The country we travelled through was beautiful and so green, with rice paddies and a lot of water. We went up and down mountains with little sign of habitation except the occasional incredibly ramshackle wooden dwelling that was more a hut than a house. I took only one photo, of a WWII army truck that was a glorious, unbelievable wreck but still in use. An Australian RTA inspection unit could have spent a week defaulting it.
Now and then I saw the bus driver take a wad of betel nut and pop it in his mouth hopefully not to put him into too tranquil a state on these precipitous hillsides. Sitting as I was directly behind him, after a while I had the feeling that something did not quite feel right. I could not work out what was wrong until I realised that he should have been on the other side of the bus. They drive on the left of the road in Burma but the bus was a right-hand drive vehicle.
My arrival in Ngwe Saung was painless. Fighting off the proffered motorbike, I showed the address of the guesthouse I had chosen to a boy who summoned two trishaws and for the agreed price of one thousand each we set off on what must surely have been the most picturesque ride of my life. I was pedalled along the edge of a marvellous beach fringed and shaded by coconut palms, while on the other side of the narrow road the jungle crowded down thickly. Every now and then we passed a few bungalows of a guest house or resort. It was cool and the road was a narrow, paved strip fortunately almost all flat for the poor boys pedalling. But it was a long way, at least a couple of kilometres.
Burma Trip Cost Photo Gallery
The guesthouse Shwe Hin Tha sat smack on the sand, the reception desk in an open-sided thatched-roof pavilion. The nearby accommodation was a row of bamboo bungalows. I chose one only ten paces from where the waves broke on the shore.
I was immensely comfortable there. The breeze off the sea kept the heat down, the room was big and the bathroom Spartan, but I had everything I could want except full-time electricity, which came on from six in the evening until ten. And when it came on, it did so with a bang. The room was suddenly brilliantly flood-lit by a big globe that seemed to attempt to make up for its former absence with its brightness.
My room had a covered porch fringed by palm trees that faced the waves curling on the sand. It was outfitted with heavy wooden chairs and a big low table. As I sat there, a girl came by to ask if I needed anything. I enquired about food and a much-needed meal of hot and sour fish was brought to me promptly. Unfortunately I had forgotten to ask if the fish came complete. It did. I got the whole shooting match bones, head, tail, eyes and all tasty but hard work. I thought it strange that there were no seagulls here but lots of dark, chirping hopping birds like minors came begging when they saw that I had food.
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