"Some of the Loveliest People in all of Asia" Top 5 Page for this destination Rangoon by cochinjew

Rangoon Travel Guide: 543 reviews and 1,378 photos

Nostalgia for Yangon and welcome to the New Myanma

1 may 2011 I am writing this using wi fi from Cafe 365 right near Thamada Hotel where I am staying.
the fact that wi fi is so freely available when it was just a fantasy few months ago, confirms what I have observed to be a great change since the release of the Lady and the elections, however sham it may have been
Definitely more personal freedom
More westernization which I am not sure is bad or good but at least the women who run the economy of this country are now free to do what they want to some extent
young people seem to have a newly found self esteem which is welcoming.
there is plenty more money than before and every thing is more expensive than before so Myanmar is no longer the inexpensive destination it used to .
Yesterday i was taken to dinner by a Bamar friend and she paid the 25 dollar tab for the dinner, something unimaginable a few years ago.
all for the better and welcome to the New Myanmar
14 august 2010 leaving Yangon and my extraordinary experiences in this land of wonderful people is chronicled at my blog ..
I had an incredibly magical experience during my recent trip to Yangon and which i have chronicled at
http://www.medicoanthropologist.blogspot.com/ Hope you enjoy it..
13 May 2009 I have just come back from a few days of Intense Emotions in Rangoon.. More than ever I am convinced of the good nature of the Burmese People.. (eventhough did meet some selfish burmese, but they were few and far between)..
It also coincided with the publication of TO MYANMAR WITH LOVE A TRAVEL GUIDE FOR THE CONNOISSEUR.. The publication includes articles by VT members.. I recommend this style of guide book in which veteran travellers are writing about their experience, rather than a single traveller writing about eating places so that all LP trotting tourists go to that particular restaurant or guest house or attraction. The book is not intended for any class of budget, just it is the collected experience of many inveterate travellers...
VT member from BKK, a staunch lover of Burma, is to congratulated for bringing together so many lovers of Burma..
I stayed at Yuzana Garden Hotel, ate at House of Memories (in memory of my father), visited the tomb of the last Mughal.. met three outstanding people Eric, Dr Chanda and Win Htay..
For the last couple of months I have wracked by a nostalgia for Yangon. Today I went and got a visa for Myanmar at the Burmese Embassy in Paris.
While I admit it is a long trip, Air France to Singapore and JetstarAsia to Yangon (leave CDG Monday 2300 arrive Yangon Wednesday 1030 ), I just have to go, I will spend only four days in Myanmar, all the four in Yangon. I may go back to my old haunt, Yuzana Gardens Hotel. Dinners and outings with friends are already planned: the first evening of course to Schwedagon, after buying a nice longyi and pair of slippers, invited to dinner at a place called FEEL which I dont know about, visits to the printer who makes special glossy business cards for me with pictures of myanmar, to my little sweeties at the indian shop in indian town, to the synagogue for friday evening to say hello to samuel, vasu the watch repairman, yangon river and on and on.. hope to meet some new people as usual this time, and renew some acquaintances. Glad to be able to go. Also would like to eat at Green Elephant and Sandys.
Setting up a free clinic at a Monastery is underlying purpose of this visit.

Since my first visit in March 2003, i have been here altogether ten times and have visited many parts of the country but I do spend a fair bit of time in Yangon. I am getting used to the place. Eithwe who owns the travel agency that arranges everything for me, helps me with everything, taxis, meals, visits and purchases. I am convinced that Burmese are the nicest people in all of Asia.. perhaps others were too like this before.
the following was written after my first visit:

Flying into Yangon

From Stan Sesser' Book: The Lands of Charm and Cruelty
Given the situation in Burma today, it is hard to believe that Rangoon once stoodout as a hub of manufacturing, trading and transportation in Southern Asia. "Rangoon is known for its excellent airport, where three major lines converge", National Geographic reported in 1939. "So many around the world aviators and air minded travellers come this way that it has been predicted that Rangoon will become to the air lanes what Singapore is to sea lanes- a crossroads of the East. In 1952, ex Supreme court Justice of USA, William O. Douglas wrote, Burma is today one of the few bright spots in all of Asia..If Burma has freedom from attack, she will show feudal Asia an alternative to Communism". From the British period until th eearly 1960s. Rangoon was the place to go to escape from the backwaters of Bangkok and singapore. It had the best bookstores in southern Asia, wonderful food and entertainment and all the Western magazines.
I recommend this book for travellers to Southeeast Asia..

Unfortunately the above predictions were not to be realized. In 1962, military governement was installed by General Ne Win ( who just recently died at the age of 90+) and the country which was jewel inthe crown, a net exporter has sunk to one of the least developed nations ( according to UN ) in the planet. There are no industries, very little export ( except cutting down forest, opium and precious stones: all strictly controlled by military and their cronies )
You can fly into Yangon now from : Kolkota, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, New Delhi, Dhaka and the best connections are from Bangkok (three to four times a day). Lauda air used to fly from Rurope. Qatar airways has a nonstop from Doha. Jetstar Asia, Silk Air both fly from Singapore.
They are building a new international arrivals terminal in 2005. It is open but still incomplete. The arrival and departure, immigration and customs are rather painliess affairs. I always get Visa on Arrival arranged by Eithwe so it is really a breeze..
I left Yangon one week ago but cannot erase from my mind, the multitudes of images and the kind people that we met on this trip through Burma/Myanmar. Apart from a pre arranged meeting, during 18 days did not meet a single foreigner ( perhaps it is an indication of a good trip !), eventhough saw a few with their nose down on their travel guides...
Going to restaurants recommended by the guides you will meet other people with the guide books. also you miss out on a chance to interact with some Burmese people.
WITHOUT DOUBT THE BURMESE/MYANMA PEOPLE ARE THE NICEST OF ANYONE AS A GROUP ANYWHERE IN ASIA!
Please visit if you can and be kind to them.

The Jewish Connection

This synagogue is of historic interest, not as beautiful as the ones in Kerala, India, especially the one in Cochin ( I am biased of course).
Jews of Yangon of whom about 20 souls survive are of Iraqi origin. These migrant jews, who during the colonial times associated themselves with the colonisers ( as did the anglo indians in india, burghers in ceylon, eurasians in malaya etc ) and considered themselves superior, not only above the native people and also the native jews. They were prominent in places like Bombay, Kolkata, Yangon and HongKong. and Singapore. Most of them have migrated to Israel, UK, Canada, Australia and USA. Until 1952, this superior attitude persisted, and through the chief sefardic rabbi in israel Nissim ( of iraqi origin), many of the asian jews were excluded from the faith. Paradoxically enough, the asian jews are now well integrated into the israeli way of life and more successful than their asian iraqi immigrant jews.
Prominent Asian Jews have included: David Marshall the first prime minister of Singapore, the family Sasoon from which the hair products are now derived!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Gentle, kind and sincere people, the best in all of Asia
  • Cons:Ellos tienen todos, nosotros tenemos nada.. comandante carlos
  • In a nutshell:Do not bring the local people any more trouble than they already have
  • Last visit to Rangoon: Apr 2011
  • Intro Updated Apr 30, 2011
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