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Last Day in Yangon – Shwedagon Pagoda, Relaxing Day

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

Visiting Inle Lake, Myanmar

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

Amarapura, Mingun, Sagaing, U Bein Bridge, Mandalay

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

Mandalay Sightseeing: Maha Muni, Royal Palace, Golden Palace Monastery, Largest Book, Mandalay Hill

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

Mount Popa and Bagan Sightseeing

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

Bagan: Temples and Sunset

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

Yangon Sightseeing

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

8 days Myanmar Trip Overview (21 – 28 October 2014) – Itinerary and Cost

This is how the trip was initiated.

I’ve been curious about this country for some time, but the flights from Singapore aren’t that affordable. One fine afternoon, I was browsing around jetstar website since they have promotion and bookings must be done on that day before 6pm. And I spotted sg-ygn-sg return flight for the price of SGD 95 only! That is ridiculously cheap. I called up my friends and told them they need to decide RIGHT NOW. And there we go, booking successfully made within few hours.

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From Kyoto to Tokyo, Tokyo to Kuala Lumpur, Then Back Home

Since it was our last day in Japan, we decided to sleep more. We had late breakfast and followed by checking out. Then we took bus to Kinkakuji temple. However there was no direct bus, we had to change many buses, and the waiting time for bus was too long, and there was a lot of traffic on that day. So, 5 stops before Kinkakuji, I decided to make a turn back because I calculated the remaining time and felt that we didn’t have time to visit the temple anymore. So we took bus to Shijo Kawaramachi and had lunch there. After lunch, we went back to hotel to get our luggage. We then took bus to Kyoto Station to catch our 2.59 pm shinkansen train to Tokyo. We arrived at the platform 1 hour earlier, so we just sit on the bench and waited for our train. It was almost 4 hour journey to Tokyo. We alighted at Shinagawa station instead of Tokyo station because the ticket allowed us to alight at either Shinagawa or Tokyo station. I chose to alight at Shinagawa because it’s closer to airport and we could take Keikyu Line that goes direct to Haneda airport. Even though it’s direct, it’s still a long way to reach airport. Read More

Missed Gion Matsuri Festival, Ginkakuji Temple, Path of Philosophy, Nanzenji Temple, Fushimi Inari Shrine Kyoto

I was fully aware that 24 July is the day for Gion Matsuri Festival. However, I was not aware at all of the timing. I read from Japan Guide under main events, that the exciting part is happening on 18.00-23.00 when the streets are closed for traffic. I immediately assume that the Festival is happening on that time. And the next paragraph said the procession happens on 9.00-11.30, so I misunderstood it by thinking that the procession is at 9.00 at night! They need to revise the wordings in the website!! Read More