Myanmar, Thailand · 15 Days · 21 Moments · May 2017

Elliot's voyage in Myanmar

20 May 2017

DAY 76 It was an early start to catch the 9:30 bus to Chiang khong. The closet town to the border of Laos. The bus took around 8 hours which numerous stops at different smaller stations towards Chiang Rai. When the bus finally arrived it was a 10 minute walk to my hostel which had only me as a guest in a 16 bed this a good time to go to Laos? I grabbed a brief gang massaman at Rid Bar and caught up with this journal. I went to bed around 12 prepared for the next day and the trip to Laos. Hostel: Funky Box

18 May 2017

DAY 75 Not technically Myanmar as I am back in Thailand now, Chiangmai to be exact but the day was spent doing all the boring things to retain a normal level of sanity whilst travelling. I had breakfast at nana bakery and then went to get my hair cut at the skill barber who did a much better job than most of the UK barbers! I had a late lunch at maya shopping mall and using a push bike I could get around a lot easier! I headed to the Thai kickboxing at half last 7 and had Korean BBQ before I went. The kickboxing had 5 fights and what seemed like a charity fight between a 10 and 12 year old! The first and second fight were fairly tame and broken up with photo shoots for the tourists however an English women and a Thai went head to head which sparked some enthusiasm into the crowd! The second to last fight ended with a crunching body blow which equaled to a knockout. The boxing was really fun and ended around midnight...quick 7/11 snack then bed!

17 May 2017

DAY 74 Arriving at Yangon airport at 5 I slept on a bench until around 9 and decided to get breakfast and wait for the plane at around 13:10. The plane took only an hour but I arrived at Chiangmai and headed straight back to the hostel and rested in my room with a brief stop to a restaurant known and the red chilli but with almost a weeks worth of rain pouring down I returned to the room and slept be whole night through.

16 May 2017

DAY 73 And I didn't...whilst everyone ended up heading out to see the river village I decided to have a rest day as it had been hectic! I stayed in the hostel catching up with this blog until around 1 and headed out for some food and bought some converse and a shirt. It was real shame to say bye as I had for particularly close to Aki and James who were both amazing fun! My night bus was around 6 and I waited until then saying a very sad by to Myanmar of which I wish I spent much longer! The bus arrived at 4:30 the next morning not the 6am stated...there is a surprise!

15 May 2017

DAY 72 We woke up in Ostello inle and decided to once again meet up and make the day of it....which was a struggle. We went for a massage which was amazing and we all fell asleep. We were greeted with tea and presents. After the massage and the sleep we headed into the town to grab some food at a noodle shop. We had our noodles and then caught a taxi/tuk tuk to the winery where we did a tasting session under the sunset haze of the inle lake which was really special. We got a tuk tuk back to the midnight market were we looked around and I bought some beads - wrist beads just to clarify. We spoke to a shop owner who claimed to have visited everywhere before grabbing some local cuisine and having a few drinks both at peters tapas and happy hour back at the hostel. Another late night....I can't keep up.

14 May 2017

DAY 71 Another early start and this was the last day of the trek! We headed out for about 4 hours and with a brief intermission of getting completely lost we headed to a hilltop rest stop for tea and snacks. We walked for a further 3 hours to much flatter road and another rest stop but this time it was noodles and beer! We walked for a further 3 hours broken up by eating beetlenut which is a toxic mix of limestone, banana leaf, beetlenut and Tobacco. It tasted like soap and a few people threw up which nearly sent me off but I held it in and experienced a 10 minute high....not worth it for the taste. We arrived at our destination which was a small restaurant where we ate some more noodles and waited for the boat ride through inle lake. We made a brief stop at a cigar making factory with I bought a few...keep the locals happy. After a further 20 minutes boat ride, once again broken up by a dip in the lake we arrived at inle and headed to the hostel.... Hostel: Ostello Bello
...we went for a group meal at a local Indian restaurant which had an amazing tikka masala. We headed back to the hostel for happy hour but after we realised nowhere in inle is open after 9pm so we ran back to the Indian to get more beers and just in time we made a successful run for alcohol!

