curious about our ability to speak Myanmar language, so he asked us what we could say in Burmese. We then tried our best not to deceive him by saying the few words we knew like “kye zu tin ba de”, “Name be lo ko da le”, “Nei kaung ba de” and so on.

He taught us how to say be lucky : “Kan kaung ba ze”; be healthy : “Kyan mar ba ze” and be wealthy “Chan da ba de”.

 

Since we were talking about languages, he started to tell us how he did learn Chinese when he was in Beijing for a year: “the first thing I learnt was a simple sentence “jiao shen me” which means “how is it called” so I could learn many words just by asking this simple question. Now I can speak a bit of Chinese, but only a bit.” he humbly said.

And he spoke out a few sentences in Chinese.

 

We ended our conversation speaking about family and values, when he said that he was really lucky to have his family close to him:

“Now currently in our home we have two way, two main topics of conversation, one being art and the other one being Dhamma, the commandments of Buddha (sermon). So we live happily together, we never quarrel together, never.

And all the family is united, my son and grand children leave by the gallery and I am here only a few meters away, so we are never far from each other, we are very lucky to have such a family. Sometimes people of a family got separated, living in other countries like you, I don’t want that.”

 

The master being tired, he kindly asked us to leave and made us promised that we would try to do some sketching and drawing to see if we had the artistic flair, I have to say that I don’t have such a flair.

 

At the end of the day it was an amazing moment spend with this great figure of Myanmar art, and I wish I could meet him again one day.

 

Hope you will live long and happily Mr. Lun Gywe, good luck to you.

 

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#5003 50th Street Restaurant, Yangon: The Recipe for Success, An Interview with Mr....

Posted by IronLady on 11 September 2013 - 10:14 AM

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Myanmar is a country that takes pride in its rich heritage and history. It has also been a melting pot for several cultures from neighboring nations such as Thailand, China and India and the merger resulted in what’s currently one of the most charming and enigmatic cultures in the whole world. In addition to this, Myanmar has an interestingly diverse and delicious cuisine that makes visitors ask for more. Tourists will find numerous dining options especially when they drop by Yangon where the 50th Street Cafe Restaurant and Bar is located.
 
The 50th Street Restaurant and Bar can be found at Merchant St., Botataung Township. Its interiors are accentuated with warm, rich and natural colors that make visitors feel at home instantly. The restaurant opens at 11 a.m. on Mondays to Fridays, and 10:30 a.m. on weekends. To learn more about the restaurant, Mingalapar forum interviewed Mr. Phil Black Wood, 50th Street’s manager.
 
 
Mingalapar forum: First of all, I would like to ask you the reasons that brought you to our country, specifically here in Botataung Township, Yangon.
 
Phil:  To be honest, I didn’t know anything about Myanmar before I arrived here. I was in New Zealand and I applied for job on a job website. Quite often when New Zealand people want to go to Europe, we travel to Australia first, get some money and then go to other countries. So this website was Australian-based and one of the owners of the restaurant was Australian. They advertised on that particular website. I saw it and I thought that it was an interesting opportunity to do a job that I know pretty well. But it’s a completely different environment. This is my first job working with people who speak English as their second language.
 
Originally the contract was for six months only. I didn't intend to stay in Yangon and was planning to go to Spain, but during the time I was here, I set some personal goals. Also, things in Spain were going a little downhill. That's always the first thing that happens in times of crisis, the first ones to get retrenched are the foreigners working when you have a lot of unemployment.
 
Like the company that I have worked for where I’ve been in another restaurant, at some stage I don't know when I’ll be going and what I’ll be doing after, the company I’m working for is building another restaurant and a hotel at the moment with other sorts of projects as well. A lot of interesting, interesting things are happening here so I decided to stay a little longer.
 
Mingalapar forum: What was your experience before this job?
 
Phil: Before I worked in a restaurant, I’ve been working in a hospitality business, but mostly part-time. I was a full-time Engineer before I came here in Yangon. I’ve been in the engineering field for five years in Wellington before I came here.  I just needed a change of scene, I guess.
 
Mingalapar forum: Why did you choose this location and what are the advantages of doing so?
 
Phil: Well, it felt like the place chose me. The restaurant was originally set up in 1997. It was originally open at the same time that a lot of overseas investors were thinking that they can make good business in this country especially in 1995 to 1997, but then the government policies changed and a lot of people lost lots of money. This place was very quiet for at least 10 years, but then in 2009, an English national named Anthony Odison came here. Mr. Odison was a managing director and he acquired this restaurant and renovated it. After that period, he reopened the restaurant and bar by the end of 2009. For six months, he worked here alongside his friend who was a chef. After another six months, they handed it over to me and off I went, trying to make some money.
 
