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

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Day 15: Pyay to Magwe

Day 15: Pyay to Magwe
March 5 2012
Map (not exact route because new road that bypasses Taungdwingyi is not on google maps)

Thank you Magwe Immigration! if only the immigration officer in Mandalay was this nice!

Start: 845am Pyay
Arrive: 4:30pm Magwe
Total distance traveled Zach: 222.7km, 138 miles
Total distance traveled, David : 221.4km, 137.3 miles
Dad's fuel efficiency:50.3 km per liter, 118.1 mpg
Zach's fuel efficiency: 50.4 km per liter,137.3 mpg

The trip north to Magway was through a mostly arid area, reminding me
of the central plains of Turkey. Near Pyay rice farmers were tilling
their flooded fields, riding wooden implements pulled by water buffalo
and oxen. The fields were in all stages of development, from dry
fallow, to flooded tilling, small rice shoots being planted and rice
that was nearly mature. The fields were probably supplied with water
from the Ayeyarwady River.

Dried up river

Further north were plains, with large fields, some with corn, peas or
beans, but mostly bare land that had been tilled. Some brown pasture
areas had cattle grazing. Nearer Magway tall palms, I believe they are
Toddy Palms, lined the fields, making a unique visual picture.

Short cut under construction

We took a chance on going to a road not marked on the map. Zach
thought it may be a new road: it was. The road was wide and smooth for several miles. Then it turned into a road under construction, still
not really bad. Some sections were packed dirt, some a rather well
packed stone, and others not good at all.I tried to get off a single
lane portion to allow a bus that was coming towards me to pass. I was
driving slowly, and got stuck in the deep fresh earth. The bus driver
did not honk his horn; he just opened the door so a helper (relief
driver) could get out to help me get off the road. By that time I was
Ahhh, a smooth road!
able to drive the bike and push at the same time to clear the road.
Magwe (photo taken from the bridge into town)

Hotels in Magway are relatively expensive, and well booked. Two were
full, a couple were not to our liking. The lady in charge at the Htein
Htein Thar Hotel refused to register me because my visa expired
yesterday. We explained the renewal process to her. She would not
budge. Zach suggested we go to Immigration and have them approve my
stay. She agreed. It took half an hour to find the office, then the
man in charge would not make a decision. He called another office,
then and an employee escort us there. The man at the second office got
his assistant and three office ladies involved, then called the
hotel to give approval. The process took over an hour.
Stupa with moon in Magwe 
Riverside at the foot of the stupa looking south

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