Day 18 – Exploring Yangon

It’s the weekend.  Time to explore the many sights of Yangon.  Colonial architecture and restoration efforts, the much heralded Shweddagan Pagoda, Yangon’s lakes and parks.  I will delve here not, for this is a cycling blog.

What I will say is that it takes a brave sole to cycle the streets of Yangon.  Whilst renting a bike (or indeed bringing your own) is a great way to see this sprawling city, the traffic is dense, harsh and unforgiving.  With few cyclists and no motorbikes, us 2 wheeled folk are low in priority.  My advice is to go for it, however, to do so with real caution.  Cars here are renowned for pulling out without looking.  And many are right hand drive on the right hand side of the road.  Go with the flow of traffic and give plenty of space to turning vehicles.

A final word on the Shwaddegon…

Whilst an awesome sight, there are many alternatives to explore should you wish to avoid the 10,000 kyat fee.  The charge almost certainly funds the good, bad and ugly of Myanmar’s dichotomous militaristic / democratic rule.

Rather than avoiding the experience altogether, I asked a departing tourist for a ticket (valid one day only), then upon exit waited for another to gift the ticket to, reducing the ticket value by at least 2/3rds.

My take on this wonderful country is that the Myanmar people cannot be held to account for the actions of a complex power, hindered by dated, protectionist and insular thinking.  Change is fast here and freedoms are growing.  However, the atrocities of a military blind to the equitable treatment of minorities should not denigrate the welfare of this largely safe and peaceful nation.

[man leaves soap box]

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