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Published: December 23rd 2018
The boarding hall. They were all like this - you can see one line passenger waiting. They did get a little busier closer to the time our flight was due but not much. The airstrip was pretty similar.
Today we flew to Phnom Phen, Cambodia. Typically it was a beautiful sunny day in Mandalay as we left. After packing and breakfast we checked out and ordered our ‘grab’ taxi.
Leaving at 9am the traffic was lighter than usual and our predicted hours journey took just 40mins. Unlike in the other countries we’ve travelled to the drivers here tend to be fairly good, the cars have seatbelts that work and you don’t have a constant fear of death.
Mandalay airport is the largest international airport in Myanmar. It’s also incredibly quiet. Driving down the long drive was quite surreal as we were pretty much the only car on it. We had to queue for check in (despite having checked in online first) but we were the only counter that seemed to be open. Going through passport control and security there were no queues. Very different experience to any of the London airports. It also meant we had turned up ridiculously early for our 1255 flight.
Wandering around the fairly deserted boarding halls we were surprised to find them full of shops & restaurants, with more staff than customers. The lounges also had around 500 seats in and 1 person waiting. Looking out onto the airstrip there were no planes to be seen. Eventually a little training fighter plane landed but hardly a busy international airport.
We wondered around, found a little Shan design ball as a Christmas decoration, read and had some yummy Shan soup noodles before boarding our delayed plane.
Bangkok airport is much more normal and unremarkable. I, slightly depressingly, read the paper whilst in Starbucks enjoying a cup of tea. Even in the Bangkok Times you can read about whether or not Corbyn call May a ‘stupid woman’ - seriously? Does it matter? Can’t they just work together to sort out a Brexit deal for the next few weeks? I’m glad we won’t have access to papers or internet for a few days over Christmas.
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