I let the wind lull me to sleep inside room 205 of Motherland Inn II. I arrived early morning in Yangon from Mandalay, took a shared taxi to town, had the free buffet breakfast at the inn and headed to my room at the upper floor. Finding the wide open view at my window, I opened the glass windows and was delighted to feel the gust of wind coming in. I turned of the aircon and left the window open except for the screen and let myself drift to dreamland.
It was noon time when I woke up. I knew I needed to head out for lunch. With little kyat money as I was reserving a big part of my funds for an exit fee, I just decided to walk around town. I figured I should check out the places I missed the last time.
Walking the length of Anawratha Road. I took a turn at Bo Aung Kyaw St headed south for the Olympic Building for SkyView Restaurant and Internet Cafe where I thought I’ll have my lunch and catch up a little on the internet. Took an elevator to the 15th floor. The restaurant was okay and had a good overlooking view of the city. The Chicken rice I ordered was ordinary but at least I get to enjoy the view. Oh yeah, there was no internet café there.
Heading north at the same street leading to the main road Bogyoke Aung San Road is St Mary’s Cathedral, the largest cathedral in Myanmar. It’s red brick walls grabbed my attention when I passed by it on a vehicle. I might as well look at it up close and it was indeed impressive. This cathedral designed by Dutch architect Jos Cuypers, started construction in 1895 and finished by 1899. The structure withstood the earthquake in 1930, the Japanese invasion and even the Allied invasion in Rangoon. I’m not a catholic but it is nice to see that Christianity is still practiced in a placed filled with thousands of stupas. It was the onset of Christmas at that time and there were christmas trees and Santa Clause decoration at the grounds.
I walked the stretch of Bogyoke Aung San road, passed by the old rail station that haven’t seen development in ages then a row of cinema houses until I reach Bogyoke Aung San Market. This large 2 story bustling market area used to be the first stop for foreigners to exchange their dollars to kyat. I was overwhelmed at first with the sheer number of shops in the area selling just about anything. I also got interested with the number of street-side tea shops with literally the windows used as counters.
Finally reached Shwedagon Pagoda Road leading directly to the Paya. I think in the 30-40 minutes walk from there, I passed by what seemd to be the upscale neighborhood of Yangon. A few temples until I reached the lesser visited, and newer Maha Wizaya Paya just across the grander Shwedagon Paya.
Paid my 5000 kyat at the counter and found some really neat ref magnets at their souvenir shop. Decided to go by elevator this time along with a group of tourist to the main platform.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.