Burma 4 Shwedagon Paya & Yangon

P1120390 We rode in specifically to visit the Golden Pagoda
A fairly lazy start to the day and finally we rode in towards the city through the very busy traffic

Yangon Traffic no Motorbikes!
All two wheeled vehicles are banned in central Yangon (Rangoon) and theoretically that includes bicycles but that is not enforced. Motorbikes however are no where to be seen. (we spotted 3 in our 5 days). Over the last year or 2 cars have become much much cheaper and so numbers have increased while the road system has no way to cope. It is not uncommon to take an hour or even two to get the 10 kilometres from where we were staying to the city by taxi. So although the traffic was often stopped we could continue on our bike with no real problems. No motorbikes has pluses and minuses. On the positive the space between cars is available for us on our bike with no iso of a motorbike racing up. On the negative cars are unaccustomed to bike, motor or otherwise and so change lanes or close up gaps between cars or the kerb, not expecting anyone to be there.

The Shwedagon Paya
This is the most sacred Buddhist site in all Burma and the main stupa is about 100m high and an impressive gold structure. It is surrounded by doves of other buddhist shrines and smaller stupas making it a very impressive site.

Eating at a roadside stall:
After our visit to the Shwedagon Paya we proceeded into the centre of Yangon hoping to change money but it was after 4pm and the bank exchange offices had closed. The bank rate was 840 kyat to US$1 and we were offered up to 880 on the street but as we wanted to change US$1000 so that would involve 168 notes as the largest note is 5,000 kyat we decided that would be unwise. (the smallest we have seen is 10 kyat or just a bit more than one cent). We were both hungry and so we pulled up at a small street stall with plastic stools and inspected the food. The vendor at the next cart spoke a little englist and he suggested a mixed plate of fried vegies. It was delicious at at less than $1 (700 kyat) was great value. It had been 10 times that amount for a meal in the Sakura tower a few days earlier (which did include a view from the 20th floor and fancy extras.)