Mingalapar forum: What do you think about the decoration of this restaurant? Why did the person who started this chose this kind of decoration?
 
Phil: I suppose you have to ask them that to know what they were thinking when they put up 50th Street Cafe. But we always get positive reviews for our interior decorations from people who usually come in to dine here. You can see that it was originally an all white wall. It makes for an interesting and neat background. At the time, it wasn’t our consideration to paint it all white but now it’s very popular. But there are some people who suggest that we add the bricks in the background and unique signs so that when they take their pictures inside our restaurant and make them their profile pictures on Facebook, other people would know that they have been in 50th Street Cafe.
 
I've always wanted to run a restaurant because it's very warm and welcoming. In addition, people can truly relax here in our cafe after a day of Yangon stresses and this is one of the things that separate us from all the other restaurants in the city. We put attention and high priority on our food quality.  We also thought of having elements of a bar in a restaurant so that people in big groups can enjoy the relaxing and comforting atmosphere as well.
 
A place like this is usually flocked by a lot of the travelling business guys. They can come to the bar by themselves and they can go to the pool table or meet other new guys and experience a general sort of interaction. Also, one of the interesting things I found was that some Burmese guys whom I befriended, would come in for the pool and find the activity to be a good opportunity to speak English. Maybe they haven’t travelled overseas or they’re not very used to knowing the nature of other nationalities.  So yes, it’s been very good. It makes a lot of business connection from very small transactions all the way to the multimillion-dollar deal. People are achieving it. It's quite cool.
 
Mingalapar forum: I want to know if it is complicated to open a restaurant, for the paper works and for you to get the license from the local authorities to operate this establishment.
 
Phil: I was not involved in that phase of the process, so I wouldn’t be able to tell. But a friend of mine is now trying to open a restaurant and he's finding it difficult to get the license. So I think things are changing, but still some things remain the same. It’s very difficult. I also know a new restaurant that opened last week and I think they were up to 13 months behind for the opening day and behind schedule. That really shows that opening a restaurant could be quite challenging especially for beginners.
 
 
Mingalapar forum: How about the preparation for the paper works? What do you think of that process?
 
Phil: As for that stage, I think the paper work is okay. It’s relatively easier to handle than the actual construction process itself. The restaurant opened last week, and I heard today that the chef has already quit. That’s just painful to experience.
 
Mingalapar forum: Really? Why?
 
Phil: Well, I just think that some of the restaurants tried to do too fancy. They even attempt to make the food look and sound extravagant without really paying close attention to the taste and quality. It’s all too fancy. Rather than just whipping up some nice solid the food that you can teach the local people to make, some restaurants just try to level up the standard by serving grandiose dishes. Sometimes, people are trying to reach too far. Aside from the food, they also need some qualified staff, which you cannot get here and if you bring those people in, that would cost a lot of money. It’s sort of working with the ingredients that you have. The ingredients to a successful business are the properties and of course, the human resources. The staff guys here are very good and it’s one of the keys to the success of this place.
 
Mingalapar forum: How do you think about our country’s opening? Do you feel it is a good opportunity to get a lot of new customers or do you feel that your business is in danger?
 
Phil: To be honest, there are really only 10-20 restaurants in Yangon that are of similar standards as 50th Street Cafe, I suppose. In this city where there are around five million people, that's not very much. In Bangkok maybe they have four hundred, five hundred restaurants. Since I arrived three and half years ago in this city, almost the same number of restaurants have opened and closed. People are finding it hard to operate and maintain restaurants. The rental prices are very high and the maintenance fees are also expensive. In addition, the management of the structures of these places requires one or two expats and maybe they require a little accommodation that could also cost a lot of money.
 
Mingalapar forum: So do you think this is a new opportunity for the right people who can handle this situation or not?
 
Phil: Unfortunately, I don’t think a lot of people have enough understanding about the market. It seems like some of the companies from Laos, Cambodia or Thailand see opportunities in Yangon because they come and visit the place and they are trying to find similar features of the restaurants in their city. And when they can’t find it, they think that they can already establish their own restaurant here in Yangon but I personally think that it’s very hard to do that.
 
Mingalapar forum: How do you plan for your restaurant’s future, especially when it comes to parties and events? What message do you want to give to our readers and members?
 
Phil: I think the formula that we are using at the moment is very successful. Currently, I am finding different ways to improve on what we already have. This year we are doing a lot more themes and activities that aim to attract more customers in our restaurant. In fact, we held a Salsa Night last night and we will be holding a Jazz party tonight with some great jazz bands. Fridays are set to be band nights as well. We also tap and support some local markets. 
 
