I had every intention of going for a nice road run in Yangon, Myanmar’s capital city. However, once I got there, the pavements transpired against me.
They were badly broken up, with chunks of concrete littering the sidewalk. Running on the road wasn’t viable either. The cars, though dating from pre-sanction days, drive fast in the capital. There is little room to be hopping on and off the pavements into the path of these colonial-era vehicles.
Instead I opted to visit two gyms, one at Traders Hotel and other one at the Sedona Hotel. Both of these luxurious marble-lined hotels had treadmills which worked just fine. However both were ridiculously expensive, 15 US dollars and 10 US dollars respectively. They only accepted foreign exchange notes that were neither creased nor crinkled. Finery and fitness both come at high prices.
Yangon itself was a fun place to be. It’s like an Indian-ised version of Cambodia, with a sprinkling of excellent English language thrown in thanks to a dose of British colonalisation. I stopped at tea houses to drink strong cuppas with condensed milk. I visited the Shewadagon Pagoda, the touring golden stupa that dominates Yangon’s skyline.
I wandered around Kandawgyi Lake. The wooden walk-ways on its waters allowed for a peaceful stroll, though were too bumpy and had too many nails in them for a bit of proper training.
At Inya Lake, Yangon’s other main water, I found where locals manage to get some running in. At 7am, just I was leaving the country on my way to the airport, I saw quite a number jogging around its banks. I’m sure there are other places to go for runs in Yangon, but unfortunately they aren’t the most obvious.
Want to hear more running tales from weird and wonderful places? Check out my book, “Mud, Sweat and Tears” with training stories from Haiti, Congo, Laos, and Rwanda.