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

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Day 5: Kyaikkami to Mawlamyine

Day 5: Kyaikkami to Mawlamyine
February 24 2012

View Myanmar Trip Day 5: Kyaikkami to Mawlamyine in a larger map
The map is incomplete since the road to Kyaikkami has a break in it. That's why I have 4 pins on the map

Start: 8:45am Kyaikkami
Arrival: 1:30pm Mawlamyine
Travel Time: 4 hours 45 minutes
Total Distance Traveled: (Zach) 110.9 km, 68.8miles
Total Distance Traveled: (David) 108.5km, 67.3miles

David's Efficiency: 57.2km per liter, 134.5 mpg
Zach's Efficiency: 50.3km per liter, 118 mpg

We were out of out Ka Day Kywe Guest Villa soon after waking up because there was no breakfast at the hotel. We were on the road at 8:45am which has to be one of our earliest mornings yet. It was cooler by the ocean here so it was very pleasant at night and in the morning.
War Cemetery
We sped off down the road to Thanbyuzayat without any problems. We went to the war cemetery where many of the POWs from building the Burma-Siam Railway are buried. There are many Australian, Dutch and British troops buried there but the few American soldiers that were there have since been repatriated. It was a well kept cemetery and there were many gardeners working while we were there. We did see 2 older Japanese men, in their 70's, stop by the cemetery when we were arriving. They were very friendly but they looked a little strange because they both had well dressed, overly made up, twenty-something year old Burmese girls tagging along with them.
We also went south of town for a kilometer or so and saw a stretch of the original track with an old train on it.
We rode up the bumpy highway until we came to Mudon, a small town about half way to Mawlamyine. We stopped to get gas and have some breakfast/lunch. We didn't quite fill up because the gas station attendants didn't want us to completely fill our tanks for some reason. I don't know exactly why but I think they want to keep the payment simple so they don't have to give change. Our total was 2000 kyat each for 2.25 liters, half an imperial gallon. We stopped at an empty restaurant that looked clean on the outside for a bite to eat. I asked for a few items I know how to say in Burmese but they didn't seem to have anything I asked for. Eventually I understood that they had fried noodles so we both ordered that. The noodles were very good and very oily, like all Burmese cuisine.
After Mudon we went about 5 miles up the road to some interesting mountains that protruded up on either side of the road. There was a large temple on the west side of the road that had an absolutely huge reclining Buddha. It is the biggest in the world, according to the sign, but it isn't quite done. They also had a new sitting Buddha and another building that Isn't completed either. My 10+ year old guide book also mentions the reclining Buddha as being under construction so it's hard to tell if it will ever get done.
We made it to Mawlamyine around 1 pm. The city is quite old and has a lot of churches as we came in from the south. The main drag is on the waterfront which is very beautiful but also too sunny at that time of day. We drove to go check out a big hotel we saw from the bridge yesterday as we came into town. We went to pull in but were blocked by police. We had to wait while a large convoy of trucks and cars pulled into the fancy hotel. After we waited for a bit the policeman told us we should drive around town for 15 minutes or so because we wouldn't be able to get in now. He was funny because he was holding assault type rifle while talking to me and it would sway around while he talked. I looked at the gun and I think he may of noticed so he put his finger in the end of the barrel as he talked to me. He must have thought I would feel safer that way.
Waterfront in Mawlamyine
We left and drove back down the strand road to look for another hotel. We got a room with air con,but no windows at the Breeze Rest House for $20. Our room is more like a bunker with its thick concrete walls and no windows.
Sunset in Mawlamyine
We both went out to use the Internet. None of the places had wifi so we went to a nicer hotel and ordered a beer so we could use theirs while we both had a glass. I left dad there while I went to the Internet to update our travel log online. Since we started our trip south I didn't do any updates because we didn't have the time to go to an Internet cafe. Today I was determined but to my dismay, Blogger is blocked. I could use it up north and I put up a draft in Naypyitaw but I can't do anything today. I hope this is just a regional or 1 day thing. I'll try again in Bago.
Dad also had trouble going online at the hotel. This is just one of the inconveniences of living in Myanmar but things seem to be getting better.
BBQ-Man (his wife didn't want to be in the photo)

We ate some BBQ chicken and goat on the promenade that runs along the shoreline. It was simple but very good.
The hotel let us park the bikes in their garage overnight so we don't need to worry about them. On this trip I have realized that every time i sleep on a cheap foam mattress i sleep very well. This place has cheap foam mattresses so I am happy that I should get a good sleep before our trip back up to Bago tomorrow

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