No.470, Thitsar Road , South Okklapa Township , Yangon Myanmar
  • How to get your fly fishing fix on the weekend when you live in Yangon? (part 1)

How to get your fly fishing fix on the weekend when you live in Yangon? (part 1)

(By Vincent Jalabert, Myanmar Fly Fishing, 11 November 2017)


Having been living in Yangon since 2008, it is only since 2016 that I really started exploring Myanmar with my fly fishing rods. And when you live in Yangon, that question comes naturally...: where do you go fishing on the weekend to get your weekly fly fishing fix? There is no one answer to this. Follow me as I explore possibilities...

There is one place in Yangon called Mya Kyun Thar Park. It is about upper downtown to mid-town, on the eastern bank of Inya Lake, very well known to all Yangoners.

(Entrance of Mya Kyun Thar Park)

A well-intentioned friend recently asked me if I had tried fly fishing there. Since it is a very reasonable distance from where I live, about 35 minutes’ walk, I found it a fair question, and the place worth a try. After all, if it proved to be quiet and nice enough with a few hungry tilapias or snakehead fishes, it could be the perfect weekend fly fishing fix. I also remembered that I had already been there somewhere around 2011 with my then girlfriend, walking in a quiet and green environment, fairly clean with no-one around.

So on a Sunday afternoon, I resolved myself to give it a try, hungry I was to find my weekend fly fishing fix... Backpack on my back, rod and flies in the bag, my GoPro attached to my backpack's left strap, I started my half an hour hike through Yangon's busy streets, full of determination.

Once there, I only had to go through a gate, guarded by a sleeping man in an old uniform, then among ghost structures of unfinished buildings, finally through restaurants standing on both sides of the concrete path before reaching the area I remembered to be green, clean and quiet.

(Ghost structure of an unfinished building…)

Well, that place was no more, except it was, just different from my memories that had forged my determination to come fishing there...

The old tarmac road full of potholes is now a new concrete road. Greeneries are still there, but quietness and loneliness no more...

Cars with black tinted windows, parked in the protecting shade of beautiful centuries-old trees, engine and air-conditioning on, kind of killed the expected feeling of peaceful and quietness I had built on my way.

But it is only when I started looking at the trash on the concrete road and on its side that I understood... And for trash, there is a lot of it. Sure you find the usual and too common plastic bottles, plastic bags, Styrofoam takeaway boxes, empty cans... But what eventually caught my attention was way more singular and explained the cars, well, not the cars themselves, but the black tinted windows and running engines of those parked cars.
Used condoms and their packaging, lying on the concrete, in plain view, not shy, not hiding.

(Garbage littering the road at Mya Kyun Thar Park, including some obvious items…)

I kind of froze and hid my GoPro at the bottom of my backpack in a very quick and nervous move. I had not recorded anything, but I just suddenly felt that displaying a camera in that environment was kind of inappropriate and could lead to a dangerous misunderstanding... After all, I only wanted to go fishing... And the fishing rod, even still folded in the backpack, felt equally inappropriate and out of place.

Yet, I couldn't resolve myself to being beaten so quickly, that way! I kept walking, decided to visit everywhere I could, every corner of the park, just in case a forgotten piece of paradise would be hiding there, behind a tree, some tall grass, or a bunch of bushes, left to grow wild, for the sole purpose of offering me the so much sought after and anticipated refuge from the ugliness I had just realised and that was lying in plain sight.

(The water is not far, but fishing, really…?!?)

I walked, but I failed. Or was I too demanding of quietness and nature that I could not appreciate what was offered in front of me? Well, maybe it is a question of perspective, but I eventually resigned myself to the idea that this was not it. Yes I am looking for my weekend fly fishing fix, but not at any cost. No I will not be fishing where trash is being thrown of black tinted window cars, just not my thing, really not my thing...

Back home in the evening, that same friend who had asked me if I had tried fishing in Mya Kyun Thar park called me to know how my fishing experience had gone. He knew I was going to try there on that very same day, I had told him, barely hiding my excitement...

Still, when he called me on that same evening, there was still some excitement in my voice. I didn't tell him anything, only that I would write it down for him and others to read...

So here it is my friend, that was my fly fishing experience in Mya Kyun Thar Park.
And just in case you are wondering, I am still looking for my weekend fly fishing fix...

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