anyone living in Burma?

anyone living in Burma?

Postby Anca_wade » Fri 06 May 2005 04:02

I'm an English teacher living in the Philippines at the moment. My husband is considering taking a new job in Rangoon, Burma.

I've looked up on the internet info regarding living there, but I wasn't very succesful.

I would like to know a few things:
* how polluted it is? (after Manila we're desperate for some fresh air)
* are there any good gyms with sauna and swimming pool?
* how easy/safe is to get out of the city?
* can you get DSL at home?

Any other info will very much appreciated.
Thanks a lot,
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Postby Dave » Fri 06 May 2005 07:06

Hi, Anca, and welcome to the forum.

I'm no expert on Burma, but I'm not altogether surprised you couldn't find much on the Internet about Burma - the military regime there (SPDC - State Peace and Development Council) don't allow their citizens free access to the Internet, so there's not much information available. (For that reason alone I'd be amazed if you could get DSL.) The SPDC have renamed both Rangoon and Burma - have you tried searching for info on Yangon and Myanmar instead?

The economy is in a dire state and, the last I heard, it was getting worse rather than better. From that point of view you're unlikely to find gyms, though pollution is unlikely to be a problem unless you're right on top of a factory.

Even if travel out of the city is possible, your movements are likely to be monitored carefully - there have been several cases of politically aware foreigners trying to spread literature that the regime doesn't like - pro-democracy, pro-Aung San Suu Kyi and her party, all that sort of stuff.

Sorry if none of this sounds very encouraging. By all accounts the people are lovely, but desperately poor and with little prospect of getting rid of their military rulers any time soon.
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Postby Victor » Mon 07 Nov 2005 15:50

In addition I would suggest you look at the Foreign office website. Here is the link to Burma
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Postby Maung Maung » Mon 17 Apr 2006 19:37

Smoky exhaust emmisions from very badly maintained buses and trucks is about as bad as the pollution gets here. It's not the cleanest of cities but the air quality is better than Bangkok!

There are several gyms and saunas to which you can belong, last time I checked monthly membership was around US$40 per month.

To leave the city is as simple as getting in your car and heading off, or alternatively jumping on a plane/train. As a foreigner they will make you pay a much higher rate and often this has to be paid in US$, they worship the US$ here and seem to think that every foreigner has their own money tree. For example they will shaft you for US$160 for a return ticket to Mandalay (locals pay US$80 for the same seat), you can fly to Bangkok for US$200. As a foreigner you also have to pay ridiculous rates for hotels, whereas a local might pay US$4 per night, you will pay a minimum of US$25 per night for the same room.

You can get DSL at home, the performance is similar to a 28.8 modem though but they label it and sell it as broadband. The service is so oversubscribed and overloaded it's becoming a bad joke. There is a "one off" setup cost of around US$1,000 with a monthly fee of around US$60/70. Large parts of the internet are censored and all email is "scanned".

The Govt. here is pretty much trying to shut down private schools, they don't seem to like educated people, they tend to pose a threat! I'd think about that before signing any contract.

Electricity is a major problem, most parts of Yangon get 12 hours on and 12 hours off. You can rent a local house for around US$200 to US$700 a month (you can pay far more though, up to US$3,000 a month), technically you should pay your bills (i.e. telephone, water and electric) in US$ as a foreigner, this makes it quite expensive, more than what you pay in the UK. It is likely that you will require a generator, you can hire these for around US$400 a month, expect US$200-400 for diesel purchase.

Alternative accommodation would include the serviced apartments (Golden Towers, Mi Casa, Marina, Grand Myatta and Sakura, avoid others as they simply masquerade as serviced apartments) which range from approx. US$700 - 900 for a one bedroom, US$1000 - 1200 for a 2 bedroom and US$1500 - 2500 for a 3 bedroom. Advantages of the serviced apartments are that they include all bills except telephone and have 24 hour electricity (by means of a backup generator). All of the serviced apartments have their own swimming pool, gym/sauna which is included in the price. They also have far better security and all provide designated parking. Some are better than others and they are spread about, location may dictate where you wish to live.

I appreciate your original post was several months ago, but this information may prove useful to any other Brit seeking more up to date information.
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