Sunday, February 2, 2014

Geneva to Yangon, Myanmar…..a long haul!

Departure to Myanmar was from  Geneva airport

and parking the car for an extended period of time was made very easy with the services of Parkmycar.

Our flight to Bangkok was on Emirates 

and we had a change of plane at Dubai airport which seems to have increased in size since the last time we visited…..we were parked way out and had to take a 15min ride on a bus to the terminal.

All flights through Dubai seem to allow lots of time to shop

There is an overwhelming choice to things to buy,some quite  expensive….

and we were amused to see that we could buy camel milk chocolate! But were not tempted!

From Dubai to Bangkok we are on an Airbus A380 plane which is huge! 
The plane has a full 2 floors…..with a lot of people!

Landing in the newer International airport in Bangkok (with an unpronounceable name!)

on the A380 meant we were totally at the opposite side of the airport to where we needed to check in for our flight to Yangon. It was at least a two km walk, fortunately using walkways. Still it took about 20 minutes and we did not have too much time between flights.  

However we need not have worried….. the plane was only half full and I think they would possibly have waited for us!  Bangkok Air were very efficient in responding to email enquiries and had sent us a notification that the gate personnel were aware that we were coming in on the Dubai flight. We were impressed by their speed of response particularly as we had sent 3 emails to Emirates customer service and never received any response ever!

Landing at Yangon airport was a completely different experience!

The International part had only 5 planes parked in front of the terminal! 

So getting our Visa on Arrival only took a few minutes. We had booked our private tour through Tour Mandalay , who were definitely extremely responsive and easy to deal with, and the guide and driver were waiting for us at the exit.
We changed money at the airport after hearing that there are essentially no ATMs in Burma. As the exchange rate is around 1000 Kyats to a US$ we needed a large envelope for all the banknotes!

The driver took us to check into our hotel, The Savoy, which was very nice, definitely to be recommended….

….not that we had too much time to enjoy it!  
About 30mins later we were off to see our first Pagoda, the Shwedagon. We had not had any idea of how large a complex this is….. the internal upper part of the pagoda is not open to the general public as there is a rather large ruby inside within easy reach! There is also a 76 carat diamond in the umbrella on top and around 1800 other smaller diamonds and precious stones. 

However walking around the pagoda ‘floor’ took well over an hour and we were able to see it lit up by the setting sun.

And to see the cleaning crew!

Apparently people sign up for the privilige of this duty. It is always done on the day of the week that they were born. They seem to attach a lot of importance to the actual day as some days are not as auspicious as others!
We ended the day having a Chinese meal opposite the hotel in the Friendship restaurant, good food….

and going to bed early……to be awoken at 4.20am to go to the airport for a 6.15 flight to Mandalay!

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