„After the big forest fire on the exhausting gravel road Luca and I look for a place to camp at the river. In the late afternoon we find one, take a bath to get the dust off again and later at night we start a small bonfire spontaneously. We talk about long time cycling tours and other cyclist we met on our way. We find out several connections. It’s interesting how small the cycling community is, and how sweeping the interconnections are.“
Again I choose the smaller road to Myeik, which includes a ferry crossing.
Time after time I see big amounts of old tar barrels, left over from building the street.
When I come closer to Myeik, a bigger city, it gets crazy. It is high season of the water festival. Small trucks full with people drive up and down the road and make big party.
The clock tower and the temple in the background. Somehow I manage to find a free room for a reasonable price in the fully booked town. Myeik has a port and ferryboats go to some islands. The port/beach is flat and not nice, just with the sunset it looks good.
The next day I leave the city again, back the 12 kilometer party road. It is the last day of the water festival, everyone gets crazy one last time. Waiting at the traffic light, everyone is wet.
The water festival lasts six days for me, and even it is a lot of fun, in the end I am happy if someone spares me and when the water festival is over. For the bicycle it’s not good at all. I have to oil my chain every day and most probably all the water damaged my bottom bracket (I can say now). It were some of the most funny days on my trip, but in the end I am happy to stay dry again. The feeling being watered, when you are already wet, and having no chance to escape, was always a bit humiliating.
A small river, water buffalos and a big river on the way to my wild campsite.
Unexpected I met another cyclist, he comes from Thailand and is on a short trip from Thailand to Myanmar.
Regrettably I sometimes cycle through big burned down forest areas.
At evening I arrive in a small Christian village, where I ask at one of the house, if I could sleep in the church. Yes it’s possible, and then he says, you can sleep here as well. In the morning a woman walks around and sells pastries and noodles for breakfast. A part of the family saying goodbye, when I leave.
Another bridge building project.
Now I am in the palm oil area. The whole day I cycle through big plantations. Everywhere at the roadside they collect the heavy emblements. It’s a hard job to cut them off the palm, they do it with very long rods, which have a knife or saw at the end.
Some electricity via solar panels and batteries. At least some electricity in the poor villages. In the places where I stayed it is usual, that the electricity is only available for some hours in the evening and morning.
The road is like a roller-coaster, going steep up and down all the time.
A huge reclining Buddha short before Bokpyin, you can see the cows to compare the size.
In Bokpyin I finally have a rest day. Just when I arrive at the nice guesthouse I get a puncture in the back wheel, the 5th puncture so far. As you know Johanna cycled from Cologne to Rottweil and a bit later further to Nuremberg, she although had another puncture. So it’s 5:5 draw again.
Geckos are everywhere in Southeast Asia, they always give me a calming feeling, when they make their nice sound.
The second day I walk up the stairs to the temple and enjoy a beautiful sunset.
I give it a second try to find a beach and the sea. Therefore I follow a small bad track about 1.5 km leading through some small streams. It actually ends at a nice beach, beautiful, but not for swimming, the area is too flat anyway and it’s low tide, the sea is far away. Now I know, how the coast/beaches look like here. 😉
Just selden the see shows itself, I am happy to get a short view to one small arm of the sea.
I can’t take a bath in the sea, but I find small rivers every day, where I have bracing baths.
I think it was on that day, when I saw an unremarkable looking old house with a truck scale. First it looks like no one is there, but actually their is a young guy, so I cycle on the scale, leave the bike and ask him for the weight. He writes a big number with a ballpen in his palm: 30. Ok, well I try to ask him what unit it is or how much kilogram, but sadly the communicational barrier is too big. Well, so I go back to my bicycle on the scale and ask again for the weight. Her writes another big number in his hand: 70.
I say thank you and goodbye. For the next few kilometers I think about the small quiz and do some calculations. As I know my approximate own weight the calculation is easy and I find out the weight of my luggage. Later I check the Myanmar weight units and they really have a own unit: 1 peittha = 1.63293 kg. Thus my weight is 65 kg. Bike and luggage together are 49 kg. I have the spare tire (1 kg) and 3 liter of water (3 kg), the bicycle with lock is about 17 kg. So all my luggage together weighs 28 kg. That’s too much, I really have to reduce.
One more time I decide to take the adventures way and not the main road. When it gets dark I camp in-between the oil palms. It rains at night end the tent is wet in the morning. I put it in the morning sun, so that it dries. It’s only 8 o’clock in the morning, but the sun is so strong already, that I am dripping with sweat when I decamp.
The kicker (Clou) about the small track is a gap in the road. In my map there is one small road coming from the north to a river and one coming from the south. No bridge or ferry is marked. I hope to find a boat their, which can bring me to the other side.
Arriving at the river, I want to cross.
I ask people, they ask other people and finally they guide me to one of the houses which is built on stilts over the river. Then they point to one boat, it’s the last in a row. One guy fuels the old clatter engine and the other one carries my stuff on the boat. Yes, so far it works very well.
But then the boat doesn’t simply cross the river, he drives direction to the sea. Briefly I am scared, where they will drop me off. However the driver takes the next small mangrove river direction inland again and stops at a small path. That is my way I guess. To be sure I check with GPS where I arrive (I marked it in the map). I give them some money, not much for me but a bit for them, and they goodbye. Still a bit confused, they watch me cycling away.
The path is beautiful and finally I find my first nice lonely beach in Myanmar.
After the refreshing swim in the sea I arrive at a very local small restaurant. I am bathed in sweat and feel ashamed a bit. I call these restaurants “finicky eater” (‘Suppenkasper‘) because they have only a poor soup. But better than nothing of course. The soup is so spicy that I sweat even more. First after awhile I am acclimatized and feel well. The children start taking a lot of selfies with me, shy in the beginning and then seriatim.
At evening I arrive at a hospital, where I can stay for the night. I don’t have an injury, don’t worry.
Later the evening I get almost a problem because of the registration rule. Three official men come to the not busy (only one patient, alcoholism) remote village hospital in Chan Pang. One of them is the major and they want to see my passport. They ask some questions and their first idea is, that they bring me to Kawthaung, where I should sleep in a hotel, because of the registration. The nurse and I try to convince them that it is stupid and not necessary to do this. They take a lot of pictures of my passport and phone around. It takes a while to convince them, however in the end they are ok with me staying in the hospital for one night. Puuhhh, lucky you! How ridiculous.
Saying goodbye to my friendly hosts the next morning.
One more time, there is a nice beach and I can have a bath before it goes back to the mainroad.
Sugar cane! As I told before, it’s my favorite drink in Myanmar. Always fresh, always cold, always good.
I arrive in Kawthaung and two wonderful cycling weeks in Myanmar have passed again. For one last night I stay in the Penguin Hotel and get the spirit of the not non-busy southernmost city of Myanmar.
Thailand is not far, just on the other side of the water, 30 minutes with a longtail boat.