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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Wedding in Yangon!

I went to Yangon, Myanmar (used to be called Burma) with Le bf in 2012 to attend our classmate, Le Yee's wedding. She is from Myanmar and she came to Singapore to study. Now she's moved back home and is doing business with her husband.

The trip was way back from 30 June - 03 July 2012! Heh!

In case you don't know, Brendan and I met in SIM while we were studying for Diploma in Management Studies. It is a useless diploma designed to cheat people's money IMHO.. but the good thing that came out of it is I met my future husband there! :D

I still have A LOT of backlogged travel blog entries. Unlike many other people who are super excited to blog about their holiday trips, sometimes dragging out a few entries for a short holiday, I am super lazy to blog about my holiday trips. I don't know why, I just am. I blog about mundane stuff but not the interesting travel posts... Maybe I am just unwilling to do so cos I don't want to relive the whole holiday and feel sad cos I am in Singapore and not out there somewhere? Haha! 


We flew on Myanmar Airways cos the timing for Silkair was quite weird last year. Now there's more choices for flights to Yangon cos the country has "opened up" to the outside world. Lots of things has changed in the past year.

Arrived at the airport and there were two distinct queues for foreigners and locals. Guess which queue is longer? The local queue was CRAZY LONG! The foreigner queue had a grand total of 5 people including Le bf and me. 5!!!! The local queue was so long it stretched from the escalator to the immigration counter (quite a long stretch), but there were 2 officers serving 5 foreigners. Kua kua kua.

But anyway, before we flew there we had to go apply for a visa. I can't remember how much we paid.. I think it was around SGD60 per person. We had to go to a dodgy travel agency in Peninsula Plaza to do the visa application. I was so afraid they will close down and run away with our passports... LOL! Now you can do arrival visa if you fly there, an option that was not available last year. (See how backdated this is? Haha!)

Le Yee's friend came to the airport to pick us up! She was holding a small hand written sign with our names but we couldn't see her cos the airport was packed! Luckily we managed to call Le Yee and she asked her to go meet us at the main entrance.

The taxis are super duper dodgy to the max in Yangon. Like seriously dodgy!! Thank God we were ferried in an Alphard on the first day and most of our stay. We had to take the cab a few times when Le Yee was busy and I was so traumatized.

I forgot why Le bf looks grumpy here. Haha!

I think it's wonderful to have friends all over the world....! When we flew there to visit, we get to experience the place as a local with the option to do touristy stuff if we want to. Go to nice yummy places and most importantly feel safe because we have a local bringing us around. ^_^ So far we have Le Yee in Yangon, William in Penang and Tabby in Perth. Le bf has friends and clients in other parts of the world so we can explore them next time!!

Local currency

The exchange rate is super erratic, but it's around SGD1 = 700MMK. You get 700 kyats for every 1 Singapore dollar, subject to fluctuations. It's like playing with paper money cos the value is so small.. We brought USD there and changed USD50 into kyats so we can use that for taxis or small purchases if needed.

After 20mins drive, we arrived at our hotel. Le Yee got married at Sedona Hotel so that's where we stayed for 3 nights. You won't believe how expensive the hotels are in Myanmar.. the cheap ones are so fucking dodgy.. a seasoned backpaper will think twice about staying there. There are very few luxury five stars hotels there as the country was "closed up" and not much tourists visit. There are many luxury hotel chains that began building their hotels while we were there.. I think they should be completed by now.. So you will have more choices now. Hopefully the rates went down due to competition.

Our 3 nights stay came up to USD700++ and that was after I got a discount as a travel agent staff! That's almost SGD300 per night! It is more than a normal person's one month salary!! And it's a super plain and simple hotel, though by local standards it's considered ultra luxurious.

We got a corner unit, so it was larger than the normal rooms. :)

Everytime we travel, the moment we put down our luggage, Le bf will start unpacking his techie stuff. He will lay out the wires, chargers, set up the wireless router thingy so we can have a few device tapping into the wifi network.. At the end of the trip he will also pack all the techie stuff up nicely. I love it cos I usually just dump the wires in a bag and have a hard time trying to access the wifi network and stuff.. Now all I need to do is wait for a few minutes and everything is up and running! :)

Complimentary flowers and fruits to welcome us!

