Burma Belly

The morning we left our hotel in Inle Lake, Nyaung Shwe, my travel partner and I were feeling….a bit off. Our tummies weren’t in the best of moods. Maybe we over indulged the day before, maybe that Thai Chicken Salad was a bit too spicy, maybe the fish wasn’t fresh, maybe one too many cocktails? Who knew!

We had an afternoon flight to catch, to Yangon, the last leg of our trip in Myanmar. So we sucked it up and kept on.

Once in, formerly known, Rangoon, we took a taxi to the Savoy Hotel, a haven in this exciting and bustling city. We were thrilled and grateful for this oasis!

Savoy Hotel Yangon_Entrance Webdaten (c) Savoy Hotel Yangon

Still feeling a little “off” but starved, we decided to check out the hotel’s Kipling’s restaurant.  We ordered a couple of Australian beef burgers and enjoyed them overlooking the glorious pool.

Without doing much, exhaustion set in. We decided to call it an early night. The following day’s itinerary was packed with lots of things to see and do….and hopefully with a good nights rest we could sleep off this oddness in our guts.

The following day we took a taxi to Sule Pagoda Road adjacent to the 2,000 year namesake temple.


We walked from there to Strand Road with it’s wonderful lineup of colonial era buildings.

Yangon became the capital of Myanmar after the British conquered. They moved the capital from Mandalay and used Yangon as a trading post. The influence of the Brits can be seen throughout the city’s colorful yet crumbling buildings.

As a result of this invasion, the city has the most impressive and largest number of colonial era buildings in Southeast Asia.


With its tree lined streets, Yangon is an intriguing place. It’s the largest metropolis in the country, therefore lots of traffic jams, construction sites and international offices. There’s a wave of new restaurants, bars and shops and a diverse range of museums, galleries and vibrant markets.


We decided to have lunch at Union Bar & Grill. It’s a lovely restaurant, well known within the expat community. It has an east meets west type of menu with great options. Perfect place to get a bite and chill.

Indoor seating at Union Bar & Grill
Nice bar and Union Bar & Grill

I ordered the veggie platter with chick pea grilled patties, roasted pumpkin, Burmese tomato salad, morning glory and probably the best hummus I’ve ever tried.  My friend ordered the grilled pork chop with roasted baby potatoes and fresh garden salad. The food was absolutely outstanding. The reviews and recommendations were spot on.

Veggie Platter
Grilled pork chop

We enjoyed our meal and ordered the check. It was time to go. We had lots of things to see.

The minute the waiter brought the bill to the table my stomach had a different itinerary planned! It was time to go…but not to sightsee the city.

It had me going to the ladies room and fast! The tour of the restaurant’s restroom facility went on about 5 times or so. Speed walking from the dinning room, passed the bar to the end of the restaurant. It became a walk of shame. People know and you know they know.

It royally sucked and I was in no condition to be out and about.

We called a cab. All I could think of was, dear Baby Jesus, let it be a speedy driver and no traffic jams!  We hopped into the taxi, which took about 15 minutes to get back to the hotel. The entire drive back I was in a slight fetal position, squeezing my legs together and wrapping my arms around my waist.

Luckily we made it to the hotel room without incident. I took some over the counter meds, I had brought with me, and laid down for a while. Hoping my stomach would settle.

Well it didn’t and hours later, there was a battle in my insides going on. It got progressively worse. It was like the Burmese war against the British during Monsoon season.

It was time for me to go and get some medical attention. The cramping was so bad it would take my breath away and my eyes would tear up.

Good thing I had purchased traveler’s insurance through World Nomads. I got in contact with them and after a short while on the phone, they advised to go to the international clinic at Parami Hospital.

I showed up bent over from the pain. The insurance company had called in beforehand and spoke with the clinic. They were waiting for me and quickly showed me in to the ER.

The nurse and the assistant immediately started to take my vitals while asking thorough questions. After putting a stethoscope on my belly, they checked me for everything! Apparently the war going inside my stomach was intense. They did a sonogram, x-ray, blood work and other types of tests.

For being one of the top hospitals, the clinic itself, isn’t fancy. It’s very humble looking and quite small. The staff were amazingly attentive and delicate. I cannot get over how gentle everyone was from the doctor, to the nurse and the nurses assistant.

I had become so dehydrated they couldn’t get the IV needle properly in my vein. The doctor on duty came to sincerely apologize. He genuinely felt horrible and was “ashamed” they had to stick me again. He personally did it himself, in the most compassionate of ways, to ensure it was successful without causing me anymore pain.

I was given an I.V. drip with some medicine and within a couple of hours my test results were in. I thought for some reason my intestines had exploded or tied themselves up in knots.  The official diagnosis was severe viral gastroenteritis.

The symptoms for this awful intestinal infection can start 1 to 3 days after ingesting contaminated food or water or by being in contact with someone who has it. I honestly don’t know how I got it, but for sure it wasn’t at the Union Bar & Grill. I had this since before arriving in Yangon.

When traveling abroad, I try to always go prepared and take meds with me just in case. I’m also cautious of where to eat and pick places where food is cooked fresh and not sitting around for a long time. But as the saying goes, sh!t happens, literally! It doesn’t matter how careful you are, an infection can sneak itself in you through food or water.

It’s quite common to get sick when traveling, especially with Traveler’s Diarrhea.  My traveling partner did have a bout of this which started the day before but it was manageable. A couple of Imodium’s and he was good to go.

Unfortunately, this was more than just a case of the runs for me. It was Burma Belly at its best and it ruined the day. By the time I was released from the clinic and back at the hotel it was passed 2 a.m.

The next day we had a sightseeing tour and had to be up at 6 in the morning. Oh my, what a dilemma. I was spent and my body longed to stay in bed, take it easy and enjoy the comfy Savoy Hotel.  But we only had one day left in Yangon and barely got to see a thing. What’s a girl to do?

Fortunately for me, I suffer from major wanderlust and that condition out weighed my stomach problems. Although I missed out on sightseeing that day in Yangon, the following day, I was feeling a lot better. Not quite 100% but good enough to take on some sites. I was bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to go!



3 Comments Add yours

  1. Tina Schell says:

    Hate it when that happens but you made the most of it!

    Liked by 1 person

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