About three years ago, there was only one place like this and people come regularly but you cannot prevent them from getting bored with all the same old stuff so it’s nice to have something new and different every once in a while. We want the 50th Street to become a home away from home especially for our regular guests and expats. We want people to have some place to go whenever homesickness falls on them and they want to get a taste of the food they miss back home.
 
For example, Americans drop by our restaurant to grab burgers, pasta, fish and chips and other similar dishes. We also have a limited Burmese menu for the expats. We set that one up to make sure that that local people feel very much welcome. They can come down and enjoy the restaurant and bar like everyone else. And that also enhances the atmosphere having the Burmese people the same. I’d like to think that when people open the door and they walk into 50th Street, they can leave some of the worries behind and just interact with other people. We serve a lot of things that cater to the wants of the people. Take for instance, we found out that the Burmese customers like pizzas and it’s interesting, because cheese, which is the big part of pizza is not a big part of Burmese diet. It’s very good indeed!
 
Mingalapar forum: What would you recommend the best food and cocktails of your restaurant to our readers?
 
Phil: Where are the readers from? That’s important so I’ll know which ones to recommend based on their places of origin.
 
Mingalapar forum: From the forum and from overseas and from our country, local people and expats. They exchanged their knowledge and experience on the forum. So what would you recommend for them?
 
Phil: Being the manager of the restaurant and bar, I’d say that everything in 50th Street is good. But we are especially proud of our Steak. I am from New Zealand and we have a big farming community that produces great food like the steak. Our restaurant serves a wide array of steaks such as beef steak, lamb steak, T-bone and many others that were dubbed as delicious and nice. I have one of my friends from Australia and he tried the Myanmar Beef Curry. He loved it and recommended that we include that dish on the menu. We also serve traditional foods like English Fish & Chips. We were surprised when we observed that the Saudi community eat Fish & Chips every day. People try and ask what style of food we have here at 50th Street, Italian, French or American food? Well, I just tell them that we serve world food and we try to bring the best parts of various cultures.
 
The way out menu is set up, it has been flexible and when visitors bring in a group of people, we try to give them a really nice meal to suit their budget across the board because we know that not all people earn lots of money just to be spent on a good meal. Customers can choose what they really want.
 
Mingalapar forum: What would be your favorite Burmese food?
 
Phil: I love so many Burmese foods but my particular favourite is the Rakhine Seafood. Whenever my friends come to Yangon, I take them to the Rakhine Seafood Restaurant at Parami. The  Shan Noodle Lunch Time is also quite cool.
 
Mingalapar forum: Why will you recommend the 50th Street Bar to our reader?
 
Phil: I want to recommend the 50th Street Restaurant and bar because it's a nice, honest, solid place to be comfortable and relaxed. It will also fill your tummies with good food and has a calming atmosphere that can help people unwind at the end of the day. Whether you’re business people or tourists, it’s the ideal place to dine. The tourists usually hate feeling hot at sweaty and they’d like the air-con and cold beer at 50th Street.  They can come back, sit down and relax here. This restaurant comes with the wi- fi so you can connect to the Internet and check your e-mails or log in to social networking sites. People can also watch a popular sporting event while eating here so it seems to cover all the places.
 
Mingalapar forum: That would be a very nice experience for tourists and locals visiting Yangon! Thank you very much for your time and for allowing us to get a glimpse of what’s inside the 50th Street Cafe. We’re looking forward to seeing you again soon, Mr. Wood!
 
Phil: Well, you’re welcome anytime to visit here and I also want to thank you for this wonderful opportunity. Don’t forget to drop by our restaurant and to have a taste of all our specialty dishes that you will surely love.
 
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#4442 Bagan: July 20, 2013

Posted by teton on 26 August 2013 - 09:17 AM

Sharing few of photos captured by my lens.

 

 

On top and around Shwesandaw Pagoda

 

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Ananda Pagoda

 

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Bu Paya Pagoda

 

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Sulamani Pagoda

 

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Bagan Viewing Tower

 

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#4267 Delusion of grandeur in Yangon

Posted by Banal on 22 August 2013 - 09:09 AM

Myanmar has always been an expensive country for both travelers and expatriates. But the craziness doesn't seem to find any limits.

 

I recently found an article published by Bloomberg website relating peaks that prices recently reached in Yangon making the city MORE EXPENSIVE THAN NEW YORK or even LONDON for business. I mean New York.

