The second episode of the series “Diary of Myanmar” is about the journey to Myeik, what to do there and some useful tips to save money.
From Kawthaung to Myeik. Yes, I survived – Day 2
As I said in the previous episode (Crossing the border from Thailand to Myanmar), the journey from Kawthaung to Myeik was an experience itself. Beautiful scenery but I understood straight away why 12 hours were needed for 250 km.
The road was a dusty path with holes and bumps eeeeverywhere. So in case you get dizzy on road trips or you don’t have the neck of a Formula 1 driver (maybe I’m exaggerating here, but trust me, mine wasn’t at its best after the trip) you better use the plane.
After stopping four times (in which everybody in the minivan bought me sweets), avoiding 20 cows, doing 1.000 curves, zillions of bumps and barely sleeping half an hour, we got to Myeik!
When you feel that the main attraction of the city is YOU
The minivan took me to a couple of guest houses to check prices and at 6.30 am I was at my base camp for the next two days.
The guest house was Kyai Pyan and I paid 15.000 kyats (10.25€) for a double room with private bathroom per night, the cheapest I could find (or that’s what I thought, keep reading 😉 ).
After sleeping for a few hours, I went to visit the city.
Where to start? Good question, here below you can check a map of the city and some of the places I visited.
I started going along Kan Nar road, along the port, it looked like the main road in the map.
The port was dirty and full of rubbish. Chaos, klaxons and everybody was looking at me, when I say everybody I don’t mean just a few, it was literally EVERYBODY I came across. It was quite uncomfortable, too many people at the same time staring at what I was doing. I thought it was normal to have this odd feeling at the beginning and I hoped I got used to it soon.
Then I moved to less crowded areas, I noticed the colonial style of the buildings but everything poorly conserved. I wanted to take more pictures but I kept feeling stared at, which didn’t feel good at all so I avoided taking as many pictures as I’d have liked.
I want to remark that I didn’t feel at any moment I was in danger or something similar, I was just overwhelmed by the situation. It was the first time in my life that I attracted that much attention! 😮
Later in the trip I’d be in places like this one and totally enjoyed them, I discovered that I just had to smile and they’d smile back WITH A HUUUGE SMILE no matter how serious they looked. The biggest asset of this country is its PEOPLE!
I went to Buu Pagoda, in Bo Kyoke road. There was no one there, just some novice monks playing games. It was nice to have some minutes of relaxation after the first pure contact with the city.
Thein Taw Gyi pagoda, THE BEST SUNSET IN MYEIK!!
After having lunch, the sun was almost down so I went to the most famous Pagoda of the city, Thein Taw Gyi, to see the sunset. I reached the top and: WOOWW!! That’s what came out of my mouth. The Pagoda was nice but not worth a “WOW”, instead, the sunset was truly amaaazing. One of the bests I had ever seen.
I could see the whole city, the port, some of the islands of the Mergui archipelago and all this, with a stunning orange sky. The quality of the video is a bit poor, but you get the idea.
At this moment, I really felt the magic of travelling, a short time before and feeling harassed by the situation, I was wondering why the hell I didn’t start from Yangon or Mandalay, or cross the border from another point where there were more westerns around and I wouldn’t feel so “observed”. But then I saw that view.
The stop in Myeik was worth it just for this view and the minutes I could enjoy up there. I suddenly felt relieved for the choice of the itinerary and with more energy to keep travelling and exploring this route!
It was already dark (I squeezed the last minutes up there) and I went back to the guest house.
Enough for the first day, so many feelings and new experiences. Definitely travelling here wasn’t going to be the same as in Thailand, this looked like a roller-coaster of emotions. Time to rest and plan next day.
Reconciliation with Myeik – Day 3
This day was the official reconciliation with Myeik, after a tense first encounter, we would make peace and start appreciating each other 🙂
The day started later than expected. Around 11.30 am I went down to the reception and rented a motorbike. Half day was 5.000 kyats (3.40€) and the whole day 8.000 kyats (5.45€), half day was enough.
After that I went to visit more pagodas and see a bit of the suburbs. Paw Daw Mu was the first one, not a WOW but the view was nice and the way to get there quite interesting too.
A monk approached me and gave me a bottle of water. The sun was hitting hard and he realised I had nothing to drink. They are soooo nice here!!
