Oct 6, 2018
CouchSurfing in Yangon
Location: The Phayre's Gastronomy, Yangon, Myanmar
Couch Surfing Meetup
CouchSurfing is fairly active in Yangon, thanks to Judy Lan's efforts. Couchsurfing is an established "instant community" for travelers to find a place to sleep and share their experience and insight. But according to Judy, in recent years it's been changing a bit and it's not what they want at all! Here's hoping to keep the original good spirit going on! Unlike Mundo Lingo where locals dominate the scene, CouchSurfing mostly has transient travelers from all over. The mix was more diverse and fluid - most of them would be gone in a few days. I had a series of casual small talks but 2 of them lingered.
The Phayre's Gastronomy
The meet-up was done at The Phayre's Gastronomy, close to my hostel. It was a decent gathering place similar to other trendy cafes in town. BUT, beer at this place starts at MMK 1000! No kidding. Finger foods at MMK 2000! Seriously. This is probably the best value place in Yangon. I love this place!
She was on her last 2 days before heading back to China. We didn't really talk much but while in a short conversation, she talked about her misgivings about her relationship with her Dad - that perhaps she should have reached out earlier. This gave me pause. Suddenly, I realized the time was right to reach out to my 2 girls. It has been 5 years since our last communication and 14 years since I last saw them. It was mutual consent that we stopped communicating. It was hard to move on when every letter we write brought back the painful episode of separation. I sent them a long letter the following day - no reply as of this writing. I also reconnected online with Jifan. We talked and shared more on Messenger. One day, I hope to see her again.
Usually, I'm the oldest in the group. But Roger is in his 60s. He doesn't come on strong. He's almost low-key, but a few exchanges with him reveal more to the man. Initially, he showed his amber - a tree resin from a million years that has hardened. What makes it interesting is what is inside which can be seen with utmost clarity. Usually, you see trapped insects. We are talking insects from a millions years back! I have always felt that I was born too late for Woodstock - otherwise, I'd be Roger's age by now. Surprisingly, he told me he was at Woodstock! I had to give him a hug.
As a lone traveler, I attend instant communities wherever I end up. And CouchSurfing is one of the most established ones. Some are simply passing small talk and a few talks get traction and explored for possibilities. I've met a few I wish to pursue.
Thanks Judy for making this happen!
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Next stop:: Abs-Yoga with BeautyLand Hotel II StaffYANGON
- 14 Days in Yangon Sept 24 - Oct 8, 2018
- Chillin' at The Social House - Kitchen & Tap Oct 4-7, 2018
- Abs-Yoga with BeautyLand Hotel II Staff Oct 3-7, 2018
- CouchSurfing in Yangon Oct 6, 2018
- Vipassana in the Tradition of Sayagi U Ba Khin as Taught by U Ko Lay Oct 6, 2018
- Sunrise Yoga with Jerome at Yangon Yoga House Oct 5, 2018
- Stumbling Upon the Shwedagon Pagoda Oct 2, 2018
- Movie Review: The Divine Order (2017) Sep 29, 2018
- 'Clean Yangon Green Yangon' Street Clean-Up Sep 29, 2018
- Movie Review: A Serious Game (2016) Sep 28, 2018
- Movie Review: Amy (2015) Sep 28, 2018
- Movie Review: In The Fade (2017) Sep 27, 2018
- Movie Review: Perfect Strangers (2016) Sep 27, 2018
- Movie Review: Little Wing (2016) Sep 26, 2018
- Mundo Lingo Yangon at 50th Street Cafe Sep 25, 2018
- A First Timer in Yangon, Myanmar Sep 24, 2018
Yangon (city), Myanmar
Yangon International Airport
How to Get to Downtown Yangon from the Yangon International Airport (RGN)
- take the shuttle bus from Airport to Downtown Yangon, it costs MMK 500. It passes through the main artery of Yangon.
Yangon Travel Tips
- useful site: Wiki Travel Yangon
USEFUL INFORMATION(as of Jan 2020)
Myanmar FYI / Travel Tips
- accommodation - not all destinations in Myanmar can accommodate foreign travelers. Walk-in hotel guests could be refused. Better make an online booking, or make sure the hotel you wish to stay, at is listed in the online booking sites (Agoda, Booking.com, etc.)
- local time - adjust time 30 mins behind from Thailand (if arriving from Thailand)
- Burmese people - Burmese people are new to what's happening to Myanmar - being opened-up to the rest of the world. They remain friendly, helpful and curious. Tourism being new, the culture is not yet corrupted by it.
General Travel Tips
- avoiding scams - as a general rule, I ignore the touts or anyone I don't know who call out to me. The calling comes in many forms - "Hi! Where are you from?", "Excuse me! Excuse me!", "Where are you going?". I don't look them in the eye and I remain non-verbal with them. If you reply to them, you just gave them an 'in' to hound you. In order not to look rude, I smile and wave the 'not interested' hand to them, without looking at them.
- power bank - hand-carry your power bank. Do not check it in. You can be called in when you are already inside the plane to go all the way to the loading dock so you can personally remove the power bank...and chances are, you'll have to surrender it to them. And you might delay the plane departure!
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