I’m a Yangoner, born and raised in Yangon. But there are so many places in Yangon that I have never even heard of before. Since 2004, I have been away from Yangon. Although I come back here to Yangon every year, it’s not the same as living here.
Before I came back to Yangon this time, I was planning to go around to the places I have never been in Yangon. Upon my arrival Yangon’s heat 100C (38C) literally warmly welcomed me that going around the city didn’t sound appealing anyone. I kept postponing until I gave up on the idea and decided to wait until June or July. I have been estivating in my house since I got back.
Thanks to my amazing friends; my plans came true because of their spontaneous suggestions. Our original plan was to try out Rangoon Tea House on Pansodan Road. It is indeed a lovely place but just don’t assume you will get a local tea house experience in Rangoon Tea House. It is an high-so tea house using local menus and decorations. I am truly impressed by the owner’s innovative ideas but I’d encourage you to try local tea house for a real experience.
I tried their chai tea and I was quite disappointed. I’m not trying to be arrogant but I can make chai tea way better than that. But $2.5 isn’t too bad but if you’re a chai tea lover like me, don’t try.
I scanned their menu and honestly I am not interested in anything in their menu because to have local tea house food, only local tea house can give you a real taste. But I was quite curious by one item. Chili cheese toast – bread with mozarella cheese topped with pickled tea leaves. Cheese and tea leaves (la-phat)??? It could go completely wrong or would be a good fusion food. I wasn’t willing to pay $5 for a bowl of mohinga when I know I can get a way better taste with less than half a price. But I was willing to pay $5 for a new experience.
When the toast came out, it didn’t look appetizing. But to my surprise, it was really good and I was quite impressed.
After our stomachs were happy, one of my friends suggested for a ferry ride to the other side of Yangon so I said why not. I have never tried before. So we walked to the jetty from the tea house. I didn’t see the notorious Yangon traffic as it was the beginning of the new year holidays.
As I started taking pictures of the colonial buildings, a friendly taxi driver stopped by and asked me in English, “Which building are you looking for?” Yes, it’s a story of my life. Always being mistaken as someone else rather than a local. With a sheepish smile, I replied in Burmese, “I am not looking for any building, just taking pictures.”
Then we took a Yangon River ferry to Dala for 100 Kyats (10 cents) and took the same ferry back to the Yangon side. Dala is located on Yangon river bank across from downtown Yangon but what you would see is literally a small poor village. The easiest way to see a poor village life is just 5 minutes ferry ride away from downtown Yangon. People from Dala (mostly vendors) take ferry daily to Yangon for their livelihoods.
After coming back from Dala, one of my friends suggested that the Armenian church that I’ve been wanting to visit was just a walking distance from the jetty so he gave us direction before he took off. My other two friends and I parted to explore more of Yangon.
The Armenian church was not heard of before the visit from the bishop from Armenia. But after his visit, followed by the documentary from BBC, I became very curious about the church.
While at church, my friend mentioned about the one and only Jewish Synagogue in town, but we had no idea where it was. Thanks to Google; it wasn’t too far from the church so we took a taxi to the Synagogue.
We met Mr. Moses Samuels, a very gracious trustee of the Synagogue, and he showed us around and explained about the synagogue. I could only imagine what it would have been like in its glorious days way back in the 1920s.
It was worth a visit although we were walking around in 100C heat. It was also fun to explore a glimpse of Yangon like tourists.