November 4 to 8
5 am taxi to the bus station, which couldn’t be any further from the city. The ride on literally empty roads takes us almost an hour, and I suspect the driver is doing his best to kill us. I leave my big backpack in the hotel in Yangon, as we are going to return there for one night anyway, and travel to the seaside just with my swimsuit and a little more. The bus ride is interesting, as is what they call a highway. Interminable paddy rice fields, corn and fish drying just a few metres from a road busy with all sorts of transportation, and again, reckless driving. The best thing is the onboard entertainment, though. Some kind of bizarre sci-fi movie with big green people with fangs in it and later a lot of giants (it may be a different movie though, I fell asleep in the meanwhile). Concentrating on the TV is preferable to paying attention to the road, because the driver must be thinking he’s the main hero of Fast and Furious.
We arrive to Ngwe Saung in mid afternoon. Myanmar started to be really popular a few years back, and heavy development has been going on everywhere on the coast, however with the amount of horror stories in the news, all the brand new resorts along the beach are empty. The town is a little wilder then much more known Ngapali, there is no electricity (most places run generators from 6pm to 6am, enough for the aircon to cool down the room for the night). The beach is unbelievably beautiful. Except for one spot close to the Lovers Island (where you can walk with low tide), where the locals hang out, the beaches are empty and clean. So is the water. Blue, fresh, crystal-clear and no jellyfish or other horrible animals.
Our place il called Lovers View, sports a logo vaguely similar to Louis Vuitton, and contrary to what the name suggests, it’s not a hotspot for voyeurs. It’s burmese-owned (as any business in Myanmar has to be) and ran by a bunch of workawayers, none of which seems to be paid for their work. There is also a half-naked Brit hanging around the bar claiming to be the manager, and I am hoping that he’s not crazy enough to have invested his own money in this place. The next few days are filled with sweet f-all on the beach or by the pool (which is a little dodgy, given the pump only runs 12 hours a day), boozing and watching sunsets from the beach, boats, and the guesthouse terrace.
One day we rent motorcycles from the hotel (semiautomatic, no clutch, gear operated with my foot – but it’s easy: the first is downwards, all the others upwards. Surely nothing I haven’t heard before), and ride along the beach north. We cross two rivers on little boats, which by itself is an experience worth trying – from maneuvering the bikes on the boats to sailing to the other shore, an experiment in practical physics. The beaches we find along the way are incredible. Beautiful, clean, deserted, except for enormous red crabs running around (it looks like real-life SuperMario). I have never seen such unspoilt coast anywhere else. And the seafood is amazing.
Photo report follows.
Kitsch sunset (and moonrise) day 1:
Reflections (when I woke up at 5 to take photos in the morning):
Kitsch sunset day 2:
Motorcycle trip on the beach (including transport over the rivers):
Kitsch sunset at the two pagodas on day 3:
Can I have my coffee take-away, please?
On november 8 we go back to Yangon, where we pick up our luggage and continue on another interminable bus ride southeast to Mawlanyine on the following day.