There are many great places for ex-pats to live in Yangon, but I really wanted to find an apartment near Yaw Min Gyi street. My friend had passed along the contact for realtors at York Realty Yangon, who specialize in apartments in the Yaw Min Gyi street area. The agent that I worked with is a native Burmese man who speaks a good amount of English, so communication wasn’t an issue. My budget for apartments was 300-400 USD a month, and I really wanted air conditioning and wifi. I slowly learned that wifi is very difficult to come by and isn’t as effective as just using a hotspot from your phone through data. Data is also fairly cheap in Yangon. It costs about 15 USD for 14GB of data.
The agent first showed me apartments past Shwedagon Pagoda road on Lanmadaw road and U Wisara Einyar street. The area felt more rural and residential than the downtown feel of Yaw Min Gyio street. The first apartment I saw was being renovated and had the best layout of all the apartments that I saw that day. The monthly rent was 400,000 kyat, approximately 295 USD, so it was under my budget and freshly renovated with a ton of natural light. The other apartment in this neighborhood had an interesting layout and came partially furnished with a monthly rent of 500,000 kyat. The furniture seemed oversized and excessive for the space, and I probably would have preferred it to be unfurnished. Regardless, the first apartment felt like a better fit for me. Then I found out a key bit of information, water in this neighborhood only runs from 6-7AM and 4-5PM. This was a deal breaker for me, and I had no idea that I would have to specify that I wanted running water 24/7.
The first apartment I saw for 400,000 kyat
The second apartment I saw for 500,000 kyat
After seeing some apartments in this neighborhood and then realizing none would work for me, I felt pretty discouraged. I asked the agent if there were any apartments that he could show me with running water 24/7. He could think of one, and I asked if I could see the apartment right away. The apartment was on Nawaday street, which is parallel to Yaw Min Gyi street and has a very similar feel. I already knew I liked this neighborhood more. The apartment itself came partially furnished again with a lot of wooden furniture and a monthly rent of 500,000 kyat. The layout of the apartment wasn’t ideal, but it was decently clean and large. I decided to take this apartment mainly because of the location and 24/7 running water.
Since I’ve been living here, there are some ants in the kitchen and a few lizards. I’m embracing the lizards because I’m hoping they can take care of the bugs in the apartment. There’s also some mold on the walls and tiles that I couldn’t clean away, but I don’t think it’s harmful. All of the water comes from this old, rusty bin and then a water pressure machine pumps the water to the various facets. You definitely cannot drink the water here, and it smells like rust when showering. There are two AC units, one in the bedroom and one in the living room, but they often do not work because the voltage is too high. This has to do with the electricity issues in Yangon.