Wandering around Tanintharyi river
I was planning to reach the northern part of Tanintharyi river, 15 kilometres from the city. On the way I found, guess what? Another Pagoda! But this one was more impressive than the other one so I stopped there for a while.
The name? Good question… it wasn’t on Google Maps nor on MAPS.ME. I didn’t see any sign that I could understand. Following Ba Ho Road from Myeik to the northern part of the river is easy to notice it though (check screenshot below).
I kept going until I reached the river. The view was quite impressive but the most interesting part was the small village on one side of the river, Kyauk Phyar.
I left the motorbike and went to the village. So many children getting out of the school and going to play by the river, they looked pretty surprised to see me and the bravest ones came next to me waving their little hands and saying hello. Then they kept going with an unbelievable HUGE SMILE on their faces.
Here below you can check the itinerary I did out of the city.
With the stomach full of spicy food, it was time to get back to the city.
I drove again along the port from north to south. In the northern part, there was a modern shopping mall and the signs of new resorts and villas that are about to be built. I guess this city will look different in 5 years. The potential is huge with some beautiful islands around the area.
Yes, these are islands. One of the few places in the world with these natural resources and still unspoiled!
I got into more residential areas in the southern part of Myeik. So much poverty in this last area… a lot of trash, a stream with a suspicious colour and very poor infrastructure in general. The contrasts of this country were very remarkable in this neighbourhood.
It didn’t feel good to see all that… so I went to a place where I could chill and think for a while, Yay Kan Baung lake, right in the middle of the city. It was like an oasis in the middle of the noisy town. The perfect place to leave your mind in peace and “empty” for a while and the sky completed the nice moment
The last stop? The great spot where I had seen the sunset the previous day. Again beaaautiful.
Great tips to save some pennies in Myeik
At this point, a Burmese guy came to talk to me, he was a tour guide and he gave me some HINTS FOR FUTURE TRAVELLERS in Myeik!
I thought I was sleeping at the cheapest place but apparently for 13.000 kyats (8.85€), it was possible to get a room at Royal Myeik Guest House. He told me as well that the day tours to the islands were cheaper on Sundays, $60 instead of $100 (still out of my budget).
To my question: am I the only tourist in Myeik? He laughed for a while and told me that I wasn’t, but that most of them (a group of 15) were at White Pearl guest house (14.000 kyats, 9.55€) per night, still cheaper than my place) and in more fancy hotels. For more info, we are friends on Facebook now so let me know if you need the contact 😉
I enjoyed one last stroll through the city before going to the guest house. The next day I was planning to leave early in the morning to Dawei so it was going to be a loooong day, I needed to get some rest.
Enough time for Myeik, I would have liked to do a tour of the islands but it cost way too much, so I’ll definitely do it when the infrastructure is better and the price cheaper or I’m richer, hopefully the second.
The overall balance of the city is good and I’d go again. I’m sure I won’t forget this city in the future, not for the city itself but for the extreme feelings I had there.
Minivan journey from Myeik to Dawei. Start trembling! – Day 4
The day started with a bit of stress. The minivan that would take me to Dawei was going to pick me up at 5.30 am at the guest house and I woke up at 5.45 🙁 Damn! I’m sure you know how it feels!
I packed everything in 5 seconds and went down. Exactly when I was going downstairs the minivan arrived and I could breathe again totally relieved! Those were the moments in which I loved most the unpunctuality of Myanmar!
It was 12.000 kyats (8.20€) for a 6 hour trip from Myeik to Dawei. I had heard it was 10.000 kyats (6.80€) but I was too sleepy to complain and I paid 12.000 with no discussion. The normal buses were supposed to be 8.000 kyats but 2 hours more of journey and with the trip Kawthaung-Myeik, I had already had enough.
We started the trip, there were three of us in the same row, which would be ok if we weren’t three big guys. The guy in the middle tried his best to fit there and the best choice was to put his arms up with his armpit in my face, delicious. It looked like I was going to have another peculiar journey ahead.
Are you curious about the days in Dawei? Without any doubt, those were my favourite of the 50 days trip. Unspoiled beaches and incredibly warm people, mind-blowing! Sign up below if you don’t want to miss aaaaanything! 😉