Taking a trip back in time…
Or that’s how it felt at least. We’ve taken full advantage of speaking English and getting around by public transport for a good four months now, since we left South America actually. Not for much longer though!
Day 258 – Saturday 4th February 2017
We didn’t have to check out of our hostel until midday this morning so treated ourselves to a bit of a lay in and then took an Uber straight to the airport instead of hanging around. You’ll have noticed that we’ve used Uber loads in Malaysia, but when the difference in cost between a ten minute taxi or a half hour train is as little as 20p each you can’t really blame us.
Kuala Lumpur airport was nice and had decent Wi-Fi throughout, so the three hour wait didn’t seem like long at all – waiting for planes is something that we’re completely used to now. We did have to pay an additional £12 for a checked bag each and an in flight meal, but that wasn’t the end of the world. By the time we’d taken off it was nearly 18:00 and although neither of us had particularly high hopes for the food, we definitely expected more than a sausage roll and cup of water!
We landed in Yangon at 18:20 and got chatting to a French guy called Jim who happened to be booked in to the same hostel as us, so shared a taxi with him to keep costs down. It took about forty minutes to get there and despite the fact that our driver couldn’t speak a word of English, he still done his best to point out landmarks along the way.
I was fascinated. Street lighting was pretty much nonexistent and road markings (which we’re also scarce) were completely ignored by everyone. It wasn’t uncommon to see up to four people on a single motorbike, around thirty people packed into the back of a chassis van, or the odd person hanging off the side of bus. Also it was clear to see that the English language is being very gradually embraced by Myanmar, with words like ‘fun’ and ‘super’ used far too often, usually in brightly coloured neon lights outside bars or hotels.
Upon arrival at our hostel we went straight for dinner, accompanied by Jim again, only to find that Jim’s name isn’t actually Jim, he just tells people that he is called Jim because Jim is easier than his real name – Orel. In fact, Jim (or Orel, you decide) has his own YouTube page which you definitely need to check out – Click here!
It was late by the time we got back so we went straight to bed, but not in a bunk as you’d expect of a hostel. I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard of a capsule hostel, but basically there’s only one room with twenty six single pods inside it where everybody sleeps:
I thought it might feel a little cramped and a bit too close for comfort, but it turned out to be really nice having our own personal space. I did feel about five years old again, as if I’d made myself a tent out of bed sheets or something, but really liked it! The lights were turned off at 23:00 so everybody crawled into their own little hole and that was that. Fascinating eh?
Day 259 – Sunday 5th February 2017
Thanks to one guy who snored excessively all night we didn’t sleep very well or have a chance to stay in bed later than 08:00 which was pretty annoying. It gave us time to make a plan for the day though, so we picked some points of interest, planned a route between them, and set just before midday.
Before any sightseeing we tried to find a bus to Inle Lake which we could take tomorrow morning, but that proved quite problematic. Apparently the day bus which used to run from Yangon to Inle Lake doesn’t operate anymore, so our only option was the night bus, and if we took the night bus tomorrow night to arrive the following morning we’d leave ourselves about twelve hours behind schedule. The solution? Book a night bus for this evening, scrap the plan for Yangon completely, but leave enough time to see Yangon again before we leave Myanmar. It wasn’t ideal, but it worked.
We actually paid a little over the odds because we booked a three stop ticket (from Yangon to Inle Lake, Inle Lake to Bagan and then Bagan to Yangon). In our eyes paying a little extra was well worth it and saved running the risk of not being able to find a bus in a remote location. Also, because we had night buses booked, we were likely to save money on accommodation too.
We got chatting to two English girls at the hostel, Libby and Imogen, and shared a taxi with them to the bus station. They had a different bus to us and we didn’t get to check theirs out, but ours was relatively nice, with air-conditioning and blankets. There was no toilet again though, which meant stopping for a break every couple of hours.
Our ETA for the morning was 06:00, but we struggled to sleep at all. Good old bus journeys eh? I’d say I’ve missed them, but that would be a complete lie. They’re convenient though, and pretty cheap too, so I’ll stop moaning about it now!