Day 5-6: Yangon + Back in Novotel Yangon Max

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Technically our last full day, we are back in Yangon via a night bus just in time for breakfast. Our flight is still on the next day, but it is scheduled early in the morning so we can't do anything anymore and have to go straight to the airport. Good thing our hotel, Novotel Yangon Max, is barely 30 minutes away from the international airport so that's a one thing less to worry about.

When we arrived in the hotel, we were welcomed with "Good to see yous" and "Welcome back!" from their staff. They asked us about our Bagan adventures, and then escorted us back to our same Executive Room on the 14th floor. It felt like home.

When Ruth and I passed by the halls in our floor, we realized that there's a glass door we didn't see when we were first there! We needed to tap our key card to go through, and realized how guests' safety is important for Novotel Yangon Max since they also have a bar in the same floor! Nice.

We also passed by this playground on our way to the buffet breakfast:

Best Breakfast Buffet at Novotel Yangon Max

I am not really very particular with hotel breakfasts, and just have one deciding factor if it's really good: OPTIONS. It puzzles me sometimes when I go to a big buffets and realize that there's nothing vegetarian for me to eat! Novotel Yangon Max's spread is super unforgettable for me. They have good variety of local and international cuisines, and all sorts of juices and drinks, plus service is superb! Wish breakfast is like this everyday, I might as well convert into a morning person!!! 😂

Took snaps of some of the selections:

I can eat hashbrowns all day everyday!

Different breads and pastries, plus spreads like Australia's vegemite!

Dimsum, Shabu-Shabu, and Congee:

Cereals and other grains:

Yogurt station:

Salads with the freshest ingredients:

I always end a buffet with fruits:

Meats and Cheeses:

Saw this local dessert:

My breakfast buffet favorite: Egg Station!

Indian cuisines:


Thai Station:

 And different types of drinks from infused water, to juices, to tea and coffee, to freshly squeezed orange juice!

Ready to eat! 💛

We went out of the buffet so contented, but decided to make the most out of our last day. So as tempting as it is to just stay in Novotel's beds (hehe), we went out to see what Yangon has for us. Since it's our last day, we were lacking a few Kyats and saw an ATM machine and even a currency exchange center in our hotel's lobby while waiting for our Uber.

Shwedagon Pagoda

We finally had the chance to visit Yangon's main attraction. The Shwedagon Pagoda, also known as the Golden Pagoda, dominates the city's skyline I can see it even from the window of our hotel room.

The place turns out to be a HUGE compound of pagodas and temples. As Ruth puts it, it's like Enchanted Kingdom or a theme park of shrines!

It has four entrance, and this one's the nearest where our cab driver dropped us. We paid 8000 Kyats for the ticket, which is around Php 300.

We were there just before lunch, so imagine gaano katirik ang araw! Ruth and I were hopping around, literally temple-running because the hot marble and cement against our bare feet is extra unbearable! Sight-wise though, everything's beautiful, glittering GOLD!

From these tall structures...

To all the buddhas inside each temples...

Even the pillars are gold and blinding!

And of course, in the middle of it all is the Shwedagon stupa. They say that it is customary to go around Buddhist stupas in clockwise direction, but not sure how zig-zagging our route was that day! ✌ I think we weren't able to fully go around the whole compound, though it felt enough even just taking everything half-way through.

Everywhere we stand is a corner worth taking snaps!

The temples and shrines are filled with praying locals, so we were extra mindful with our actions.

It's a hot and beautiful day with friends and families:

Rangoon Tea House

This place is one of those I listed from online recommendations from friends and families, a timely stop-over for lunch. I brought it up to Ruth, and thank God she's game with anything! We went in and felt like we're in a different world. Ruth said it felt like we were having a typical British lunch out, a good break from work.

I later on learned from Novotel's Amanda that Rangoon Tea House is a good alternative dining experience for tourists who want to try Myanmar's food in a bit upscale ambiance. True enough, food is good, place and service very much recommended, and price steeper than our usual meals during the whole trip.

By the entrance are these tempting pastries and coffee:

But we preferred the meals, I ordered this filling vegetarian bao:

And a hot plate of vegetable biryani. Serving size is huge, and can be shared unless if really really hungry (like me, hehe). I think I over ordered, but thinking about it now, they are so delicious and worth it! Best part is having good coffee after finishing everything!

Bogyoke Market

Final stop before we head back to our hotel is the Bogyoke Market. Was hoping to shop for pasalubong and souvenirs here but was a bit overwhelmed with how huge the place is! Ruth was able to buy Myanmar seed-beads necklace in one of the inner-most stalls in the market. We went around a bit more and saw lots of vendors selling basket bags, printed cloths, paintings, longyi skirts, and jewelries. Myanmar is well-known for their jades.

