Bucketlist in Burma

2wheels

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Location
Chiang Mai
Bikes
Honda Rebel 500
1st November 2017

I had a couple of 'Bucket List' items to attend to in Myanmar so booked a flight to Mandalay and also a rental Yamaha.

The trip didn't start too well!

Unsmiling and far from friendly Immigration at CNX International charged 100 baht to photocopy 3 pages from my passport. Bitch.
Forgot to bring my own copies. Easy money.

Bangkok Air were supposed to depart at 16-30.
They eventually departed at 18-45. No explanations given.
FU Bangkok Air for stuffing up my plans for the first night in Mandalay.

Waiting at CNX Inter was horrendous.
A flight to Kunming took precedence over my flight and the noise and behaviour of the cargo for that flight was unbearable.
'Jai Yen' tablets eased the pain only a little.
OK 'F off' to Kunming you lot and let me enjoy my holiday.

Eventually a bus took about 45 of us to the awaiting ATR 72-600 Turbo prop.
2 x Pratt and Whitney 2,750 hp engines whisked us at 500kph at 22,000 ft to Mandalay in 70 minutes.
(The delay meant I missed the Mandalay sunset pic I has planned for).
Hopefully there'll be another sunset tomorrow.

DSCN2133.jpg

My packpack (8kgs) had a seat to itself.

More unsmiling and unfriendly Immigration goons at Mandalay Airport.
(What is it about Immigration officials that forbids them from being welcoming and friendly?)
At the rather 'dead' Mandalay airport I discovered the 'Air-conditioned Blue Bus Service to Mandalay for US$3' so took it.
No currency exchange open at night.
About one hour via a tollway into the heart of the city where I had a room booked at the Victory Point Hotel.
What 'victory' I am yet to discover.
I fell for their pics on their website. Reality painted a different picture, however it's a bed for the night.
At around 800 baht it's not a bad starting point and close to my motorbike.

DSCN2140.jpg

Checked in, went up to their rooftop bar where I enjoyed a quiet and lonely beer and decided to go for a walk and mingle with the locals.

DSCN2136.jpg

DSCN2139.jpg

I reckon Burmese script is beautiful.

Soon discovered the rustic and boisterous 'Golden Spider' restaurant where the beers were cold and cheap and the patrons were extra friendly.
I also discovered that the currency spelt 'kyat' in English actually sounds like 'cheers'. And the obligatory words for 'hello' and 'goodbye'.
Even got involved in a discussion about politics which should remain private.

DSCN2141.jpg

Spinning a yarn at the Golden Spider.

DSCN2142.jpg

As far as this lad is concerned Che is 'from Australia'!
Who am I to disillusion him?

Tomorrow morning I collect the rental Yamaha 125, fit the Montana and go exploring around Mandalay.
 

2wheels

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Location
Chiang Mai
Bikes
Honda Rebel 500
2nd November 2017

Up not so bright and early and enjoyed the free breakfast at Victory Point Hotel then my plan was to walk around
until Mandalay Motorbike Rental and Tours was open and photograph whatever I saw of interest.

81st street from the roof of Victory Point Hotel offers some interesting early morning views.

DSCN2147.jpg

DSCN2148.jpg

DSCN2160.jpg

Then walking around between 81st and 79th streets.

DSCN2164.jpg

Families along 79th are doing it tough.

DSCN2173.jpg

DSCN2176.jpg

Giving Mum a massage.

DSCN2190.jpg

More walking and more pics from that area.

DSCN2174.jpg

DSCN2175.jpg

DSCN2166.jpg

DSCN2181.jpg

DSCN2183.jpg

Zach's bike rental premises.

DSCN2178.jpg

DSCN2180.jpg

He has about 40 bikes including 17 CRFs, which are ideal for these roads.

I highly recommend Zach's business. He gave valuable advice when planning my ride and has great insight into Burmese ways,
largely because he is married to a lovely Burmese lady and he speaks Burmese.

http://www.mandalaymotorbike.com/

Zach reminded me that tomorrow is a holiday and it would be wise to get kyat now, so I did.

He selected a near new Yamaha XTZ 125 for me. His colleague fitted my GPS whilst I went for breakfast
and then it was time to familiarize myself with the bike, local roads and driving/riding ways and to use my Montana
again after not using it for a few years.