Amenities in the bathroom..

Picture time while waiting for the car. 
The bride, Le Yee is the girl in the middle.

She brought us to the food street and kept buying food for us. Non stop. Buy and buy and buy and buy, and afterwards brought us to have Prata for dinner!! She stopped at almost every stall to buy a small packet to pass around so we can share and have a taste of local food. The food is similar to Thailand's.. There's also Satay, sweet cakes, fried stuff, etc.

There was a total of 8 of us that night.. all of them are our SIM classmates. Actually they are Le bf's friends cos I was a loner back in school. Long story. Haha!

After the sinful but yummy dinner & snacking, she brought us to "the only tourist attraction in Yangon". Well, I believe there should be more attractions now.. but last year we really didn't have much choices.

This is the entrance to the famous Pagoda!

Le Yee said the country's wealth is displayed publicly for all to see at the Pagoda.. all the jewels, gold, diamonds, precious stones are stored here.. and the tip of the Pagoda is a large diamond or something.

We had to remove our shoes to go in.. Since it's troublesome to carry and we can't leave it outside in case someone steals them, we left our shoes in the car.

We walked one round around the Pagoda.. the compound is HUGE!

It's a pretty place to take pictures at night cos the lighting is very good. :)

Gong Gong.. So that's Day 1 of our trip in Yangon! 

Actually, Le Yee's wedding was split into 2 days. The first day was on 30th June for business clients, government officials (her dad is a government officer) and second day on 31st June for her friends and relatives.. Due to miscommunication cos Le bf can be so blur sometimes, he thought it was wedding dinner for 2 days but it's actually wedding breakfast! Yes, the event was from 9am-11am and we flew in on the first day thinking it was dinner but ended up missing it cos we arrived too late. So we only attended the 2nd day's wedding.. which was a waste because the 1st day was the traditional one and the 2nd day was the more modern one. Le bf kept apologizing about his boo-boo... silly boy.

On the 2nd day, we woke up really early to see the wedding preparations! It's like some drama production cos there were teams of hair stylists, makeup artists and SO MANY PEOPLE around!

The theme is silver! Previous day was gold (too bad we missed it!).  Since it's a morning wedding ceremony, we had plenty of time to explore the city before the small family dinner with the bride and groom at night.

Chio hair must take selfie!

Nothing much at the malls and markets.. I mean, we have everything and more in Singapore. Myanmar is just starting to open up to the world so there's a lot of things that are not available there. Lay Yee told us that only recently did they had Coca Cola in the country and people went crazy over it. There's no fast food like Mcdonalds or big international hotel chains, but I guess that will all change really soon cos a lot of businesses will be rushing to invest and set up shop there now.

The dinner was awesome! We went to this seafood restaurant and had local cuisine. I really don't know the name of all the dishes, heck I didn't know what some of them were.. Hahahaha! Le bf was the adventurous one trying everything.

Next day we went for breakfast at a local cafe! There have wifi! WOOO!

10,000 Kyats is approximately SGD10.00
Lay Yee said it's big money there.

Then the 3 of us went to a cafe for coffee! The rest of the Singaporeans left cos they stayed for 2 nights (the correct 2 nights to attend both weddings. LE BF SOTONG!). Lay Yee's husband was busy so she brought us around. We sat for hours at this quaint cafe cos she wants to know all about our love story. Hahahahaha! She is curious how we became a couple since we were all classmates.

Afterwards we went to this local eatery for more local food! It looks so pretty and some of the items were really foreign to me.. Really good experience and I am glad to have the chance to catch up with Lay Yee cos I was a loner in school last time. Le bf was the one with all the friends. Hahahaha.

Ordered room service for dinner cos we didn't dare to wander around outside by ourselves.

The airport is newly renovated and it's really pretty. Not much shops and restaurants around but I guess that will change in a few years time.. Haha!

Everyone has to fill up a departure card

By the way, Singaporeans need a visa to visit Myanmar. We had to apply a few weeks before departure. They will paste a sticker in your passport. Now you can do a visa on arrival so it's not so troublesome.

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