Why you should visit Myanmar in the rainy season

Myanmar’s rainy season is from May to early October. Traditionally, this is a low season for tourism to Myanmar.

I visited Myanmar right right smack in the middle of the wet season in July. My Burmese friend warned that it would be very wet in Yangon but cool at Inle Lake.

After my 5-day trip to Myanmar, I conclude that it’s actually very nice to visit Myanmar in the rainy season.

1. Mild weather

I don’t particularly enjoy being under the scorching sun when I travel, especially after I had sunstroke in Sri Lanka.

Travelling during the rainy season, there’s not a lot of sun around and the weather is cool.

2. Cheaper prices

Cheaper tour package to Myanmar during rainy season

It’s usually cheaper to visit any country during low season. It’s the same for Myanmar.

At Heho Airport, the nearest domestic airport to Inle Lake, resorts even advertise their cheaper packages for the wet season. This was charmingly called “Drizzle Relax Package”.

3. Less tourists

Benefits of visiting Myanmar during rainy season

I’m not sure if it’s because Myanmar’s tourism is just getting started but there weren’t a lot of foreign tourists when we were. There were a few Western tourists and some South Koreans at the resort we stayed at.

It didn’t feel crowed when we visited the sites.

4. Less mosquitoes (Not scientifically proven)

Benefits of visiting Myanmar during rainy season: Inle Lake

I’m usually a mosquito magnet. Anywhere outside of Singapore, I get swarmed by mosquitos and come back with souvenirs in the form of nasty itchy 10-cent coin bumps.

But during my 4-day in Myanmar (with two spent at water-heavy Inle Lake), I only had less than three mosquito bites.

However, according to science, mosquitoes can still fly when it rains. So I can’t say if Myanmar mosquitoes don’t like my blood or if it really was due to rainy season.

Why you shouldn’t visit Myanmar in rainy season

1. Photos won’t turn out well

Disadvantages of visiting Myanmar during rainy season: Gloomy photos

I only have a point-and-shoot digital camera. The effect of photos on a cloudy or rainy day is not as good as bright sunny days. But it does give a melancholy look to the photos.

2. You have to walk around under an umbrella

Disadvantages of visiting Myanmar during rainy season: Under my umbrella

If it’s raining hard, you’ll need to carry an umbrella around while sightseeing. I discovered how difficult it is to juggle a camera, a selfie stick and an umbrella.

3. The ground gets really muddy

Disadvantages of visiting Myanmar during rainy season: Muddy ground

If you’re visiting the countryside, it’s very likely that the ground is not paved and you’ll end up with super muddy shoes after a walk. At times like these, it’s best to wear your flip flops so you can clean your feet easily.

For me, pros of visiting Myanmar during rainy season outweighs the cons. Hope this helps you in your travel planning process.

This post was first published on TripZilla Magazine.

Many thanks to  TripZilla and Myanmar Airways International who made my trip to Myanmar possible. Whether rain or shine, all comments are my own.

Curious about Myanmar? Here are some posts about the country:

How to apply for a Myanmar visa in Singapore

I just came back from a trip to Myanmar. I was on a tour group so I didn’t get to do a lot of things on my own. That’s why I’ll definitely go back. Before I drown you with posts about Myanmar, here’s a guide to applying for a Myanmar visa in Singapore.

When I was told that I could go to Myanmar, I only had less than 2 weeks before departure so I had to be quick about my visa application.

I was debating whether I should

In the end, my curiosity made me choose going to the embassy to apply for a visa. After my journey to the embassy, I’ve concluded that it’s really easier and cheaper to get a travel agency to do it for you.

The tourist visa fee is S$35 but there is a hidden administration fee of S$10 that they don’t tell you. Since the embassy is not in the most convenient location and the visa application hours are crazy, you should just save your taxi money and get the visa done at a travel agent.

Getting a Myanmar visa in Singapore personally

If you still want to DIY the visa application, here are the details. The Myanmar Embassy website is quite straight forward and will send you an e-mail telling you everything you need to do.

Step 1: Book an appointment online

Applying to a Myanmar visa online

The embassy now has an online appointment system where you need to book a date that you’re heading down to the embassy. I recommend giving yourself an extra day to fill up the form because there might be things that you need to prepare but do not have at hand.

Apart from having all the details about you, you’ll need a digital photo to upload to the system so please have that on your computer.

Applying to a Myanmar visa online

I chose to take a photo of the physical passport photo for the physical form and upload it to the system. I didn’t want to risk them rejecting my visa application because my hair was swept at a different direction.

Step 2: Receive forms to fill up

After your appointment, the embassy will send an e-mail with some documents that you need to print out. It’s best to print out all three of them.

Myanmar visa application

The form is pretty straight forward but there are parts that made me go, “Huh?” This part about my complexion made me pause a while.