 

Ok I admit, Yangon is way more dynamic city than the Big apple. The Sakura Tower much more impressive than the Empire State Building, Manhattan is a joke compared to the ultra modern-nice-clean-good shape-well famous Yangon city Center. Yangon is so developed it doesn't need any Subway or any kind of organized transportation system. Yangon is so advanced that the local "Central Park", known locally as Kandawgyi Park is worth 2000MMk the visit. And I'm not talking about the cabs. They have FLYING CARS!! Can you believe it, flying car working with nuclear engine and air con in each and every one of them.

 

Of course all these amazing and advanced technologies have a cost. And 2000 USD for a 2 bedrooms flat in a shitty condominium with almost no service, stains caused by humidity, is the minimum that can be asked. And the called it suitable for expatriate. 

 

I know what you are thinking: poor little expatriate who flew all the way to Yangon thinking he would be the master of universe living like a king in a 200sqm flat with view over the Shwedagon pagoda for only 900 USD per month. Well, maybe I am. Then will you kindly explain to me why for that price you have a nice apartment with security 24H, maybe swimming pool, a club/bar/supermarket/market at walking distance in a small city called Bangkok? 

 

Where is Yangon heading? Straight into the wall maybe, But with style. Speculation seems to be the second language here: speculation on hotels (I mean seriously, have a look at the Orchid hotel and then check their prices, THIS is a joke), on land and so on. The only sector which seems to remain unspoiled is the food. Wonderful. Speculation has given to Yangon a status she doesn't deserve. To be placed as the same level as cities like New York or London. 

 

It's a shame and makes me feel frustrated because somehow, I like this city, the feeling, the smell, the same mysterious perfume that Orwell or Kipling described in their books. I like this city, maybe because for us, big city boys, Yangon and Myanmar will always be a mystery. A sweet and sour mystery


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#3570 Mingalapar Forum got an exclusive interview with the Myanmar Minister of Tour...

Posted by TS33 on 07 August 2013 - 01:53 PM

Hi to all our members,

I'm proud to announce that an exclusive interview to Mingalapar forum was granted by the Myanmar Minister of Tourism Htay Aung, please click this linkto read the interview and you're welcome to comment on this page.

 

 

 


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#2543 A joyful journey aboard Yangon circular train ( Myanmar )

Posted by Max on 22 July 2013 - 03:51 PM

After a very short night of sleep, we difficultly woke up at seven in the morning since we had an appointment at seven fifteen downstairs, with one of my friends who was staying at another hotel, two blocks away.

I took some time to get refreshed a bit, put my shirt and my longyi on and we were already late by five minutes. But at our surprise, our friend was not waiting for us downstairs, we decided to wait for a bit, but were quite worried, as the receptionist told me the day before that the train was leaving every full hour.

 

After fifteen minutes of waiting, still no sign of our buddy, so we decided to hire a cab and go directly to the train station, thinking that he hadn’t probably woken up on time, and hoping that maybe he would join us at the train station. But luckily for him, we just ran into him walking by the street, I called him from the cab and he was looking all around him to see where it was coming from. He finally saw me yelling towards him and joined us and we went together to the train station.

 

Arriving at the train station I was kindly greeted with smiles and “good looking” since people I believe appreciated that I was making an effort to accustom myself to local traditions by wearing the traditional longyi, even it was a bit too formal and wedding looking, since I worn black and white.

We bought our breakfast to a small stall and asked our way to the circular train, everybody gently showed us where or explained where to go, quay 6 and 7, to buy tickets and wait for the train to come.

We figured that we were actually not that late, since the train was scheduled to leave at 8:20, and the trains are not really planned every full hour but, you still have several a day, we took our first class ticket for only 1200 kyats.

 

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As we were waiting on the quay I noticed that we were far from being alone in the old train station, since people and vendors are wandering around before the train arrived.

After a few minutes, an ancient train slowly reached the quay; it was around eight o’clock; but since it was too early we didn’t think it was ours and we didn’t move. But as we were the only foreigners on the quay and the only people not moving to get in the train, the guy at the ticket counter got out of his booth and started to make sign at us to get in the train, it was actually ours.

 

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So here we are, in our VIP coach; that is actually nothing compare to what you can expect in western countries, simply a car with benches on both sides; waiting for the departure and the 3 hours ride around Yangon. A few people only were around us and there was plenty of space left on the benches, so we could find a seat next to the window.

We spent the first half hour to one hour to observe the landscape and the flow of passenger going in and out of the wagon at every stop, sometimes jumping down or hoping in the train while it’s still running. Also some people were just walking along the railway, on the way to work or to school, crossing sometimes the track without much care of the train that is running.

