The plan for our second day is to make our way to Keelung and explore Keelung. We woke up not too early, packed, and had complimentary breakfast from our hotel Long Men Ke Zhan. Again, we had great view for our breakfast, the view of Jiufen and the sea. Breakfast was great. We then checked out and walked to Jiufen Old Street bus stop to take bus to Keelung. Read More
Taipei and Jiufen – Badouzi, Buyanting, Gold Waterfall, Shuinandong / Yin Yang Sea, Gold Museum (Jinguashi), Jiufen Old Street
We landed at Taoyuan Airport early in the morning, at 6.00 AM. Our original plan was to get to the city of Jiufen by public transport and explore the city for the whole day. However we had a twist of plan because a friend of us offered to pick us up from airport and drive us to Jiufen. Taoyuan airport has a strong public wifi, hence we were able to get online to contact our friend, Ab. Read More
Days leading to the trip:
Booked a plane ticket 5 months in advance during promotion period
Researched 1 month in advance of the trip
Booked hotels 1 week in advance (LOL) Read More
We arrived in Yangon around 6.30 am and our driver hasn’t arrived yet by that time. So we went into JJ express office and waited on the bench. At 6,45am our driver came and drove us to our first destination, Lucky Seven Restaurant for breakfast. The restaurant was very crowded and there were plenty of tourists.
After fully recharged with energy, we went to Shwedagon temple, finally. Entrance was USD 8 for foreigners. It was a huge compound. Unfortunately, there was some restoration going on, therefore the big pagoda was covered with scaffolds, but the shape is still very visible. There was a smaller golden pagoda that was restricted to foreigner, and we felt very disappointed with this discrimination. Read More
We arrived at Nyaung Shwe at 5.50am. The bus dropped us at Nyaung Shwe, where we can walk directly to Inle Lake. At first we thought that the bus will drop us at Shwe Nyaung junction, and we had to do transfer by car to Nyaung Shwe, fortunately our driver in Mandalay helped us check with JJ express staff and told us that we will arrive directly at Nyaung Shwe town near Inle. Read More
It was one ambitious day of squeezing so many places in a day. We had breakfast at hotel, and checked out at 8.30am. Our first stop of the day was longyi workshop in Amarapura. All these times, I never understand how weaving machine works. Upon observation in this workshop, I finally got some basic idea how the machine works and how the pattern is formed. Weaving is a hard work. Read More
It was the worse overnight bus we took in Myanmar. My friend almost vomit, and I was cursing about the loud yell every time the bus stop at any drop off point. We arrived in Mandalay bus station at 2am. Upon arriving, there are many shouting in local language, I’m not sure if it’s some arguments, or they are just trying to get attention of bus passengers. And it was very dark and dirty at the bus station.
What makes the whole thing worst is our terrible driver. He was not there when we arrived, we called him and the phone was off. Eventually we called our travel agent in Yangon, and he made some calls, and told us to wait a while. So we sat down in a rundown coffee shop until he showed up at 2.45am. Then we went to hotel to check in and rest til morning. Read More
We began our day by breakfast at Black Rose restaurant, the same place that we had our dinner the night before. The breakfast was complimentary from our hotel. Despite bad experience the night before. the breakfast serving was considered prompt, perhaps because we were the only group there. The breakfast portion was not bad.
After breakfast, at 9am, our driver was ready at the hotel reception. And we set off to Mount Popa. The whole journey takes probably around 1 hour or more. Our nice guide brought us to some small temple for toilet break where we snapped some photos of Mount Popa monastery from far. Read More
The bus journey took almost 10 hours. We arrived at Bagan bus station almost 6am. Our driver was ready with a paper of my name. He was a nice guy, very friendly, very polite, very warm, and spoke little English. We requested him to bring us to a place where we can go to toilet, he drove us to a guesthouse and let us use the toilet for free. My friend even took shower there lol. From guest house, we officially started our Bagan sightseeing journey. We were told to pay USD 15 as entrance fee to visit Bagan and Mount Popa, the ticket is valid for 5 days.
Our first stop of temple was Shwezigon Pagoda, it was a mini-sized Shwedagon pagoda. Since it was early in the morning, the temple was very quiet and the weather was not too hot yet. It was the best time to visit a pagoda. After Shwezigon, we visitied Htilominlo Pagoda. It was a brickstone temple with detailed carvings. Read More
Relief was overflowing as we landed on this golden land. Perhaps it was the worry and stress that have built up during the planning stage. Or perhaps it’s the visa issue.
We spent few weeks going back and forth discussing whether we should take customised tour from travel agent, or to do DIY trip that involves heavy detailed planning of places to visit and how to navigate. The former would be expensive but convenient, while the latter is super cheap but extremely inconvenient. Eventually we settled on renting car & driver for sightseeing during the day, and overnight buses for travelling between cities. Thus the cost incurred and the convenience level is at medium range. Read More