DSCN2186.jpg

It worked out to be an invaluable few hours just cruising around Mandalay re-establishing my confidence before 'hitting the road'
for the coast and stopping for the occasional pic.

I'm finding the Burmese people to be very friendly, hospitable and photogenic.

DSCN2169.jpg

DSCN2170.jpg

Mandalay Hill.

DSCN2189.jpg

DSCN2191.jpg

Around 5pm, after a tremendous meal at Mr Bar BQ ...

DSCN2165.jpg

... I went back to the Golden Spider for a few beers and chatted with some local guys, being offered snacks and friendship.
Then Zach arrived and a long discussion about many things followed until we were both summoned to our respective quarters.

DSCN2196.jpg

Me back to the concrete mattress at the VP Hotel!

OK, looking forward to whatever tomorrow brings.
 

2wheels

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Location
Chiang Mai
Bikes
Honda Rebel 500
3rd November 2017

Mandalay - Myingyan - Mt Popa- Yenanngyaung


On the road again. It’s been about three years since my last bike trip.

I discovered it best to flow with the traffic out from Mandalay and along the busy track to Myingyan.
That meant around 50-60kph cruising for me. Time to relax and take in the sites.
Oh, Zach's wife advised me that headlights are not to be used during daylight. And they don't.

DSCN2198.jpg

It was Full Moon Festival and little urchins lined the road for many kms.

DSCN2202.jpg

They'd place a fabric 'road-block' across the road to entice drivers/riders to stop and give a donation.
What could possibly go wrong?!

DSCN2201.jpg

DSCN2208.jpg

DSCN2207.jpg

DSCN2204.jpg

Amazing what can be found on the side of a road.
I had to check that he was still breathing. He was.
Seems to be a travelling Monk.

DSCN2205.jpg

DSCN2206.jpg

DSCN2210.jpg

DSCN2211.jpg

You never know what you'll find around the next bend!

DSCN2213.jpg


The best riding so far was the mountain twisties into Bopa.

I’d seen pics of Mt Popa temple complex before and it intrigued me, so this one has been on my bucket-list for a few years.
However, I chose a major public holiday (Full Moon Tazaungmone celebrations) to be there and the narrow road around the site was crammed with buses and vehicles.
The actual complex on top of the hill is badly littered and over-run by monkeys (hate the little buggers), so I retreated to a perimeter road and admired the site from a distance.

DSCN2217.jpg

DSCN2221.jpg

DSCN2215.jpg

DSCN2228.jpg

DSCN2230.jpg

DSCN2232.jpg

DSCN2234.jpg

DSCN2236.jpg

DSCN2233.jpg

Then an enjoyable tree-lined ride along a good road into Yenan-gyaung where I discovered the very pleasant 'Motel Country'.
I was fatigued (the ride was apparently only about 190kms but felt like 390 because of the concentration required to stay alive on the roads).

DSCN2237.jpg

DSCN2239.jpg

Lots of paper work at reception which delayed my much needed shower and shave.
Apparently that’s a government requirement.

DSCN2240.jpg

They had a one table restaurant and the Chinese food was very good. I even won a prize and got a discount off my Myanmar Beer!
So I like the place.

Refreshing sleep and off to the coastal area tomorrow (ie today) to check another bucket-list item.
 

2wheels

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Location
Chiang Mai
Bikes
Honda Rebel 500
4th November

Yenan-ngyaung to Ma-gway to Ann


I was a nice ride to Ma-gway then an atrocious track through the spectacular mountains for hour after hour.

Many road gangs were seen breaking rocks, sorting into size and laying the base for new the surface.

DSCN2244.jpg

DSCN2245.jpg

Across the mighty Irrawaddy.

DSCN2246.jpg

DSCN2247.jpg

DSCN2248.jpg

I was later told that this statue is a memorial to the late father of Aung San Suu Kyi.

DSCN2250.jpg

This track has deteriorated and is being patched up, seemingly in a haphazard way.
Heavy machinery has destroyed what might once have been I nice road, I don't know.
All I can say is that 240 kms over 8.5 hours was the most challenging riding I've ever done anywhere.

The track looks enticing from a distance but up close it's mean and nasty.
Loose, sharp rocks, slippery gravel and sand, pot-holes, outcrops, oncoming trucks, steep descents.
Quite a work-out for bike and rider.
However, the scenery is spectacular.