But before we knew it the coach was almost full, with very different people. Vendors that were going around the coach with their betel nuts, pineapple platters, and some of them with a small kitchen on their platters, ready to prepare any kind of salad for you; families that are riding to the other side of the city; young lads that seem to be just enjoying the ride while chewing their betel nut; a group of woman is in the corner of the car, chatting almost since our departure, they have big baskets around them with what seems to be their stock of the day to sell on the market.

All of this beautiful people is mingling with everybody, seems they all know each other as they probably regularly meet each other on this joyful train.

 

Attached File  Yangon circular train curve landscape.JPG   165.57KB   0 downloads Attached File  Yangon circular train house along the tracks.JPG   168.76KB   0 downloads Attached File  Yangon circular train landscape north.JPG   100.29KB   0 downloads

 

Soon enough, we arrive at a big train station, which if my memory doesn’t fail was Insein station, where lots of people come and go in and out from the train, I am observing a monk walking on the opposite direction of the train, trying to get to the last wagon and I start to take pictures of the crowd.

While taking a picture of the people, my camera screen is showing a thug like face guy who is looking into my direction with severe eyes, but while I cross his look, his expression changes completely and he starts to smile at me putting his thumb up.

I start to feel that this ride will be a thrilling experience.

The thug face guy joins our ride with a few of his friends and soon some others join from the following stops.

They are all a bit looking at me with my longyi and at my friends, maybe wondering what we are doing here, with big smiles on their faces willing to communicate, apparently glad that some foreigners have joined their usual daily ride.

I notice a cute girl with the group, a natural beauty with tanakha on her face and she give me a shy smile, to which I reply gladly.

 

Attached File  Yangon circular train full coach.JPG   113.86KB   1 downloads Attached File  Yangon circular train pineapple lady.JPG   107.14KB   2 downloads Attached File  Yangon circular train salad lady.JPG   122.62KB   0 downloads Attached File  Train station.JPG   126.49KB   0 downloads Attached File  Danyingon market.JPG   179.76KB   2 downloads

 

My friend starts to feel hungry and after looking how yummy the dishes from the people around him look like, he decide to order from the salad lady, a noodle and mushroom salad. Everybody is now staring at him with approbation, locals are usually happy that foreign people enjoy the local delicacies. Some of them giving him thumb ups.

 

As my friend is eating his delicious salad, the guy and his friends are starting to tease at the young woman because she gave me that shy smile and one of the young lads even point at the girl while looking at me and start to mime that she is crazy, the girl attack him back with slaps all over him and everybody is laughing, but I feel that the guy is enjoying to be hit, since it was some attempt to flirt with the girl, we are having a great time.

And for the rest of the ride; until our hosts of the day go down of the car when reaching their destination; we appreciate watching them having fun and interacting with other passengers, and we exchange a bit with a few words of English, mixed with our poor knowledge of Burmese language and mainly sign language.

We are offered cigarettes, pineapple and most agreeably a warm welcome from local people enjoying to mingle with us as we are doing as well, and I start to wish that we can suspend time for a while and have the pleasure to experience the simplicity and innocence of Burmese people, that you don’t find much in this world anymore, for a little while more.

 

Attached File  Yangon circular train kid waiting for food.JPG   88.55KB   2 downloads

 

Unfortunately, our ride have to end as we are reaching Yangon station, but even if this is not one of the biggest touristic attraction, and maybe because it isn’t, it is probably for now, one of my best experience in Myanmar and also one of my best traveling experience.

 


  • Thet, TruthTraveller, terence29 and 1 other like this


#1941 Burmese Lunch With Foreigner Friends At Monsoon Restaurant Yangon

Posted by TruthTraveller on 12 July 2013 - 06:57 PM

When we visit to the places of different culture, we always would like to taste the foods and atmosphere of it. Even for a native of this country, when we visit to a place we've never been before, we love to try the original taste of native cooking. We used to eat Shan food in Yangon but we still would like to try the original taste of Shan food when we are in Taung Gyi or Inle. So it is no need to argue that the foreigners would surely love to try our traditional Burmese food at least one time.

 

  I have some foreigner friends who would like to try our Burmese food and they ask me which place is my recommendation. There are some famous Burmese restaurants in Yangon but we choose Monsoon restaurant as it is located in good location, downtown area, less traffic jams road to it and easy to find for my foreigner friends. Monsoon restaurant is not emphasis on Burmese food but I considered it is the best place to bring the foreigner for the first time taste. So we choose this place for our lunch.