What to write in Complexion entry for Myanmar visa

In the end, I wasn’t funny and wrote “Fair” for my complexion and “Dark brown” for my hair color even though my dye job looked more like, “Streaky.”

Step 3: Prepare everything you need to bring

This step takes a bit of time to get done because there’s a lot of things you need to bring.

Tourist visa application for Myanmar

Please bring an extra S$10 to the embassy on top of the S$35 visa fees because you’ll need to pay the admin fee.

Step 4: Arrive at the embassy early

Myanmar embassy in Singapore

There are two contradicting opening time in the documents that I’ve received. One told me to be at the embassy before 8am while the other said to reach before 9am.

Even though there is a queue number in your appointment letter, I don’t think there is an actual queue system.

I arrived at the embassy around 8:15am and queued at the “Foreigner” building–the yellow one. There were about eight people in front of me. Then around 8:30am, the counters started operating, even though the forms say the opening time is 9am. Well, anything quick suits me well.

The actual handing over of forms and other documents took about five minutes. I received a collection note. The man at the counter told me I could collect my visa in the evening. He also said that a representative can help with the pick up as long as they have the collection slip.

That was fast.

Visa collection slip for Myanmar Embassy

Step 5: Collect your visa

The visa should be available on the same day, unless your application looks suspicious.

My sister helped me collect my visa so I didn’t have to take time off work and take a cab to the embassy. Thanks sis!

Myanmar visa

After all the trouble, I recommend applying the visa using a travel agent. You won’t need to take time off work to apply and it might be just S$20 extra (which is less than most taxi money to and from the embassy twice).

Things to take note of when applying for a Myanmar visa

While my visa application and trip has been a success, I’ve heard stories about people not being able to get a visa to Myanmar. To summarize, here are the things to take note of:

  • Do not work for any newspaper
  • Do not say that you are a journalist or writer

Hope you have a smooth journey with your visa application.

Curious about Myanmar? Here are some posts about the country:

YQtravelling will be away in Myanmar #YQinMMR

If you follow YQtravelling on Instagram, you would have known that I’ll be going to Myanmar. I’m finally travelling far after a long hiatus. I’m both nervous and excited about travelling.

This trip to Myanmar will be my very first blog trip and I’ll be going on behalf of Tripzilla Magazine and hosted by Myanmar Airways International.

I’m leaving on Sunday and returning to Singapore on Thursday. During the 5-day-4-night trip, I’ll be spending my trip in Yangon and Inle Lake with a small tour group.

I’m excited about seeing Myanmar and tasting its food. I’m also curious about shopping, how much thanaka or longyi should I get?

Shwedagon Pagoda
Shwedagon Pagoda

Source: The Nomad Damsel (I borrow this photo for a while, ok? Thanks!)

I’ll hashtag the trip with #YQinMMR (Hope that doesn’t stand for anything weird!) Follow me on my trip on Instagram and Twitter.

What would you like me to do in Myanmar? Share your comments here or tweet me at @yqtravelling

How to buy a Xiaomi phone online: Unofficial beginner’s guide

redmi note and redmi comparison

After my last not-very-travel-related post, I have another post: Tips and tricks for buying a Xiaomi phone during the sale.

Xiaomi is a Chinese company that makes cheap and alright smartphones. The most basic model available in Singapore, Redmi 1S, is S$169, including shipping charges. This makes it a good enough price point for a backup smartphone, an entry-level phone for people who don’t need that much functionality.

Xiaomi market their phones very cleverly. They don’t sell their products in stores but sell them online during flash sales. These flash sales end really fast because a lot of people want the phone.

redmi note and redmi comparison

I’m writing this Xiaomi phone-buying guide because I’m a self-proclaimed expert at buying them. epic mi fan

Since March 2014, I’ve bought 13 sets of Xiaomi phones, including one Redmi Note just last week during its first round of sale. (I’ve failed during my first two times trying to buy the phones but afterwards it was smooth sailing.)

Here is the unofficial desperate person’s guide to buying a Xiaomi phone. (The official not-so-desperate buying guide is available on Xiaomi Singapore’s Facebook page.

Things to note about buying a Xiaomi phone:

  • You can only buy one phone at a time.
  • But you may be able to buy multiple accessories (earphones, power bank).
  • Having the phone in your cart does not mean you have bought it, you still need to pay.

What to do a day before a Xiaomi sale

  1. Sign up for an account on mi.com.
  2. Link your credit card to your PayPal account.
  3. Save your Name, Address, Phone Number if your browser allows auto-fill in, even though there is a chance that this will not work.
  4. In case #3 doesn’t work, have your Name, Address, Phone Number typed out in Notepad so you can copy-and-paste fast.