13 May 2017

DAY 70 Second day of the trek and it started at 6am. After a brief breakfast of pancakes and fruit we headed out to a spot where we could hitchhike and also met 3 more members of the group - Niamh (Ireland), Nat (aus) and finton (Ireland) in what seemed like a local rest stop. We did some further hitchhiking when it began to rain heavily but during this we spotted what looked like a market but it turned out to be a wedding of which we joined in on! After endless amounts of food and meeting the bride and groom we hitchhiked to our next walking spot where we trekked through the rain and saw village were we could keep walm and have plenty of tea! After this we headed on a further trek and ended up dodging rivers and muddy slips but a few people did go for a swim in the river. We then trekked the rest of the way to the second village which was much larger than the first and we ate, drank and I stayed up with Aki to show her some of the music I was into...she loved pressure drop!

12 May 2017

DAY 69 First day of the trek! After a breakfast at the railroad of toast, pancakes and pancakes I met up with my fellow trekkers - James (aus) Frieda (ger) and iris his girlfriend also from Germany. We caught a flatbed to ever smile and began the guide with another 4 joining us - saf (Canada) Pete and Alex, Ander (Spain) We set off with our guide Aki and walked through the hills until we reached a point at the top where we helped to prepare dinner and ate overlooking a superb view. The lunch included fruit, jeppatties and more fruit. We ate this and headed out for another 4-5 hours trek. We walked upon train tracks which I unfortunately took a tumble in and got my shoe soaked but not right before a train flew by on a live track. We walked through the train station and ended up taking a longer route to take us to a perfect viewing spot over the rice paddies. We finally ended up at a lovely guesthouse and helped the family lift some bamboo up the hill and were well accommodated.
...with more food than we can imagine and a salad of petals we had taken through out the day! We had some beers, whiskey and rum cocktails which probably wouldn't be served in any bar! The accommodation was fairly basic and we all shared one big room! It was cosy and we were greeted by a bucket shower which woke you up really really quick!

11 May 2017

DAY 68 Day 68 was yet another day of travelling - this time to Kalaw in order to do the Kalaw to inle trek. The bus set off at 8:30 and arrived in Kalaw at 3pm so I went straight to ever smile booked my trek and walked to the hostel I was staying in. Hostel: Railroad hostel

10 May 2017

DAY 67 After a fairly heavy night we decided to have next to no sleep and get up at 4:30 for the sunrise. We all managed it and head out on the e-bikes to the largest temple in the area and waited for the sun to rise. The view were spectacular and it was hard to capture this beauty on a camera. After finishing watching the sunset me, Toby and Sam headed back to our hostels and caught up on a few hours sleep before we headed out to do some more temples around 2-3pm. We attempted to go to some different temples and a couple of times ended up in a ditch! After a few hours driving around we came across a village and were very kindly shown around by a girl probably about 12. We saw the lacquered ware, cotton and cigar making which are all famous in the area. Needed to book the night bus I headed back to the hostel followed by Sam and Toby. I managed to book everything I needed and we agreed to meet for sunset. Me and Sam went through the hostel on a tour of the sunset and Toby went...
...back to the spot we sourced on the first day. We said our byes and I headed to 'the village restaurant' for my evening meal. The place was really quiet and the owner sat with me and told me about Bagan so here goes: There are so many temples in Bagan because there was a king...this king had many monks (long hair and beards) who said the wife of any of the local villagers had to sleep with them for up to a week. The people gradually become unhappy with this but the king put up with it until one day a shaven headed monk who never brought his head up walked through the castle right up to the throne and sat upon it. The monks were outraged and begged the king to kill the monk. He asked why the monk had taken that seat to a reply of 'you are a mere a human and I am a monk'. The king baffled by the brazen monk decided to listen to his reasoning and came around to realise the philosophy of Buddhism and that one man cannot be greater than the rest. The king ended up killing the monks..
...and adopting Buddhism. After a while the monk left and the king demanded a scripture which the monk refused to give up. The king and monk ended up a war with the king coming out on top and he returned with the scripture and decided to build many temples in order to change the area. After the king died competition ensued and king after king tried to build more temples and that's how Bagan ended up with so many temples. After that...went to bed