 

Attached File  Facade Monsoon Yangon.JPG   123.98KB   0 downloads

 

On the date of lunching, I tried to be an earliest one to reach there to wait for my friends. When I reached there at 12:40, it was raining heavily. My unbrella was quite wet when I got outside of taxi. I saw a man standing in front of the restaurant's door, his face welcoming me and help my wet umbrella to be in the umbrella basket. The restaurant's door was open and a man welcoming me with sweet smile and politely asked me " How many person Madam?" to arrange the table. I said " Four" and he came along with me and showed me the table.

 

  They served with a plate of peanut while they were putting the menus on the table. It was still early according to our appointment time, so I decided to order something to drink first before my friends arrive. I asked the waiter " What kinds of tea available here" and he explained about the herbal tea which is good for health and other ordinary Myanmar tea. I was quite satisfied with his explanation and I ordered Myanmar Green tea, cost 1000 ks.

 

  I got my tea pot on the table after 10 minutes. I felt it's little bit delay to serve a pot of tea but they seems very busy as there were around 12 tables of customers for lunch. All tables on ground floor were full of customers at that time and some new comers also went up stairs. I think it's around 20 tables totally and the decoration is more looks like a dinning room. There is  a bar of liquors, fresh juices and coffee at the corner of the restaurant too. I became a little bit bore to be alone in the middle of crowd, so I read some advertisement on the table. It is about first Myanmar red wine and white wine. I thought to myself " If expatriates love to try Myanmar food, perhaps they would love to try Myanmar wine too."

 

Attached File  Ground floor Monsoon restaurant yangon.JPG   127.92KB   0 downloads Attached File  Bar Monsoon restaurant Yangon.JPG   130.56KB   0 downloads Attached File  1st floor Monsoon.JPG   106.8KB   0 downloads 

 

  After a while, my friends has arrived and we started to order for our lunch. It is much fun to listen their lovely pronunciation whey they try to read our Burmese curry names. Finally, We ordered Chicken curry ( Kyet kar La Thar Chet), Pork with bean paste curry ( Wat Pone Yay Gyi Chet) as main dishes and also Egg Plant Salad ( Kha Yan Thee Thote), Tea Leaf Salad ( La Phat Thote) and Sour Soup ( Chin Yay Hin Cho).

 

Attached File  Burmese lunch Monsoon Yangon.jpg   130.86KB   0 downloads

 

Withing 40 minutes, our ordered curries were set on our tables and it's looks Yummy for me. We got four chops of meat for chicken curry mixed with Gourd, pounded Garlic and Onion. It is quite strange for me that they put Lemon Grass as spice in this curry and it is not the way of other Burmese restaurants and we, ordinary folks cooking style at home. For my friends, they said " it is not so spicy and not bad" for this one. To be honest, the taste is not my favorite but it is still eatable. The prices is a bit expansive for me as they charged 5800 Ks and cannot compare the prices of other Burmese restaurants for a bowl of this curry. Pork curry was fit to my mouth and one of my my friends loved it too. It is cooked with bean paste, whole Onion and Garlic. But one of my friend said " It is not even a curry, It's just bean paste". I laughed when I heard it. I cannot argue that he is wrong because that curry they served was only looks like bean paste as it was less pork chops and more gravy. They charge 5800Ks for it too. I think you would be understood this is also expensive and cannot compare to other restaurant as I have mentioned above.

 

Attached File  Chicken curry Monsoon restaurant Yangon.JPG   126.14KB   0 downloads Attached File  Pork with bean curry Monsoon reastaurant Yangon.JPG   127.86KB   0 downloads Attached File  Eggplant salad Monsoon restaurant Yangon.JPG   116.01KB   0 downloads Attached File  Laphet Thok Monsoon restaurant yangon.JPG   119.4KB   0 downloads

 

  Egg Plant Salad and Tea Leaf Salad were cost 2900 Ks and 2500 Ks respectively and they are just OK. But from my opinion as a Burmese, they should put more oil and a bit lime juice in Tea Leaf Salad. One of my friends said the taste of Tea Leaf Salad is slower to react on his Tongue than Thai Papaya Salad. He said it will take times to catch the real taste of it. And I agreed with him because I am also Thai Papaya Salad lover and I felt the taste of it is stronger and easy to react on human's tongue than our Tea Leaf Salad. Roselle Sour Soup was fine and all of us accepted its taste. They charged 2900 Ks for it. The cook of Monsoon restaurant is smart enough to adjust the taste of Burmese curry for foreigner's mouth.

 

After all of this, we end up our lunch with Myanmar Dessert, Coconut Sago ( Ohn Noe. Thar Gu) and Shwe Kyi ( Sa Nwan Ma Kin). The tastes were not so sweet and I like them.