What to do 30 minutes before a Xiaomi sale

  1. Sign in to your Xiaomi account half an hour before the sale starts. The login gets jammed nearer the sale.
  2. About 5 minutes before the sale start, open up TWO tabs of page of the phone you want to get. Example here is the Redmi Note page. Notice that the label says “Out of Stock” on the right. How to buy Redmi Note
  3. For the next 5 minutes, refresh the two tabs. Once the page is refreshed, refresh it again and again.
  4. When 11:59am comes, keep tabs on your tabs, the “Add to Cart” sign might appear. Then you’re off. How to buy Xiaomi
  5. Having your phone in the cart does not mean you have bought them. You’ll need to pay for it. Quickly pick the accessories you need.
  6. Fill up your details. Hopefully Google Autofill will do it for you or else you’ll need to copy-and-paste it.
  7. Next is the payment page, it’ll bring you to PayPal. Since you’ve linked a Credit Card (or anything), you’ll check out super fast.
  8. Voila, you’ve successfully purchased a Xiaomi.
  9. Do Step 1 to 7 again if there’s still stock and you need to buy another phone.

Voila, that’s how you buy a Xiaomi phone. The official guide is available on Xiaomi Singapore’s Facebook Page:

Have you successfully bought any Xiaomi phone? Share your tips.

The ugly, tasty truth about overnight muesli

Since I had not been travelling much, I will share a little about my domestic life. Today, I’ll be talking about a simple dish: overnight muesli.

A few months ago, I saw an acquaintance post her overnight muesli on Instagram. I was intrigued and I started making it for work. Since my experiment. a few colleagues and friends have started making their own overnight muesli. Hurray!

I love overnight muesli but it’s not as beautiful as the internet is trying to make you believe.

Beautiful lies about overnight muesli

The ugly truth is of overnight muesli is that once you start digging into it, it looks downright disgusting.

 

A few comments about my overnight muesli that I’ve received:

  • Eww… It looks gross.
  • It looks like baby puke. But it must be tasty ’cause disgusting things are tasty.

The following photo has rolled oats, raisins, honey and Greek yogurt. It looks messy and icky.

Despite all the comments, I still love my overnight muesli and I’ve been having it nearly every morning for breakfast. It’s filling and can keep me filling satisfied until late into the afternoon. It’s also very good for the bowels. ;)

How to make overnight muesli if you’re lazy

After four months of making overnight muesli, I’ve discovered my secret lazy recipe. It requires less effort but is tasty too. In the past, I use regular milk or half-sweetened soy milk then add honey and Greek yogurt.

Nowadays, I use half-sweetened almond-flavored soy milk and I can skip honey and Greek yogurt.

Recipe for overnight muesli

What’s your go-to breakfast? Share your favorite homemade breakfast recipe with me in the comments.

What has YQ been up to? June 2014 update

Hello,

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. Why? Because I haven’t been travelling much so I don’t know what I could share with you good folks.

Anyway, I wanted to give a short update on what’s been happening while I was YQnotTravelling.

I pose with Daruma
I pose with Daruma

Update about my job situation

Since my last major posts about the pros and cons of quitting your job to travel, I have found a job in the travel and tourism industry! *toast a glass of bubbly*

Strangely, there is no official job title for it since the stuff on my name card doesn’t really match my real job. So I introduce myself professionally as a “Content Marketer” but the actual duties are that of a “Blogger”.  It’s still unbelievable today that I’m an actual Blogger (with a big B).

Fun things I’ve been doing

Enough about boring work stuff, now it’s time for the fun stuff.

Since I was hired in March, I couldn’t take long periods of leave for travelling so I had been stuck in Singapore for a while.

I might have Stockholm syndrome since I don’t think life was that boring in the previous months:

  • I went to a friend’s wedding in May

chiawoon wedding.08

I travelled to small town Raub in Pahang for a friend’s wedding. It was great meeting my old friends and getting to feast at the wedding dinner. Om nom nom.

  • I went to another friend’s wedding in Singapore

kei weddingMore happy things happened!

  • My sister is getting married

sis marrying

The official wedding dinner is happening next year but they’re going to register this year. More and more happy things happened.

  • I discovered that Singapore has improv classes

I absolutely adore improv ever since I saw it on Whose Line Is It Anyway? (Improv-A-Ganza is awesome too, with the same cast). I didn’t know it was a real thing that I could actually do.

Then I found out that The Improv Company teaches improv. I’m going to sign up for their longer course when their schedule suits me.

  • I’ve bought music from Amazon France

I have a thing for French musicals and the paranormal. That’s why I was hooked on Dracula, l’amour plus fort que la mort.

I had to jump through multiple hoops to get the soundtrack for Draculabut I have it now! And I play it again and again. This beats trying to listen on Youtube.

What do you want to know about Singapore? I’ll find out for you!

Since I’m stuck in Singapore for a while until any major trips. I thought it would be good to share with you some of the places in Singapore to visit or things to do.

