Definitely Bago was the most original part of our trip to Myanmar, as it’s not really tourists’ priority, thus kept some of its authentic charm. In a previous post I was leaving you on the note that we took the train from Yangon to Bago. Now it’s time to tell you how we got there and what happened in the first half day in Bago. The Bago adventure begins.
First half day of Bago adventure
The train station in Bago
After a two hours train ride we reach Bago 30 minutes early.
The train station is lively, people on the platform trying to sell various colourful merchandise they’d carefully put in the over-sized baskets they transport on their heads.
The train leaves after 5 minutes. Hum… Luckily we didn’t take trains with connections, as the schedule seems very unreliable.
The Bago adventure has already started!
We take the bridge over the station to gain the main road for our hostel. While trying to place ourselves on the map, a guy offers to help us by taxi, but we explain we aren’t interested. Our hostel was within 5 minutes from the train station. I feel harassed by his pushiness, so I hurry Rémi on a road, that obviously wasn’t the good one.
The market in Bago
Two minutes of walking, and we’re in a market improvised on this road, full of people and colourful, stinky merchandise. It almost made me puke. They were selling fish and shrimps directly on the ground, presented on piles over a sheet of newspaper. At 30 °C you bet these weren’t the best conditions to sell those kind of products without a fridge. But they seemed so poor that it wouldn’t surprised me if they didn’t know what a fridge is.
People were looking at us like they’d seen aliens for the first time. We were the aliens and they most likely hardly get to see a tourist. I felt I was invading their privacy as much as they were invading mine when staring at us as we passed by. It was the strangest of the feelings.
Meanwhile Rémi has found we were only on a parallel street to the main road, so he figured if we’d turn right on the next street, we’ll get straight on the main road, almost in front of our guesthouse; we’d only have to cross the street…
The Main Road
Well… Good luck with that! We reach indeed the main road, but we remain struck in awe by this bizarre spectacle: bikes and motorbikes crossing paths with cars and trucks, tuck-tucks transporting people through the pollution cloud floating above this “Main Road”; honks everywhere. The most shocking part was that people had to cross the street in between this jungle that seemed highly dangerous.
We are trying to figure out how exactly to get on the other side and while discussing a “strategic” plan for crossing the street, the guy from before reappears and continues his questions about where are we going and if we needed a lift.
We start walking along the main road in order to find a less busy part for crossing, but this guy tails us at every step. Knowing that right before taking the train to come from Yangon to Bago we had a similar situation, where the guy would offer to help us with buying tickets and once checked in the train he asks for big money for helping us. Of course I only gave him a small part (the part I was considering giving him anyway, for helping us), and after seeing there is no further possible discussion with me, he eventually left. This time – only 2h30 later – I knew what was this all about, so it annoyed me big time that this new guy continued to follow us.
We start crossing with a group of people, but the guy tags in and claims that he’s helping us to cross the street. He understands which one is our hostel and starts leading the way. I tell him to stop doing that and we try to slow the pace to make him believe that that wasn’t our guesthouse. “Is this one!” – he announces proudly. I roll my eyes and we continue inside, towards the reception.
At the front-desk the guy welcomes us and asks for the papers. The tagging guy makes himself comfortable on the bench. While Rémi’s looking for the papers I discreetly tell the reception’s guy that the man was following us and that I don’t feel safe with him around.
The Receptionist brings us to our room which is right on the main road’s side. He asks if it’s ok, then proceeds to show us a second room, which we prefer. The second one is smaller and has two beds instead of a double one, but we accept it right away, because it was on the calmer side.
Return to normal
We put our stuff in the room and get down to the reception, where the same guy is still around. He starts asking if we need a ride. We explain the situation to the reception guy, who obviously speaks better English than this annoying guy. As we are not interested by renting a car with private driver, the receptionist translates in Myanmar language that we aren’t interested and that he’d better leave.
Seeing that guy leaving was weirdly liberating. Pfew! This was the least interesting part of our Bago adventure.
The Road to the Restaurant
At 6 pm is already night, and we head towards a restaurant that seemed pretty close to our guesthouse when reading the indications. The French guidebook was horribly imprecise, so we wandered for almost an hour in order to reach the restaurant.
As we walked, we understood that there was not any other option in this area. No shop, no restaurants, rarely, people, but most often cars and trucks and motorbikes and honks everywhere and pollution.
We turn left on the hidden alley, but our restaurant wasn’t here. There were no lights, everything pitch black, except the time a motorbike would pass. Rémi pulls out the front light. Some animals were agitated when we passed by, including a poor monkey attached by the neck with a chain. The monkey started screaming and agitated towards us and I’m already tired of this Bago adventure.
We don’t find our restaurant here, therefor we retrace our way back and continue towards the Golden Pagoda that was golden bright. We try another alley on the left and this time we find the restaurant.
It was inside a manor with two floors. A guy shows us the table. They also have a balcony, but we prefer inside because of the bugs.
Flying bugs were flying, then crawling everywhere. Some geckos were having their feasts above us. The food was good and the prices ok, in the medium range.
After the second watermelon juice we pay downstairs and head back to our place to have a good night sleep.
This half a day marked our third day in Myanmar, so our journey continues with more of the Bago adventure.
Discover more about our adventures in Myanmar:
Or check the Myanmar bucketlist for a quick inspiration.