Sunday, 11 January 2015


The ride out to Ngwe Saung was crazy to say the least, where do I start?!  The ‘road’ itself was one of the roughest I have been on in Asia.  I’m not sure that any of the original surface is still there, it’s more like they have put so many patches in, that they have now all joined up and become the actual road.  I thought I may have permanent eye damage, as they were rattling so hard in my head!

Then there was the traffic, it was just bloody insane, not due to numbers, just conditions.  The road was only about a lane's width at most, with all these blind 90 degree corners – a mix for sheer terror and danger.  It would have actually been a brilliant ride without the fear of death at every hill and corner, though that does kinda make it more exciting.

In the whole time I have been doing this blog, I rarely ever give out danger warnings, but this stretch of road should not be undertaken by anybody that isn’t totally comfortable on a bike and in these kind of conditions.  We were literally run off the road a couple of times by oncoming buses that just had no more room to give me, and most of the time there really was nowhere to get off the road.

 I couldn’t even get any pictures as there wasn’t really anywhere to stop, even trying to take any video was just too dangerous, and the more I travel through Myanmar, the more it seems that this will be the norm - horrendous roads and insane drivers.

Yes, if the road had of been smooth and not filled with wannabe rally driver’s who seemed to forget that they were in buses, trucks and vans, it could have been an amazing ride. The scenery was nothing special, but the last half of the trip didn’t have a single bit of straight road in it.  We just went from corner to corner to uphill to corner to downhill to corner… etc, awesome yet scary.

Speaking of the roads, they are slowly being improved, we have seen ‘roadworks’ nearly everywhere so far, all done by hand!  They do generally have a roller but that’s it, the tar is being cooked in cut open barrels over fires by the side of the road and being poured by hand and bamboo poles. 

Old women and children are part of the crew all doing this back-breaking work in the searing heat, lugging piles of rocks and hot barrels of tar, digging trenches and spreading the blue metal by hand.  The Burmese are clearly hard workers and there are young kids everywhere with seemingly full time jobs.  Ever had your beer at a cafĂ© poured by an 8 yr old?

 We eventually made it to the beach alive, possibly still in one piece, though I haven’t been for an MRI yet to check my internal organs are all still where they’re supposed to be!

Without even stopping in ‘town’, I took my new mate’s bike on an off road enduro, much to Noi’s excitement… I mean horror!  Halfway through she assured me ‘we wouldn’t find anything’…  Oh you silly girl, how long have we been together?!!  

I was probably ready to turn around, but those are fighting words!!  I had no choice but to continue the journey now - never dare insult my ‘outdoor navigation/finding cool places skills’!

So onwards we rode, through the searing heat and a hellish track that would have made even my Honda XR dirtbike sweat a little!  We did eventually come to a really nice beach, but even I couldn’t have given a shit by then, it was dam hot, dirty and absolutely time for food and a cold beer –  after we ride back through that horrid track of course! 

Will Noi learn her lesson on this one…??!! Hehe

The accommodation around here was fairly expensive, though looking at most of the ‘resorts’, it was hard to tell if they were open or had been disused for years on end.  We ended up finding Shwe Hin Tha Hotel, out of town and a really nice spot, a simple but nice bungalow not far from the beach was $30. 

You don’t get much for $30, but it was definitely the cheapest and best value place we had found, a nice enough beach and great sunset views, although quite basic, it did the job for a night.  The whole area of Ngwe Saung only has electricity from 6pm until midnight and very limited wifi.  

Most of the tourist staying here were spending their entire holiday in the one place. Coming all the way to Myanmar to sit on a nice, but fairly average for Asia, beach, just seems weird to me, especially at these prices.

There was a shore break nearly the whole way along, nowhere calm to swim or snorkel anywhere that I saw, except where Noi and I ended up on the bike the first afternoon but the track getting there is just not doable for the average tourist, hell even I don’t wanna ride back out there.

It was worth coming for the night, but we are out of here shortly, back to Pathein to explore more now that we have wheels, then onto Pyay tomorrow, I’m ready to keep exploring the more interesting side of Myanmar.   As a beach destination, I’m just not feeling it in Myanmar so far.  

With so many other great beach destinations on offer throughout Asia, why come to Myanmar for that, it's real treasure's are found inland and along the many rivers.

We were going to check out Chaung Thar just north of here, but that involves riding basically all the way back to Pathein and then back towards the beach, the road going in a big V instead of having a connecting road north along the coast.


Our bungalow's for the night

Not too shabby an office...