 

Attached File  Coconut Sago Monsoon Yangon.JPG   106.31KB   0 downloads Attached File  Shwe Makin semolina cake Monsoon restaurant Yangon.JPG   149.11KB   0 downloads

 

  The lunch cost us about 40,000 Ks and to review over all of this, it is not so bad to its standard, cleanness and their services. Monsoon still on the list of restaurants for me to bring my foreigner friends if we are in downtown area and to serve the people with class. But if you are a real Burmese food lover and really want to taste the original Burmese style cooking, I'd rather recommend other Burmese restaurants than Monsoon.

 

Awbur Nyan

 

 

Attached File  Monsoon Map.jpeg   76.35KB   0 downloads

Monsoon restaurant & bar

85- 87 Theinbyu Road, Botataung Township, Yangon Myamar.


  • Thet, Carlita's way, Rolito and 1 other like this


#1710 Shopping Review Junction Square Yangon, Myanmar

Posted by Max on 07 July 2013 - 05:31 AM

I have read from our local members that Junction square is one of the biggest shopping mall in Yangon, so I paid it a visit yesterday with no actual idea of what to expect while going there.

 

We took the taxi from downtown to go there and we were announced 4000 kyat and about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the traffic. But it was actually another story to get, there was so much traffic and it took us about one hour to get there.

We asked the driver whether it was normal to have that kind of traffic jams, and he told us it’s like that every day now.

He actually tried to change way on the road when seeing the traffic, but it was actually just postponing the inevitable of being stuck behind another lane of cars slowly moving.

Since it was way longer than expected, we paid the taxi 5000 kyats when we arrived close by Junction square, and just finished our way by on foot.

 

What I saw while arriving there quite surprised me, the mall looks really modern and good. You can judge by yourself with the picture below:

 

Attached File  Junction Square Yangon outside.JPG   94.06KB   2 downloads

Junction square outside view

 

Lot of young people was just waiting outside, which started to bring up our curiosity. As we got inside, the crowd was just bigger, hundreds of people at the entrance of the place seemingly waiting for something to happen.

Our curiosity was at its climax, so we try to look around and go through all of theses people to check what was going on and we finally could get a look at the central place of the mall where a stage was set up, probably for a fashion show. After the stage, there were several rows of chairs, maybe for journalists or important people, since they all had a badge around their neck. Facing the stage was a long table with like 9 or 10 chairs, which look like place for judges.

So we were guessing a model contest maybe.

 

Since most of the chairs were empty, the show was far from being started so we decided to visit the mall before coming down to see the show. Went up to the last floor first which is partly taken by a food place were you can find what look like chain restaurant, like Chewy Junior, Chic & Chill, Neo Coffee & food, J’donuts and so on.

Last floor also features a movie theater with 3 rooms, one of them playing 3D movies, which is “Man of steel” at the moment, the new Superman.

I asked the prices for a Man of steel seat out of curiosity and it is actually very cheap for the show, they have tickets at 2000, 3000 and 3500 kyats, depending how well you are placed in the theater.

Rest of the last floor are shops, most of them being child clothing stores.

 

Attached File  Junction square Yangon food area.JPG   86.32KB   1 downloads Attached File  Junction square Yangon coffe and food.JPG   95.46KB   1 downloads 

Junction Square food court

 

As we go down to the second floor, we see that the crowd is getting bigger downstairs and around the balustrade of each floors.

Second floor is also have some clothing shops with a few booths for snacks. But you also can find a small library where you can buy Burmese or English books, it’s not very extensive, but I guess for Myanmar it was already a good one.

As we go along with our visit of the first floor, we ran into an arcade place, where you can play video games, table hockey games or pick some teddy bears from a machine.

Burmese people, or at least youngsters seem to love music and dance, since at least one third of the video games were to dance, play the guitar or the drums. A group of teenagers was having a lot of fun with the game Dance Central.

 

Attached File  Junction square Yangon arcade.JPG   85.04KB   0 downloads Attached File  Junction square Yangon teenager Dance central.JPG   101.39KB   0 downloads

Junction square Arcade and teenagers dancing

 

Ground floor now, seems that you have more quality brands, as usual in most shopping malls in the world. But here you can’t see Kenzo, Gucci, LVMH and the like yet. It is mainly local brands or Asian brands, but you still have denim shop with Calvin Klein Jeans or DKNY clothing.

Among those shops, are traditional clothing shops, where you can find traditional Burmese dress, fine longyi and other similar products, but also several booths for cosmetic products and women accessories.

You have Mont Blanc or Burberry perfumes for example, SK II from Japan, but also some brands I never heard of, but maybe I’m not interested enough into cosmetics to know about them.