Snapshots of KLIA2–AirAsia’s new airport at KL

klia2
Walking time to departure gates at KLIA2
Most important photo of this post: Walking time to departure gates at KLIA2

KLIA2 is the new terminal for budget carriers flying in or out Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia’s largest budget airline AirAsia moved its operations from the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) to KLIA2 on May 9.

I was flying to KL on May 10 so I had the chance to see the airport while it was still new. Here’s a peek at what the new airport looks like.

Why KLIA2 is so huge?
Before flying, I’ve read advisories from AirAsia telling travellers that the boarding gates are quite far so everyone needs to be early. The walk from the arrival gates to the main terminal did feel quite long, although the view of airplanes from the large windows helped pass time.

Things were still kind of bare when I was at KLIA2. I didn’t get much photos of the arrival hall because I wanted to catch my bus to KL Sentral.

KLIA2 FAQ person
There were these human-FAQ walking around at the airport. They’re helpful with directions and bad at finding a normal trashcan.

The buses are located at Basement 2. I had booked a shuttle bus to KL Sentral from AirAsia. Turns out I could just hop on the bus and show my ticket.

Leaving KLIA2

AirAsia checkin counter at KLIA2
Not many people check in their luggage so the counters are bare.

I had more time to take photos when I was leaving KL. The departure level is the highest of the building and getting here takes more time than I expected.

I like that there are a lot more restaurants at KLIA2 than LCCT. Finally, more food choices. But I only got a cup of latte from McCafe since I ate multiple meals before leaving the city center.

After having my coffee, I had a really difficult time finding a normal trashcan to throw my cup. The human-FAQ couldn’t help me and only pointed to the recycling bins.

More than 95 percent of the trash cans are recycle bins.
KLIA2 is overdoing the recycling bins. It seemed like every corner I see one of these but not a regular trash can. Recycling won’t work if everyone throws their regular trash inside.

International Departure at KLIA2

Departure lounge

Walking time to departure gates at KLIA2
Walking time to departure gates at KLIA2
Long walkway at KLIA 2
The walkway to the international departure lounge was pretty far. The shops weren’t opened so the walk was boring.
KLIA2 depature hall
Empty KLIA2 depature hall
Resting lounge at departure lounge at KLIA2
Resting lounge at departure lounge at KLIA2

How can I get to Westeros? : Prompt 16 of #indie30

map of westeros

Prompt #16: What city in Europe would you like to visit the most?

Having visited Paris in 2011, I can’t really think of any other European city that I would like to visit. I think my imagination has been eroded from too much travelling.

Although I don’t have a a particular city in Europe that I’m dying to visit, if I were dying, I would choose to go to the fictional land of Westeros in Game of Thrones (which is kind of in Europe and filmed in Europe).

Map of Westeros

Credit: Robert whose handsome face I’ve cropped out

Compared to my current life, Westeros has 1000 times more swords and an infinity times more shadows dragons. Those are good enough reasons to go.

I would love have been a part of the storyline but based on my karma, I’d probably end up as Character Who Crosses The Road in the books or the film. Plus, I wouldn’t have survived a day in Flea Bottom.

Actually, come to think of it, I don’t feel like dying that soon. The one reason I want to be in Westeros is so that I can wear fantastic braids all year long (which I have been doing in a mini scale these days).

More on Game of Thrones filming locations:

 

This post is part of 30 Days of Indie Travel Art Project.

Travelling in Asia: Prompt 15 of #indie30

korean fried chicken.41

Prompt #15: If you could pick any country in Asia to go to, which one would you pick and why?

I haven’t been to all parts of Asia but I don’t seem to find the motivation to explore all corners.

I guess living in this continent gives a false sense that it would be easy to travel around so I wouldn’t need to hit all the countries any time soon.

So for today’s choice, I would love to head back to Japan and see the other parts of it that I hadn’t been.

I’ve heard a lot about Hokkaido. It’s supposed to be a land where all seasons are beautiful.

I would love to heard there when lavender season is in. (I wanted to do that even back in 2011’s indie30.) I would love to be there when the King Crabs are fleshy.

Image credit: Jennifer

The only period I wouldn’t want to be in Hokkaido is winter. I dread the cold. Thank goodness the onsen-loving Japanese macaques don’t live there or else it’s a very tempting visit.

Other Asia to-visit list

But if it’s for going to somewhere I’ve not been, South Korea would be my top choice since it is the land of skincare products.

I’m not particularly fond of spicy food which Koreans love. But if it’s spicy fried chicken, I’m up for it. The marinade is so so good.

Korean Fried Chicken

I would also love to visit the cafes in South Korean and drink lattes until I am jittery from caffeine.

Is there any place in Asia that’s on your list? Share it in the comments below.

 

This post is part of 30 Days of Indie Travel Art Project.

One related post: 11 travel blogs from Asia to follow