Yangon presents an excellent setting to immerse in local traits and feel a connection to the welcoming and caring people of its community. On this fascinating walking tour through its lesser known side streets of the Bahan neighborhood with our guide, we experience the city like a local. And the first introduction to this place; is how to hail a taxi Myanmar style.
We start about 7 am with a steaming bowl of mohingar noodles, the traditional Myanmar breakfast. We then we head to a flower vendor in lively Bagan market to prepare a donation in Shwedagon pagoda on our name-day. After a walk around and finding out more about the golden stupa, we continue our walk to Kandawgyi park for a photo stop before then visiting Bogyoke Aung San museum – the former home of Aung San Suu Syi. At the house we learn more about her father, a charismatic leader who paved the road to independence, and is still revered by Burmese to this day.
Our journey then continues along a small road to the sitting Buddha featuring intricate teak carvings, and then to the reclining Buddha. On the way to our final destination, Pearl Condo, there is the opportunity to stop in an art gallery and chat with the owner about his current collection. Before finishing the walking tour we enjoy lunch in typical Burmese noodle shop and then relax with some local style pampering; a 45 minute shampoo with head and neck massage.
Baan Bu Community is known as the only ‘Thai Ancient Bronzeware Hand Craft Village’ in Thailand and can be found in Bangkok Noi, just a short ride across the Chao Phraya River to Thonburi. Here we find crafts that have survived for more than 250 years. The products (bowls and trays) made here are polished with stone to produce a fine glossy finish. Alongside this hand-crafting community, we also discover a number of historical sites and fascinating memorabilia from key moments in history.
Wat Thong is a 200 year-old temple and was an execution site for thousands of Burmese soldiers who were held as prisoners of war after refusing to help King Taksin fight alongside his soldiers against the Burmese troops who were occupying Phitsanulok. Another highlight is Talad Wat Thong, originally a floating market, it was then turned into a land market and became known as ‘the market without beams’ due to its wooden structure supported by curved joints resembling Hua Lamphong railway station. We also stop by at Lang Wang Market – a real treat for those with a sweet tooth.
The old train station, Bangkok Noi, was a key route used by Japanese troops to transport weapons during WWII. Then close to the old station is Thonburi Locomotive Depot where Thailand’s last five remaining steam engines are kept and maintained. The region is also home to a number of dessert shops with recipes dating back to King Rama II, and ‘Sa-Nguan Osot’, an 80 year old Thai herbal traditional pharmacy. The tour lasts five hours and is only available on weekdays.