DSCN2251.jpg

DSCN2252.jpg

DSCN2253.jpg

DSCN2255.jpg

DSCN2256.jpg

Rocks stored in neat stacks for the rock smashers.

DSCN2257.jpg

So many people here are doing it really tough just to exist day to day.
Such grinding poverty.

DSCN2258.jpg

Onward through the mountains.

DSCN2259.jpg

DSCN2260.jpg

DSCN2261.jpg

DSCN2262.jpg

DSCN2263.jpg

One friendly border check along the track and 'guess what'? Locals pay a fee and foreigners go through free!!
Wonder if that concept will ever catch on in Thailand?! :lol:

DSCN2264.jpg

This T-shirt at the border check was appropriate.

DSCN2266.jpg

My destination Ann seems never to appear on the Montana because of the endless twisties and slow pace.
But at around 5pm I rattled into Ann and, luckily, found the commendable Thu Kha San Guest House.

The Manager has basic English, the room was cheap and adequate and the staff were exceptionally friendly and helpful.
Just the place I like; no pretentions, just friendly service.

They were so nice I took them out to a nearby restaurant after I had couthed up under their cold shower.
Heck the Manager even took me to a place for a free chain lube.

I enjoyed every hour in Ann. (Always wanted to say that; just for you Alan).

240n kms over 8.5 hours.
 

2wheels

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Location
Chiang Mai
Bikes
Honda Rebel 500
5th November

Ann to Ngapali


Ngapali was on my bucket-list because about a decade ago I'd seen pics that said 'must see for yourself'.
So here I come.

A nice breakfast was had at the Thu Kha San and farewells exchanged with these wonderful people.
But not before this young lad brought out his 'tanaka' jar and offered to 'tanaka you?'
Why not? So he did.

DSCN2270.jpg

DSCN2274.jpg

They say the decoration serves the purpose of cooling the skin and being attractive.
I find it an incredible cultural aspect of Burmese life.
So I was 'tanaked' but the photo will never be published!

More challenging riding wending my way to my coastal destination along a mongrel road snaking between wonderful scenery.

DSCN2276.jpg

DSCN2277.jpg

DSCN2278.jpg

DSCN2279.jpg

I stopped at a little road-side shop and enjoyed some cold water and fun with a charming family.

DSCN2282.jpg

DSCN2283.jpg

DSCN2285.jpg

Then, as if a reward for enduring the road so far, this appears and (literally) eases the pain.
For one kilometre!

DSCN2286.jpg

Another water stop at this garage and I noticed the chain was dangerously loose.
Thought I heard it slipping.
So another delightful interlude here, free water, free chain adjustment.

DSCN2287.jpg

The lad's shirt interested me.
He's a Uni student in Yangon and wears it to protest against violence.
No harm in that.
He's studying Civil Engineering, so I suggested he graduate asap then attend to the terrible roads.
Laughs all round. I do enjoy these spontaneous little breaks from riding.

DSCN2288.jpg

Don't know why this appeared on the Montana.
Any suggestions if anyone's reading this?

DSCN2289.jpg

DSCN2290.jpg

Nearing Ngapali the road improved significantly.

DSCN2292.jpg

Even elephants could walk on it.

DSCN2293.jpg

I arrived after 224 kms over 7 hours and as soon as I arrived I disliked the place.
More about that later.
 

2wheels

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Location
Chiang Mai
Bikes
Honda Rebel 500
6th November 2017

Ngapali to Pyay


I couldn't get out of Ngapali quick enough so I was on the road by 7-30 back-tracking a bit (which I always try to avoid) and into the mountains again.
And onto the bad roads again!

Here's where I stayed, near the beach, and noisy as hell.
Difficult to get a smile out of the staff too.
Likewise, the beach vendors weren't so friendly either.
Maybe it's a 'beach resort' thing as in Jomtien, Samui, Karon/Kata etc.

DSCN2314.jpg


What a pity. The roads are so bad that it's not really possible to take in the views while riding along.
But stopping every so often is a good idea anyway.
Now that the roads will improve the closer I get to Mandalay I must say that, for the route I rode, the roads varied from 'reasonable' to 'atrocious'.

Plenty of water was consumed along the way, which is essential. Actually, I found that service stations always handed out free water.

DSCN2316.jpg

I stopped at one just to get the blood flowing through my legs and they gave me a large bottle even though I didn't need to buy petrol.