Swimming at Novotel Yangon Max

Unlike our Bagan days, our Yangon sunset was spent in Novotel Yangon Max's pool! There were lots of guests when we arrived, but the pool is so huge that it did not even bothered me. There's also a poolside bar that we should have availed while we were there, but floating and splashing seem to be more important at that time, hehe!

Ruth and I took turns recording our underwater swimming and sunset aura shots. I don't know if we spent hours or barely 30 minutes there, but I know I enjoyed every part of this relaxing, post-touring time.

Authentic Chinese Cuisine at Royal Pavilion

One of the three restos in Novotel Yangon Max is the Royal Pavilion, located at the right side of the lobby coming from the hotel's entrance. They serve authentic Chinese dishes here, and was lucky enough to have tried them for our last dinner before home. Ruth and I were joined by Novotel Yangon Max's Amanda and Sir Eugene. They were very considerate with my dietary restrictions, and ordered the yummiest flavored rice and tofu dishes for my enjoyment.

For the rest, they had the duck and xiao long bao, which you have to sip with a straw to consume. We also had a mango type of dessert, a nice puree that's not too sweet. Best part of the dinner, of course, are the conversations. We compared the blogging scenes in Myanmar and the Philippines, and also talked about other parts of Myanmar like Mandalay and the Inle Lake that makes me want to go back there again stat!


 What to take home from a Myanmar trip?

Since I wasn't able to purchase longyi or jade from the market, another alternative pasalubong or take home for the family when you go to Myanmar is available in their groceries or minimarts. Amanda joined us at a nearby 24-hour Citimart for some last minute shopping!

At the lobby of Novotel Yangon Max is this screen where you can book your taxi ala Uber or Grab. We didn't use this though, and hailed a cab just outside the hotel "Yangon style!", as Amanda puts it. Hehe!

Here's a list of what to take home from a Myanmar trip:

1) Packs of these Pickled Tea & Bean, or Lahpet Thoke (literally means Green Tea Salad). Burma is one of the few countries where tea is eaten! The Tea Salad is a mixture of tastes and textures of tea leaves, nuts, crunchy beans, sesame seeds, fried garlic, dried shrimps, etc.

2) They also have tea that you drink, best to get Nagar Pyan's Green Tea (tea bags) which my dad loves to drink every night.

3) They also have their own Myanmar Royal or Nagar Pyan Coffee.

Heading Home

We woke up extra early the next day to avail the buffet breakfast again before heading for the airport. As with the other day, everything's satisfying. We prepared and packed before heading out the door, then out of the hotel, for another long haul flight with layover. It's hard to leave a place that's so comfortable like Novotel Yangon Max!

Bye room!!!! 😔

We were early for the airport, because again, it is barely 30 minutes away from Novotel Yangon Max. But unlike our flights coming from Manila, this day just breezed by. We were as if doing things in reverse, eating our yummy SingaporeAir food while watching a movie in their mini TVs, waiting in a pub called Harry's at the Changi Airport for our connecting flight, and finally our last plane ride for Manila.

Looking back, everything went relatively smooth and hassle-free for my first long haul flight with layovers with SingaporeAir, and even for my first time in Myanmar. Not completely perfect, but nothing also that's seriously major to the point of trauma. It is also my first time traveling with Ruth that is not brand sponsored, which is cool! We used to seat in Figaro after an event and talk about our solo trips, travel quirks, and such... And now we've experienced exploring together in this non-touristy country!

I am grateful now as I type this conclusion that I got to experience this trip that's filled with many firsts. You learn so much from going out there away from your comfort zones, and appreciate how you can endure any situations. More than cultural immersing, it was also a self actualization trip. Can't ride a bike? It's okay, we have a truck and Kuya Zaw! Sleeping in airports and night buses? We did all that in just a 5-day trip!

And with all the vendor mobs, all the barefooted walks, and all the Burmese curry consumed, I am glad to have experienced everything with a friend. 😊💛

Excited for the next adventure!

Watch my IG Stories for Myanmar Day 5:

Watch my IG Stories for Myanmar Day 6:

Read more on my Myanmar 2017 trip HERE.

1 comment

  1. Have you tried Mohinga ? It's considered the national food of Myanmar. It has rice noodles, fish soup, lots of spices and herbs and interestingly... banana stem tree!!! Very rich in flavor and healthy too! :)


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