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How to Get a Decent Internet Connection in Yangon
How to Get a Decent Internet Connection in Yangon


Internet is one of the vital tools for any modern employee at most of the jobs in many countries, therefore high speed Internet connection is something we take for granted. This is not the case for Myanmar.


Being the only representative of a European company in Yangon, I don’t have and actually don’t need my own office but just a work space with decent Internet connection. Since my arrival six months ago I have tried different options searching for a place with reasonable Internet.  


Using Wi-Fi in cafés and hotels


During my first days I worked from cafés and hotels lounge bars most of the time. In most of them you can get relatively fast speed Internet however you have to buy at least a drink. For example in Traders Hotel you need to buy something every hour to get access code.  It also happened that my usual café was completely full with people using Wi-Fi. On those days it was almost impossible to open even email. This really needed a solution, so I decided to get internet at home.


Home-office: first attempt


The internet we got was supposed to be best they had at the local Internet office. They guaranteed it was an ADSL dedicated line, a much better option than the satellite provider. Once at home, I’ve noticed it was not as fast as promised; it was real slow. I could use my Gmail only in the basic html mode. Only early in the morning the Internet was fast enough to not only check my emails but even watch videos on YouTube!  After an investigation, it appeared that the Internet line, which was supposed to be a private, was shared with other clients. What a rip off!


Shared office


For a few weeks I would wake up at 6 am to work until 9 or 10 am while Internet was fast, but this couldn’t go on for longer. I was not only getting tired but also couldn’t catch up with colleagues back in Europe due to a time difference – when my Internet was already super slow they would only wake up.


It was enough and I started to look for shared offices. I found The Hub co-working space located around the corner; Internet speed seemed to be reasonable and there were not too many people. Unfortunately for me, the place became too popular among newly arrived expats and Internet got slow. Once again I had to search further.  


The next attempted was a serviced office SERV-SMART, which also offered a shared desk solution. The Internet was fine and I liked the serviced office concept: managed reception, printing facilities and meeting room are available during working hours.  After a while the office was getting busy with new tenants which slowed down the Internet. Well, I decided to leave.


Home-office: second attempt


The last resort solution was improving the home Internet, so I decided to get satellite Internet Red-Link, the strongest after fiber optic option on the market. As I often need to transfer heavy documents to the headquarters of my company this is the best solution. Of course, I need to be careful when transferring and streaming too often: since the Internet quota is limited, you can end up paying a pricy bill when exceeding your data allowance! But at least I can transfer all documents, have a decent Skype connection and event stream videos!


My quest for Internet was rather long but at least with a happy end. I am very curious for what will come after the launch of Ooredoo and Telenor this summer! Everyone has very high hopes that these companies will improve not only mobile networks but also Internet connections.


Author:

Ruben D'Hauwers


The Concept of Beauty Revealed

Despite a great variety of beauty salons in Yangon, it is quite difficult to find a good place to indulge yourself with high-quality manicure or pedicure services. The first challenge is that the local standard is rather different from Western: the manicure usually doesn’t include cuticle removal and treatment, and pedicure – feet pilling and cleaning. Another issue is that one can be easily tricked by a low price of services and get exactly what they are paying for – low quality work. 


After experiencing a horrible manicure and pedicure treatment at one of the smaller salons, I was rather disappointed and didn’t know who I can trust to do my nails. Definitely I’m not an easy customer because I am used to a certain level of standard, but how can any girl dare to compromise about her looks and beauty?


Luckily I have a friend, a local Burmese lady, who is a very knowledgeable about Yangon.  I asked her advice regarding the best place to get manicure and pedicure and she took me to her favorite place – Beauty Concepts.  The experience exceeded any of my expectations.


I have tried their Classical mani and pedi and I must admit that never had such a great service before! Beauty Concepts is really client-centric – as their customer, you will seat in a comfy chair, get a soft drink of your choice; the staff will always smile and ask if everything okay and if you’re happy with the services.


The employees are well trained and they know their clients’ needs: perfect trimming and filing, accurately removed cuticle and precise nail coloring. Moreover, they do a short massage hands, arms, feet and legs. Another important aspect of the quality is the products they use. All the nail products are of OPI brand which is considered one of the best in the world.


I see a lot of locals and foreigners patronizing the salon despite the fact that prices are reasonable but definitely not cheap. Classic manicure is 10 USD and pedicure 12 USD.  However I believe this investment is nothing comparing to the treatment you get. You will definitely feel yourself as a beauty queen!


