Rangoon is a fascinating city which reminds me a bit of Vietnam in the 80s. Every beaten up 1980s Datsun and Mazda is now on the roads in Rangoon, many of them operating as taxis. Interestingly, due to an assassination attempt a few years ago from the back of a motorbike, the ruling military put an immediate ban on the use of motor cycles in the city, a ruling which still stands today. So, unlike the cities of Vietnam, there are no two wheeled vehicles in Rangoon.
The architecture is beautiful old British style and not so different to what the French built in Vietnam in the colonial period. There are some really gorgeous old apartment buildings, many painted blue, green or pink. Sometimes these buildings are right next to something more functional or modern. This is interesting but occasionally very ugly.
Burmese people are incredibly friendly, apart from a few sellers near the famous temples. I understand why they have to be a bit pushy as their lives aren't that perfect. It's funny because I thought that the people would not be so positive and happy due to the political situation there but I saw them smile a lot during our trip, which is a great sign.
The temples in Rangoon are incredibly beautiful, very gold and shiny in the sunlight. I believe that the Burmese live their religion, which is mostly Buddhism, because I saw thousands of local people going to visit their temples everyday to pray and give offerings. It seems like a more peaceful experience than visiting the pagoda in Vietnam.
In five days, I didn't get to try as much food as I would like but it seems the food in Burma is influenced by Indian, Bangladesh and Chinese as well as some of the ethnic minority groups. It's quite an exciting food city, particularly the street food, which is my real interest. I really like the unique herbs, salads and pickles I tried. More on that in future posts. In short, go to Rangoon now before too many tourists go there. It is amazing.