 

While looking around the first floor we saw a poster, confirming that it was a models show, for both men and women, supposed to determined who will be the new face of Myanmar.

In a corridor of the mall, still in the ground floor, we saw most of the models waiting for their show to start, they were quite good looking, but it was certainly new models, maybe stars to become !!!

 

Attached File  Junction square model show.jpg   107.96KB   0 downloads

Junction square model show banner

 

Last but not least, ground floor is also hosting a nice City Mart where you can find your groceries and a very good deal of imported products, such as processed cheese, foreign brands of snacks, wine and liquors and many more.

The small supermarket really looks clean and well arranged, and the quality of products you can find there are pretty appealing, with a nice stand for meat.

At the entrance of the shopping market, you also have the usual pharmacy called City Care, which you find in most of the City Marts around town.

 

Attached File  Junction square Yangon City care.JPG   101.69KB   0 downloads Attached File  Junction square Yangon city mart.JPG   97.48KB   1 downloads Attached File  Junction square Yangon City mart liquor.JPG   96.01KB   0 downloads

Junction square City mart, City care and city mart wine & liquor shop

 

At this moment, we started to hear some screams from the crowd at the entrance, so we thought that the show was starting. But actually it was only the people from the jury arriving one by one, and judging by the noise of the crowd it was probably big Myanmar stars.

Since the crowd was still growing, half of the jury was not here and you almost didn’t have any place to circulate any more around the central area of the mall, we just decided to leave before the show starts. We could have waited some time I guess.

 

Attached File  Junction square Yangon crowd.JPG   95.71KB   1 downloads Attached File  Junction square Yangon stage.jpg   91.1KB   0 downloads

Crowd in Junction Square waiting for model show

 

If you are expecting a big international mall as you are use to see in the West, in Thailand or North East Asia, don’t get fooled, that’s not what you will get. There are not many big international brands and all luxury brands or sports brand you are use to see will not be sold here. But the mall is nice, spacious, clean and recent, so you still can have a good shopping experience, or have a nice time just wandering around with friends or family.


  • TruthTraveller, IngridIngyin, Ros and 1 other like this


#1693 Myanmar's monks draft law banning marriage between a Buddhist and a Muslim

Posted by TruthTraveller on 06 July 2013 - 07:39 AM

I don't interested about the whole story of conflict between Muslin and Non- Muslin.

But this kind of rule is not about Buddha teaching. Buddhism is very democratic religion.

As a true follower of Buddha, as a person who really adore and trying to build his/her life with Buddha teaching, would not interested to blame other religion or person or situation.

 

There is law of Karma (cause and effect) in Buddhism. If a person really believe in law of Karma, there's no reason to blame on an effect for a person which is cause by his/her own cause. All we have to do is to teach the Buddhists about real Buddhism. Besides the teachers also really need to understand what really Buddha taught us. As long as we believe and adore Buddhism deep inside our heart, there's no need to scare or to convince other by force.

 

The essence of Buddhism is, to abandon the ego, selfishness and self centering. After all of this, to obtain the real enlightenment, the real liberation (Nibbana). Since there is no self, no You and no I, there is nothing to fight for a title. Religion, Wealth and Protection race is just a title. In fact people just fighting for their ego. Those kind of things is such a mask of ego.


  • Maibpenrai, Max, IngridIngyin and 1 other like this


#1675 Don't bite the hand that feeds you

Posted by ju ju mint on 05 July 2013 - 12:24 PM

hello max

u're right,max.

this is how reckless stupidity &bigotry!

this is the obvious reason why my country,myanmar ,had lagged behind other countries in asia.

in my opinion,we should handle up all the oppertunities which is comming towards us and we have to try our best in given situation.

we should set aside the personal feelings if we can get the profit and good advantages because we r in developing country or poor country.

we need help from other rich countries.personal feelings r not  as much as important as improving country.

all of us should consider slowly and deeply what shoud we do as a patriot.


  • TS33, Max, johninyangon and 1 other like this


#1581 Download the forms for the Embassy of Myanmar in Bangkok

Posted by Maibpenrai on 03 July 2013 - 09:18 AM

Hello members,

 

If you want to do your visa to go to Myanmar, at the embassy in Bangkok, here are the forms you can download :

 

Application form for Business visa : Attached File  myanmarformbusinessvisa.pdf   415.24KB   201 downloads

 

Application form for Tourist Visa : Attached File  myanmarformtouristvisa1.pdf   358.01KB   181 downloads - Attached File  myanmarformtouristvisa2.pdf   207.72KB   116 downloads

 

 


  • Max, Lucky, lynnthitaungLynnThitAung1 and 1 other like this