We decided to visit Myanmar’s capital city, which has since 2005 been Naypyidaw, or Nay Pyi Taw, as we were heading back to the old capital Yangon. After the 7-hour minibus trip (don’t recommend that one, hot and sweaty) we arrived to this so called ghost city.
After ten hours in night bus from Yangon, we finally reached one of the world's greatest archaeological sites, Bagan in Central Myanmar. This ancient Bagan Kingdom had over 10 000 temples, of which over 2000 have survived to our days.
After Hpa-An we traveled by bus to Yangon, also known as Rangoon. The city is Myanmar's former capital and its largest city. And according to Wikipedia this former British colonial capital has the highest number of colonial-era buildings in Southeast Asia.
Our first stop in Myanmar was 4 hours from the Thai border, in a city of Hpa-An, which is the capital of Kayin State with a population of nearly half a million.
We have read many positive things about Myanmar, seen beautiful images of the place, and heard of the conflicts between the ethnic groups. We decided to give it a visit. This is how we got into Myanmar by crossing Mae Sot - Myawaddy border.
After breathing few days the smog of Delhi and Agra, we were quite pleased to move on. The improvement of air quality could be noticed already through the airplane windows and when exiting the plane at the Dabolim Airport it felt just great to breathe in. Look what two weeks in Goa offered us.
When we got to Delhi we were considering whether to visit Taj Mahal or not. It would mean a two-day trip to Agra (you can do it in one day from, but then the place might get crowded and you miss the sunrise) and Risto was quite sick. However, his condition was getting better, and we decided to book a flight to Goa on 18th, so a two-day trip to Agra got possible. And many of those train station scammers told us that visiting Taj Mahal is a must, so why shouldn't we believe them.
The flight from Dubai to Delhi went surprisingly well, taking Risto’s condition into account. The combination of painkillers and antibiotics must have done their job. We sat next to a young man from North India who had been working in Dubai for two years, and now got to go home and see his son. He was so excited that the joy got into us as well.
When we left our hotel room, perhaps the first notion we had was, where are all the women? In the UAE roughly 69 % of population is male, and in Dubai the ratio is even more skewed with more than 75 % males. This is due to work-related immigration of males from countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Philippines. The Deira area, where our hotel was located, is popular among these expats, which provides even more reasoning for our amazement.
As our schedule ended up being so tight, we did not really get to know the basic information about our destination. United Arab Emirates is the country number 28 on list of countries we have visited together, and quite certainly the country we knew the least about, when we arrived. Back in Finland we had checked the weather, basic safety situation, where to get a sim card and location of our hotel in relation to Dubai international airport. Otherwise we were as ignorant as possible.