Yangon (With its former name Rangoon (& Myanmar from Burma) where I used to recall during my youthful days due to the fact Burmese National Football Team was once quite respectale in South East Asia & was once a headache to some coaches of other National Teams in particular during our yearly Merderka Soccer Cup competitions; so, I would assume the change of name only occured within the last 20-25 years - froma source, the change of the name from Rangoon to Yangon & Burma to Myanmar happened in 1988).
The fine living standard in each of the tourist hotels shown above can be a class above the normal living standard of majority of Burmese. If you are aiming to buy luxurious goods in Myanmar, forget it. Anyway, the "close-economy" aggrevates by the US-led Sanction has resulted in almost non-existence of many western designers' lables. However, I think most visitors to Myanmar do not come here for this purose but still, I have to highlight this fact. Well, if you are looking for local organic types of merhandize goods, you will have plenty of these.Large shopping malls are not available.(mid-scaled shops are plenty, mostly sells Asian goods or labels). An interesting spot is the Bogyoke Shopping Mall or more popularly referred as the "Scotts Market" by the locals, where it can be the most popular market and as hot tourist destination in Yangon. It was first built and inaugurated on the present premises in 1926 and still has a zinc roof top but its exterior exhibits colonial-styled of design. There are hundreds if not thousands of shops selling handicrafts, foodstuffs, clothing, jewelries (jade), fashion and consumer goods. There not BIG in size but the variesties of goods are plenty. Naturally, don't expect air-con facilities but the surrounding shops lots who sells mainly local desgner's clothings and jewelries are well euipped with air-con and cleaner shopping facilities.Don't worry about foreign exchanges, everywhere you go, there are Indian origin merchants asking you for US dollars (basically, Burmese government will not RESIST anyone bringing US notes, for obvious reasons from the political/economical cause but still officially, there are limitations but you may not have to bother too much with this issue...).
One exception:- JADE, Blue Sapphires, Ruby & other precious stones. Maynmar is famed for its produce of world-class jade, ruby and Sapphires. Most Asian travelers MUST understand virtually all known production are run by governmental agencies where illegal productions are also existed in north-eastern provinces. So, to curb these activities, only shops with endosement of government were permitted from bringing at the entry points for tourists. The whole problem is, everyone claimed they are appointed shops and will issue a reciepts upon exit points but there aren no clear official guides on all those shops. Next, fake stones are plenty - I have come across one guy at the Scotts market that reduced his jade fro USD500-00 to USD20-00 after two days of meeting him, SO ?? Anyway, it is always advisable to find a more presetable shops but the compromise is, you have to pay so much more in premium. It ended up with I buy NOTHING. So, I think whatever its, the Burmses government should also look into this gray areas in how to assist toursts.
During this trip, a friend of mine asked if I can afford to spend USD75-00 for palmistry by a locally famed lady.Out of curiocsity, I had tried. The fortune teller, made her name via many publication has been more well known in neighbouring countries rather than locals serves visitors with her uncharacteric spot-on talents. If you believe in this nature of unexplained capability (I would assume any good fortune teller be able to deliver similar capabilities as a start-off lead) but Ethi, a strict Buddhist in nature, who has unfortunately suffered from half vision and disabled phiisical & her elegantly looked (& dresssed) sistser who acts as a interpreter that live together with their parents have some kind of mysterious accuracy in forward prediction of events and happening for anyone. I got mine and see if it works..anyway, just a sugestion if you have plenty of spare time to try something never expereint in your life. I missed the set appointment because both have been called to Bangkok by unidentified politcian to offer "advices of how-to" on the 2005 Thailand Election, hehe ...
I was told the City of Yangon, the capital city where forms as the main gateway to Myanmar was once the cleanest city in Asia. Time has changed and I am not sure whether politically military ruled government & the economic Sanction has made things changed for the good or bad...
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