Beauty Concepts have three outlets at the moment – at Dhamazedi Marketplace, City Mart Myaynigone, and the recently opened upstairs of Gusto Café.


I became a loyal customer of Beauty Concepts since October 2013 and don’t even dare to try any other beauty salon not to be disappointed. Whenever my overseas friends visit Yangon, I take them to Beauty Concepts. They say it is the best service for a great money value.  


Author:

Lyuba Byessonova

Editor at Yangon Life

 
Sizzle Fitness Class

Zumba fitness class every Thursday.

 
Unique Alternative Lifestyle in Yangon City

Pun Hlaing Golf Estate Residences

I bet many Yangoners, especially expatriates and returnees, would agree with me that life in the city gets very dusty, noisy and chaotic, no matter where you live – downtown or in Golden Valley. It’s getting more difficult to find quality accommodation that would fit a more modern standard of living. Both newcomers and long-time residents of Yangon are facing many challenges, especially finding that apartment with a suitable layout and decor combined with some access to outdoor living.  


I had chosen to live downtown for the convenience of social life and close proximity to work. After a while I felt suffocated by the heaviness of city life and claustrophobic in my own apartment. It takes much more than just four walls to call a place your ‘home’ – it should bring you comfort, peace and the feeling of security.


Therefore I wonder: can one live a completely different city life where we can balance indoor with the need for outdoor living?  Is it possible to have it all in Yangon?  In search for the answer I went on a discovery trip to check out Pun Hlaing Golf Estate Serviced Residences, located in Tharyar Township on North West of Yangon.


After a 30 minutes car drive from the city centre, we entered the Pun Hlaing Golf Estate where I could instantly see the difference – lush and fresh greenery within a safe gated community where we were welcomed by friendly security guards.


The serviced apartments are located in block G of the Lake View Residences. Upon arrival, a doorman with a welcoming Myanmar smile met us at the entrance, and immediately l felt at home with such a beautiful warm greeting.


When I got inside the apartment the first reaction was astonishment – it was truly an oasis! The modern design, perfect finishing, and the obvious attention to details were impressive. The contemporary interior was designed by British designers and the exquisite furniture is imported from Thailand. Although all works are done by local professionals.  I had a tour around this gorgeous 2250 sq. ft. apartment checking out the living room, ensuite master bedroom, two guest bedrooms, fully fitted kitchen and bathroom with modern appliances and accessories. But what definitely sets this residence apart from anything I’ve seen is the long and wide 690 sq. ft. balcony which can be accessed from all bedrooms and the living room.  It’s the ideal place to have a barbeque or a party with friends and family.


I was thinking that life in this serviced apartment could not be more perfect and easy. You have a luxurious interior and warm ambience without the need to worry about power shortages or water pumps, since all the essential services are provided 24/7; even a maid service included into the rental price. It’s in a ready to move in condition! This apartment is a great fit for a family with children, a couple or a single person who likes to host guests.


We were hesitant to leave such a perfect place but I was looking forward to see what more Pun Hlaing Golf Estate had to offer.


While driving along the wide lanes towards the Country Club, I got to enjoy the serenity of beautifully manicured grounds and gardens. I didn’t notice any disturbing elements of everyday life in the city (e.g. open sewage and bundles of electrical wires hanging overhead). All the infrastructure for water and electricity supply is hidden underground which is unique for Yangon and uncommon in most other South East Asian cities.


With jealousy, I was observing people biking along the roads. This is something I truly miss doing – cycling in a safe and pollution free environment. I could also imagine that golf estate is a dream of any runner with its 7 km of continuous running route. Obviously the residents have access to an 18-hole golf course and a driving range.


The Country Club nestles on five acres of magnificently landscape grounds offering complimentary sports facilities to all residents including two grass tennis courts, free form swimming pool, and fully equipped gymnasium. Not to mention that residents get discounted prices at the Oasis Bistro & Bar, and the tranquil Oasis Spa & Beauty Salon.


Overall the environment of Pun Hlaing encourages you to live a healthier lifestyle by offering a variety of sporting activities and convenience.


On the way back from the golf estate I contemplated the trade-off between my life downtown to the one at Pun Hlaing Serviced Residences. The conclusion was obvious to me! Today Pun Hlaing Golf Estate is the only development that offers a rare combination of elegant and spacious indoor living with the tranquillity of healthy outdoor lifestyle. At the same time you have all the conveniences of the essential facilities and services at hand, and proximity to city centre is another bonus. There is no other alternative for this style of living in our Yangon city.


