FOR THOSE going through the arduous task of apartment hunting in Yangon, take some solace from the fact that the entire exercise is a damn sight easier today than it was a few years ago.
Shortly after arriving in Myanmar in 2012, I set out on a hunt to find my own place in the city. My criteria was simple – cheap and clean. But meeting even those basic benchmarks was far harder than I had imagined.
One experience in particular stands out. After weeks of disappointment, an agent assured me that he’d found the perfect place in a quiet lane to the west of Inya Lake.
After weaving through countless alleyways, we finally came to the street in question. At the end stood a dilapidated timber house painted bright purple. One of the windows was smashed and the roof was missing half of its tiles.
“Very good for you,” insisted the agent. I’m not sure what he thought of me, but it couldn’t have been good.
Reaching the front door, he fiddled with the lock for a few moments before giving up and delivering a swift boot (more specifically, a flip-flop) to force it open.
The house was dingy and there were piles of dust and filth in the corner. On the way to the kitchen, which was stacked high with the previous tenant’s filthy plates, I stepped over three dead cockroaches.
When I opened the bathroom door I was greeted by the stench of stale urine. I tested the shower: the showerhead reluctantly gave up a dribble of brown liquid.
I turned to the agent and asked, just for my own amusement, how much.
“US$1,000 a month.”
I’m pleased to say I didn’t take the place and managed to find somewhere that fitted my criteria.
Luckily the situation has improved in recent years and there are more apartments of a reasonable standard available. As supply gradually catches up with demand, prices are becoming more reasonable.
Still, for those that have to go through the process, Frontier has a few little pointers that might help to avoid — or at least blunt — the inevitable pain.
Read more at http://frontiermyanm...guide-to-yangon