In February-March of 2012 I took a motorbike trip with my 68 year old father around Myanmar (Burma) as a way to explore the country on 2 wheels. I live in Mandalay and Pyin Oo Lwin with my wife, who grew up here, and son, who was born here.I never much rode far outside of the Mandalay area so when my Dad came to visit I had the perfect excuse. We wrote a trip report and posted pictures for our family but it has now become a bit of a guide for anyone else who is interested in these areas or, more specifically, to anyone who wants to travel Myanmar on a motorcycle. If you are interested in doing a trip like this, read this blog, ask around on the travel forums, check with the Myanmar Travels and Tours website to see which areas are off limits and read the news. Our trip worked for us but things change and roads open up or close so please seek out updated information.
Zach B

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Day 4:Kyaihtiyo (Kinpun) to Kyaikkami

Day 4: Kyaihtiyo (Kinpun) to Kyaikkami
February 23rd 2012

View Myanmar Trip Day 4: Kyaikhto to Kyaikkami in a larger map

Start: 9:55am Kinpun
Arrival: 5:35pm Kyaikkami
Travel Time: 7 hours 40 min
Total Distance Traveled (Zach): 250.1km / 155miles
Total Distance Traveled (David): 248.7km / 154 miles
David's Efficiency: 53.5km per liter, 127mpg
Zach's Efficiency: 56.13km per liter, 132mpg

Thank you Bawga Theiddhi all staff

We got up early today with very sore feet, I also had sore shins from the 7 mile walk last night. We ate a simple breakfast of eggs and toast. It wasn't a buffet and that was perfect for us and the hotel because we didn't see any other guests. The staff at Bawga Theiddhi Hotel we're very attentive but not as overbearing as the people at the Naypyitaw hotel. We went upstairs, packed up and left. The staff came outside and waved goodbye to us and wished us a safe trip. We were very happy with our stay there even if nobody told us yesterday that the last trucks down the mountain leave at 6pm.
Rubber plantation
We made a short trip on the road from Kinpun back to the main road, Highway 8. We turned south and the road was great all the way to Mawlamyine. It was smooth and had some great turns as it weaves back and forth across the rail line down south. I saw a lot of side cars on the motorbikes on this leg of our journey. These sidecars are common in Thailand and I always wanted one for my bike but I have never seen one around Mandalay, or anywhere else in Myanmar. Many people also drive around with their headlights on during the day here too which will get you a ticket in Mandalay. I don't know if the traffic laws are different here or what. 
The mountains are on our right here because we turned around to take a photo.
We had flat lands with rice fields on our right and mountains on our left the whole way to Mawlamyine. After we filled up at a gas station we had to cross Myanmar's longest bridge, 3250 meters, into Mawlamyine. We decided that we would hit Mawlamyine on our way back  north so we passed right through the town on our way to Thanbyuzayat. 
Fill up and retie
Highway 8 turned to crap after Mawlamyine, the road looked alright but there were so many bumps and dips that we felt like we were riding a mechanical bull. We would be cruising along at a decent speed, then we would hit one of these bumps and have our butts bounce off the seat. Some places were so bumpy we had to go much slower so we wouldn't fly off the bikes. 
We arrived in Thanbyuzayat and stopped to walk around a bit and get a soda and some Indian bread. We rode past the war memorial cemetery because it was already past 4pm and we could get it on the way back. We rode about 20 minutes until we got to Setse Beach. We paid a 200 kyat toll and rode along the beach. We saw one hotel on our left as we got in but rode along the shore until we found where the main stretch of hotel would be. We never saw another hotel, just a few bungalows here and there but there were no signs. We decided to pull over on a sandy vacant lot to go out to the beach and look back at the shore to see what we could see. We didn't see much in terms of hotels but I did see a dead dog on the beach. That was interesting because it's tail was just bones while the rest of the body still had flesh and fur. The beach was very unkempt, there were hundreds, if not thousands, of rubber flip flop soles washed ashore with the piles of driftwood.  We didn't see anyone else on this beach. Probably because it was more muddy than sandy as you got close to the water.
Setse beach, not so much to look at
unless you're looking for a dead beach dog
 We thought we'd try to see the first hotel we passed and see what it was like. The hotel was $20 a night but they only had two rooms, both without electricity. The first room was quite clean and tidy but it just had one bed. We looked at the other room but it had 3 beds and the bathroom just had a toilet and a barrel of water with a bowl for you to take a shower.  We thought Setse was the only place around with hotels open to foreigners but the boy who showed us the rooms honestly told us there were many hotels in Kyaikkami, just up the road. Dad and I quickly backtracked on the road to the beach and turned off the road to Kyaikkami.

Yele Paya and scary-fast currents behind it
It was almost 5:30pm when we finally got to Kyaikkami. We saw their famous temple, that is on a rock protruding into the ocean, and looked for a place to stay. We only found 1 hotel but that was good enough. It was 24,000 kyat for a room with no hot water and a fan. At least we had 2 beds and they generate their own power at night. We checked in, showered up and were back out soon afterwards. I think we are the only foreigners around, we get a lot of funny looks and kids yelling  the only English they knew at us like: "yes", "ok", and "hello". The town seems to only have the ocean temple, Yele Paya, going for it but, as I read my 10 year old guidebook,  It is also famous for an American baptist missionary that lived here over 200 years ago  named Adoniram Judson. We didn't plan on do any preaching so we just went for a quick walk, ate at a beer station,(BBQ restaurant) and went back to our little hotel across the street. We plan to leave early tomorrow and catch the places we skipped over on our way here.

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