Author:

Lyuba Byessonova

Editor at Yangon Life

 
Top 5 Things to Do in Yangon


From visiting religious sights to enjoying sunset with a cocktail in hand.


1.   Shwedagon Pagoda

This is your number one must see.  It’s truly spectacular.  Some people recommend sunset and sunrise but any time is great; just be aware that midday is hot and humid.  Rain makes the floor very slippery too of course and you are not allowed shoes, so bear that in mind for the older and less steady amongst you.  I don’t think it matters when you go, just make sure you do, even if you only have a few hours in town.  You will be offered a guide, mostly English speaking but the odd French and Japanese are available (negotiate payment first).  Frankly though, just marvel at the sheer size and volume of not just the Stupa itself but the many smaller temples and Buddhas surrounding it.  Top tip:  Don’t miss the museum/photographic gallery by the northern entrance.  It’s the only way to see the stunning amount of jewellery and gems that bedeck the top of the stupa.  Awesome.


2.  Bogoyke Market

An absolute must for souvenir shopping,  I always advise visitors to go early and then go back again towards the end of their stay.  First time it’s a bit overwhelming because it’s huge.  There are whole sections of stalls dedicated to Lacquerware, mother of pearl, silks, puppets, umbrellas, jade and gems.  Oh, the gems!  Go when it’s cool because there is no air conditioning and you’ll barely last an hour if it’s hot.  Don’t forget the moz spray and keep moving – because you need to do some price comparisons!  Good buys are the textiles especially; a couple of yards of brightly embroidered silk/cotton mixes for around $10, even less for 100% cotton and men’s longyi (skirt) material is next to nothing.  There are tailors on the eastern side too, especially good are the men’s shirts but you will need time to get one completed.  Jewellery quality varies but there are literally hundreds of stalls to look at, so make sure you visit a few before buying.  Most will also make up items and all will resize rings for you.  Just beware that the finish can be a bit hit and miss.  Expect to pay anywhere between $10 for cabochon sapphire earrings to $15 000 for a pink sapphire (stone only).


3.  Sakura Tower

This office block is certainly nothing special except for its central downtown location (opposite Traders Hotel) and its 24th floor cafe and restaurant, with almost 360 degree views of the city.  It’s the only place in town you will get a really good look at the layout and the buildings and also have a fantastic view of the riverside and the very busy river traffic.  The best bit however is the stunning view of the Shwedagon, and on a sunny day you can stand at the floor-to-ceiling windows and be blinded by the sun glinting off the gold.  Top tip:  Don’t bother with the food.  Drinks are fine, good coffee and reasonable juices and smoothies, but the food is nothing to write home about.


4.  Cocktails at sunset

There are few places to catch a really good sunset in Yangon, but they are well worth it, especially if you can get the Shwedagon in too!  Start off at the south-eastern end of Kandaggyi Lake, where a selection of eateries offer outside seating and a good view.  The balcony at Agnes restaurant (in the Kandaggyi Palace Hotel) offers a similar vista, at a slightly higher price.  Otherwise rock up to L’Alchimiste which sits on the north-eastern side of Inya Lake and offers lawns or a balcony for both drinking and viewing.  Alfa Hotel is more centrally located and has a stunning rooftop bar area which offers great views of the Shwedagon at any time of day or night.  Finally, check out both Vista Bar (West Shwegondine) and the Space Bar (Kaba Aye Pagoda Road) which may not offer full views of the actual sun going down but give a good perspective of rooftop life and yes, the Shwedagon of course!


5.  The Heritage District

No visit to Yangon is complete without a look at the old colonial buildings downtown.  Some, such as The Strand Hotel, are famous and fabulously renovated of course.  This can be a good starting point as it sits amongst so many other buildings; the Post Office, Port Authority, British Embassy and more.  Other buildings are a little bit worse for wear but all have a history and grandeur that is hard to beat.  You can find suggested walking routes in all sorts of guidebooks and check online too.  The Strand has a rather nice map, which shows the city with buildings of special interest highlighted with photos and a brief description and history.  My favourite?  Don’t miss the Secretariat on Theinbyu Road.  The old seat of British colonial power it is now derelict but still a spectacular sight. 


By Vicky Blades

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