Weekend in Myanmar (Burma) with kids

Myanmar headlined my 2013 bucket list.  Sadly, my visit remains imaginary as to visit Bagan, Inle Lake, and Yangon, it would warrant at least a week’s trip.  One idea though (if you’re living in Asia) could be to do a long weekend in Myanmar’s capital, Yangon.  Here Sherry shares a recent trip she took with her two little ones in tow.

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Who: Sherry, husband, two kids (3yo and 9 mths)
Where: Yangon, Myanmar

Dragonair have just started a new direct service in February (HKG – Yangon).  Previously the best other option to get to Burma was through Bangkok.  Service was OK.  we were the only passengers with children – there and back.  This gives you an idea of how popular a destination it is for children!  There is only one flight time with Dragonair and it can be very tough:

Outbound Hong Kong to Yangon – 21:45 departure (then it was delayed 40 mins).  We arrived 12ish midnight arrival and had the slowest, most junior immigration officer.  We managed to get the girls to bed around 04:30am HK time (3am local time)

Return Yangon to Hong Kong – 01:00 departure (baby fell asleep in Ergo around 10:30pm and big sister on dad’s shoulder around midnight).  Arrived 05:00 and returned home in Hong Kong 06:00 where we slept until 10am

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Very difficult to book.  Burma is really developing rapidly and they don’t have enough hotels to accommodate all the new business and leisure travellers.  

We tried Traders as well as Chatrium (we have stayed in both in previous visits years ago, both very good) but were fully booked.  If we go again, we will consider Inya Lake (nice outdoor pool & spa – locals used it as a private club) as well as Kandawgyi Palace (situated on/next to Kandawgyi Park, a lovely place to stroll).

We ended up being invited to stay at a friend’s guest home (they have a second house just for their many business and family guests that visit).  They also drove us around for the whole visit, very fortunate indeed!

Getting Around
Taxis are much easier to catch now, as opposed to nine years ago when we were there last for our wedding.  The vehicles on the roads are mostly new now – not as smoggy or filled with black exhaust like Bangkok – as the government has relaxed its hand on car licenses and imports.  It is also possible to arrange a full-time driver for your visit (can contact a travel agent to arrange for you) – saves you from waiting around for a lift and melting in the sun.

The FEC (Foreign Exchange Currency) is now being phased out.  No need to exchange into this currency.  The local currency is KYAT (pronounced jat) and the easy exchange rate is roughly 1USD = 850KYT.  But for easy/quick calculation, I just use 800 – easier math!  Denominations are mostly 1000s or 5000s so make sure to bring an easy to access money pouch with you as you will be carrying around a stack of cash.  Suggest changing money at airport.  Bring USD around with you too.  There aren’t many ATMs around – and even so, you may not be able to use them!

I personaly love Burmese food.  It is where Thai, Chinese, Indian, Laos, Yunnan food meet.  It is heavier than Thai, lighter than Indian.  Fave places to eat: Green Elephant (highchairs), Happy Noodle, Pomelo (highchairs) and the Strand Hotel.  Not exactly baby friendly for kiddies but there’s always fried rice.  

Things to do
Shwedagon Pagoda – best to go just before sunset
Bogyoke Aung San Market (formerly named Scott’s market)

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Yangon is not baby/kiddie oriented – only saw one playground near the Kandawgyi Park (but didn’t look fun)

It is VERY hot in Burma, even in February so you MUST bring a hat, wear lots of sunscreen and if possible, find indoor things to do during the daytime.

Check out: http://www.exotissimo.com/travel/myanmar/daytrips/sort-Yangon/

The people are very friendly and helpful.  Very much like Thailand.  Level of English is good (all things considering!)

1 comment

  1. mightytravels

    Wow – I went to Burma in 2012 but with kids it must be hard. Just remember teh heat to be exhilarating!

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