July 29-30, 2012
When we returned to Yangon at the end of our journey through Myanmar we had two full days left. We would have been happy to fly to Thailand right away, but instead we had two days to pass in the city.
July 29, 2012
White Elephants and White Marble Buddha (Kyauk Daw Kyi)
On our first full day we decided to venture to the suburbs of Yangon to see the white elephants. White elephants are a very auspicious omen and something we had never seen before. To get to the Hsin Hpyu Daw park where the two white elephants are kept we took the Yagon Circle Line on the train. The Circle Line makes a 3 hour loop around Yangon and the suburbs. There are special tickets for foreigners who wish to take the Circle Line from the Yangon Train Station that cost USD $1 per person.
The man at the ticket counter who had sold us our tickets told us that he would let us know when our train arrived. When the train pulled in he ushered us, along with some other foreigners, into the last car, where some guards were sitting. He let the guards know which station each foreigner was planning to get off at. They were supposed to let us know when we arrived, but instead the guard in charge of us fell asleep. Oh, well, George and I were paying attention anyway. In general, the people working on transportation in Myanmar have been very good at getting foreign visitors to their destinations. As we get handed off from one form of transportation to the next they let the driver or ticket collector know where we are headed, and we were always dropped at the right location.
At first, us foreigners had the whole car to ourselves. But as the train filled up locals started making their way into the last car. At one point a rat ran under one of the foreigner’s feet and someone tried to tell her, but not understanding she just brushed it off. I pointed the rat out to her, as well, and then she picked up her feet until it ran away. I was surprised that George and I were the only ones going to see the white elephants. I don’t know where the other foreigners were headed. The guide book mentioned taking the train as an activity, but it was hard to see out of the windows, and not something I would recommend other than as a form of transportation.
When we got off the train at the Insein Station we tried to follow the vague map in the Lonely Planet to Hsin Hpyu Daw park. We got close, but ended up asking a taxi driver to take us to the elephants, Kyauk Daw Kyi Buddha, and then back to May Shan Hotel in central Yangon.
It was neat to see the albino elephants, but I was shocked that they were chained on such short chains. They could barely walk around in circles. I thought for being such auspicious creatures they would at least have a habitat as nice as a zoo enclosure.
Kyauk Daw Kyi was right across the street from the park, and we walked over on our own, while our taxi driver waited for us. The Buddha image was carved from a single piece of white marble found in Mandalay and then transported to Yangon by boat and train. It is a quite beautiful carving, and we are glad we got the chance to visit.
We were glad to have a taxi waiting to take us back to the hotel, instead of waiting around for a slow train.
July 30, 2012
The next day, our plans did not go so well. We planned to go to the National Museum and then do some last minute shopping at the New Bogyoke Market.
We headed out on foot and passed by the New Bogyoke Market, which we saw was closed for the day. As we continued across town to the National Museum it started pouring rain. We stopped under a tree to put the rain cover on George’s camera bag and put on our rain ponchos. We continued on, still getting pretty wet. The sidewalks were crowded with school children carrying umbrellas and waiting for pick-up trucks or their parents to take them home from school. Sometimes it was easier to walk in the street than along the sidewalk. When we finally arrived at the National Museum we found out that it is close on Mondays. Bummer!
We made our way back, stopping off at Donut King for a treat.
Once we were back near May Shan Hotel we ate lunch one more time at Shan Noodles 999.
Shan Noodles are one of our favorite dishes in Myanmar. They have been tasty everywhere we’ve ordered them. But Shan Noodle Shop 999 is the best!
Well, so much for sightseeing- I guess it’s back to the hotel to dry off and warm up.
July 31, 2012
The next morning we took an early morning flight to Bangkok, Thailand. Then another flight to Phuket Island- our home for the month of August!