Shuttle Bus

Needing to have plans finalised, I become quite tired of waiting for Agoda’s ‘Yangon Airport Pickup’ to display any availability for December dates. I need to settle any uncertainty that Ben & I could arrive at the 30th Corner Boutique Hostel, as per booking, unscathed by airport touts. So I Google other shuttle bus couriers operating out of Yangon International … and find Chit Chit.

I send him an e-mail. His reply is speedy in spite of supposed slower internet speeds throughout Myanmar compared to South Korea, Thailand or Malaysia, or ‘frankly anywhere else on earth,’ as I read on ‘Too many Adapters: Technology for Travelers.’

It reads:

Thank for email
12/19/2015 SQ#998  9:20AM
Airport to Hotel. (2) paxs
$ 5 each. Total. $ 10

Happy New year & welcome to Myanmar.             Rgds Chit Chit

When I query the details regarding name cards or the necessity for phoning on arrival, his confirmation e-mail reads,

Dear Margaret
Your cofim #3366
Sing & name (Ygn arrival Hall )
Thx    chit chit

I take it ‘sing’  is meant to read ‘sign.’

And I take it Chit Chit is used to writing texts.

Apparently the Burmese way of writing Yangon International Airport is : ရန်ကုန်အပြည်ပြည်ဆိုင်ရာလေဆိပ်. Apparently upgrades are being undertaken on site and are expected to be finished end of 2015.  Perhaps we’ll be the first flight to enter into the new terminal designed to boost the arrival capacity to 6 million passengers annually.

The journey from the airport to downtown Yangon where we’re staying, is 15 kms. Knowing Agoda’s rates were quoted as being quite a bit higher for the ‘trip,’ I believe we secured a definite bargain, at $5 per customer. I guess time and circumstances will tell if we’ve made the right choice.imageedit_6_2635130353-239x133Yangon-Airport-Shuttle-Logo1-300x96

Pathways through Burma

Benji tells all

I can remember my first time I toured South East Asia so vividly, the sounds, smells and sights were so overpowering,

it smacked me in the face like a punch from a black belt in karate. The markets were a throng of activity I had never experienced before .and the traffic likewise. My first time through Vietnam and then Cambodia bombarded my senses, nothing prepared my for what was to come.

Such lovely people bargained relentlessly ans incessantly and most of the time I got what I wanted, although most items were so cheap it wasn’t worth bargaining…….just pay up in US dollar and make sure you get your maths right as the vendors reach for the calculator.

Time is ticking down as I plan a trip through Burma ( Myanmar ). Not knowing what to look for there in an air of mystery and intrigue yet unravelled by previous…

View original post 114 more words

a close up of the road….

My son’s taken to blogging as well …

Benji tells all

motorbike

Cruising through the streets of Lismore has never been so ‘cool’.

I’m getting well acquainted with the slow innuendo of the bumpy tarmac and curvaceous round- abouts.

The best thing I have done for myself is buy a motor scooter, they are a joy to ride and are very cheap on fuel.

As a child I loved to ride my BMX  along gravel roads, it was the only mode of transport available……unless you wanted to walk. The same can be said about modern times.

Although it took me a while to earn my licence, including having to ride to Wollongbar,a few too many times to acquire my P plates, It’s almost embarrassing but after trying about 4 times i finally got there. Riding home with a wide grin on my face…..finally i got there!

piaggio

Mainly I used my moto at first to go to TAFE twice a week plus to…

View original post 115 more words

Myanmar is only a few footsteps away

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‘Here’s my last instalment for our Intrepid trip,’ says my son to the Travel agent at Escape Travel before offering a smile of accomplishment.

Just last week I was ahead on the payment stakes. Now I’m sitting on a little padded stool feeling a little underdone; as the traveler with a further grand to pay before my butt has a fully-secured place on both tours.

When beginning negotiations back in March it seemed like a whole pregnancy needed to blossom towards birth before we boarded our first plane out of Brisbane International headed for Yangon via a short airport stop-off at Singapore. Now it feels like we’ve felt the first of our Braxton Hicks contractions.

Perhaps it might eventually feel like we’ve engaged in the long-awaited, final pre-delivery check-up with the gynaecologist when our passports are delivered to the Myanmar Embassy in Canberra; for the payment & official stamping of our tourist visas.

Yet I’ve already given some thought to the packing of that important suitcase. I’ve bought sufficient Earplanes to cover all our flights. And checked out the continuing potency of past injections; even consulted a range of medical professionals about the necessity for antimalarial medications.

‘I’m allergic to doxycycline,’ I say. ‘After telling my doctor I wanted to use it again on a second trip to Vietnam/ Cambodia, I broke out in hives.’

‘Of course Malarone is not covered by the PBS. It’s considered if you can afford to travel, then you can afford the pills to keep you well enough to enjoy the trip,’ says the local pharmacist.

But apart from the expense, the side effects seem numerous & potentially horrendous. Including the onset of psychosis in vulnerable patients. So I will probably opt to cover up (dress modestly) and use bug spray; or else at least stand beside those who spray around DEET products at sunset!

One thing of concern for us now is the present declining value of the Aussie dollar; or specifically our capacity to purchase sufficient American greenbacks over the coming months to plump out our bumbags & travel wallets. We’ve purchased a fair amount between us so far but it’s constantly stated ‘Burma is no longer one of Southeast Asia’s cheap destinations.’ Particularly in Bagan. So there’s the deep concern we haven’t quite got enough to splurge on any ‘add-on’ tours, or to dole out to our travel guides as gratuities.

Yet I read today some comforting news

(at <http://www.lonelyplanet.com/asia/travel-tips-and-articles/77689&gt;):

In January 2013, KBZ and CB banks opened international ATMs throughout Burma. These accept both Visa and Mastercard, and charge a fee of 5000 kyat. The ATMs are a real game-changer for travellers, as it means they no longer have to carry thousands of pristine US dollars into the country to change, or budget their cash load for the entire trip. Western Union also began accepting international funds transfers in January 2013.

 

That’s quite a considerable relief.

As is the fact we’re not travelling through difficult areas … along the borders with Thailand, China and Laos, where clashes between the military and armed groups have occurred; where there is ethnic conflict, banditry and the possibility of coming into contact with unmarked landmines, most pointedly in the Kachin and Shan states; from where tens of thousands of civilians have been displaced internally and to neighbouring countries.

 

Of more import to us as guided Intrepid travellers I guess is that we remember:

  • money is handed over and received with the right hand, while the left hand loosely supports the right arm
  • not to expose our shoulders or knees (as is the cultural practice);
  • to remain guarded in political conversations
  • to smile
  • to use as many Burmese words we learn
  • to buy & consume only bottled water
  • to refrain from touching, because I’m a woman, the golden rock at Mount Kyaiktiyo (even if I’m feeling a little unsteady on my feet, from vertigo)
  • to keep feet firmly on the ground rather than pointed at anything or anyone; though particularly in respect of buddhas & monks

 

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