9 May 2017

DAY 66 First full day in Bagan and after such a tiring night experience and a few hours sleep outside on the hostel roof terrace I went downstairs to get breakfast. A friend from Yangon (Toby) came by the hostel to visit and fighting with my own tiredness I decided to join him on seeing as many temples as possible on e-bikes. We set off and within minutes we came across our first temple which was greeted by a women selling sand pictures. We promised our return to buy the pictures and set off to explore more temples...stop after stop every temple was unique and felt untouched by health and safety regs and know it alls! We stumbled upon a temple with a whole family eating dinner inside to stay out of the hot heat and they offered us to join them and eat with them which we didn't but we got some amazing pictures and carried on temple spotting...
....We had dinner at a small place on the way back to the hostel as well as picking up the promised sand pictures...time for the sunset cruise which all about 15 people jumped on the back of an old flatbed, hosted by Pete a bloke from the Czech Republic who had lived in Bagan many years. When we finally got back after a brief crash and a load of booze we did the pub quiz and drank well into the night. Hostel: Ostello Bello Bagan

8 May 2017

DAY 65 It was the day of the night bus! However knowing I had a pretty laid back day the day before I decided to make plans for my last day Yangon! It all began with going to see the memorial statue (in memoriam of the independence of Burma from both British and Japanese rule)...a sweltering hot day it was a struggle to do anything fast but I headed down the Chinatown strip and finally found myself in the comfort of the junction shopping mall. I bought an eye mask and some suppliers for the night bus. I walked back out to explore chinatown a little more before heading back to pickled tea hostel around 4. I discovered that another backpacker was heading on the night bus too (Sam). We set off around 5 for the 8 o'clock bus and ate at a small place in the station before hand. The bus set off and poor old Sam was really ill but we made it at around 4:30 in the morning into Bagan.

7 May 2017

DAY 64 After a late night and tiring day I decided to have a relaxed day. I had breakfast and planned out the rest of my journey in Myanmar broken up with grabbing lunch and listening to a few podcasts. In the late afternoon me Shannon and Amy (Shannon's friend) headed to gecko, a Japanese restaurant in the heart of downtown Yangon. The food was nice but expensive so we ventured to a local spot across the road. The meal was good and reasonable until it was broken up with a drunk local complaining of his wife and throwing up in a bin right next to me! Yuck! We made a swift exit and me Shannon played cards for a while before calling it a night around 12.

6 May 2017

DAY 63 First full day in Yangon and I wanted to make the most of it! After a brief breakfast I set off early to explore the people's park and the Shwedagon pagoda which both in their own right were impressive! The Shwedagon pagoda was huge and I was shown around by a local old man who appeared to be a guide and eventually demanded $5 😩 The pagoda has the history that hairs from a Buddhist monk were taken there and huge temple was built to worship the monk. After he pagoda I headed out for a walk and stumbled upon the kandawgyi Lake which seemed to be filled with weddings and wedding venues. The heat was still rising and after a brief late lunch of sweet and sour pork I headed to find the Sherman tank which strangely seemed to be in the park! I headed back to the hostel and met Toby and Shannon who were interested in a boat party that night so a rush to get tickets we made it to the boat party and for the next 3 hours we drank, danced and watched the sunset go down.....
.....the boat party was a lot of fun and afterwards we jumped off and decided to go grab some food. A fairly long walk to the suggested restaurant was briefly broke up with a game of football with the local kids! I scored so boooooom!!!! We found the place and I had the fried pork, the others had vegetarian dishes. We caught a taxi back and whilst the others went to bed me and Shannon we out to the penthouse bar for a nightcap and watch the view at night over the city. The bar was fun but it was a strange experience to see the disparity of wealth in the city....whilst we were sipping expensive beer the skyline was filled with slum flats which seemed to struggle to keep the electric running. It just didn't seem fair.

5 May 2017

DAY 62 The flight to Myanmar was around 11:30 so after getting up with a sore head and the memory of a ladyboy show I grabbed a quick breakfast and headed to the airport! The check in process was very quick and the security surprisingly relaxed but it was the worlds smallest propeller plane for the hour long journey to Yangon. The plane landed and after some brief security checks I grabbed a taxi to the hostel. The journey took around an hour and it was a good chance to see the landscape and talk to the taxi driver about Myanmar. I got the question of whether it was Burma or Myanmar out of the way fairly quick and with a response that Burma was only a part country (Myanmar was the whole place including every state and province) to say they prefer Myanmar. I arrived at the hostel and the heat dropped slightly to allow a thunderstorm to pass overhead. I grabbed a pizza (go too safe food) and had an early night. Hostel: Pickled tea hostel