DSCN2317.jpg

Looks like some-one lost concentration one final time.

DSCN2318.jpg

And that's a major factor riding here, at least on the roads I took.
It's a real physical and mental workout.
After-all, 100% concentration is required for up to 9 riding hours.
Maybe it's me but that's demanding.
The little Yammy took a hiding too.

I stopped at this little roadside 'restaurant' along the way and had about the best time I've had here so far.
No English from them, no Burmese from me but a delicious and large meal was brought out to me which I wolfed down.
You know, that humble meal was the best since I've been here.
They even had Sunday Coffee!
So I sat there for about 40 minutes (yes, that and photo stops do take up a lot of my riding time but 'smell the roses' mate.

DSCN2322.jpg

DSCN2319.jpg

DSCN2320.jpg

DSCN2295.jpg

I sat there watching the passing parade (and listening to Indian music from their TV) when a guy approached and asked in perfect English,
"From which country do you come sir?"
Wow!
Ensued an interesting conversation because he is a Catholic priest and has a 'jungle monastry'.
I said I hadn't seen any churches along the way (and only one mosque) and he advised the churches are 'in the forests'.

DSCN2321.jpg

DSCN2323.jpg

Back to the challenge of the roads, thankfully blessed with spectacular scenery when one does take the effort to stop and admire.

DSCN2324.jpg

Much of the riding is on this sort of stuff.

DSCN2325.jpg

There were two border checks along this section.
On each occasion the officers were friendly, smiley and courteous.
One even advised me "maximum 50 and many 'beep beep' OK?"
He didn't know that maintaining even 50kph here is an effort.
I actually hit 70 today coming into the major city of Pyay!!
But much of the riding is 30-50kph and much of it 2nd and 3rd gears.
Well it was for me because I was extra careful of body and bike.

DSCN2327.jpg

DSCN2329.jpg

Then I nearly died.
I was meandering around this gentle bend when I heard a bus horn 'beep beep' behind me.
A momentary glimpse into the mirror had me riding right into the middle of this pot-hole, which threw me off balance but,
thankfully, not onto the road in front of the bus.
Lucky indeed.

DSCN2328.jpg

So lucky that I've rewarded myself by staying at the salubrious and expensive ($50) Lucky Dragon here in Pyay.

DSCN2330.jpg

Haven't planned tomorrow's ride yet.

249 kms 9.5 hours.
 

rdrokit

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2017
Location
Korat, Thailand
Bikes
Stallions Scrambler 400, Honda AirBlade
2wheels,
Thanks for the travel log. I will never get to do your ride yet get to live it through your pics and descriptions. Thanks.
 

The Bigfella

Senior Member
Staff member
Joined
Aug 15, 2012
Bikes
KTM 950SER & EXC, BMW R90S & Dakar, MZ250, BSA B33, Norton 16H, Honda - 500 Fs & X, DRZs, XLs XRs CRFs CT110s etc
Great report thanks Ron. Enjoying it
 

2wheels

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Location
Chiang Mai
Bikes
Honda Rebel 500
Thank you for the encouragement guys.
rdrokit, glad I can impart some sort of feel of the place for you.
 

2wheels

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Location
Chiang Mai
Bikes
Honda Rebel 500
7th November

Pyay to Taungdwingy


The plan today was to ride a shorter duration, arrive early at my destination then check in somewhere, shower and walk around for an hour or two.

Good breakfast at the Lucky Dragon.
They also have good bike security.

8-30 departure onto roads that were initially OK then deteriorated.

The clown at Lucky Dragon reception told me it was a 2 hour ride.
Really? In the owner's helicopter maybe.
I was only passed by two other riders and the 177 kms took me 5.5 hours.
That did include a 30 minute coffee break, water stops and blood circulation stops for probably a total of one hour.
There was a 10km stretch where I actually blasted along at 70!
Wicked.

But there's always the errant dog, child, pig, ox cart, truck, bus, bicycle, tractor, tourist van, pot-hole, clump of wet bitumen, diesel spill,
random large rock, bulldozer, front end loader, goat, cow, steam roller, U-turning vehicle that is lurking around the next curve just waiting to kill you.

Again, I ambled along at 50-60kph because that was the safe 'speed'.
I'm not taking any risks in rural Burma.

Nothing of interest to photograph today.
The highlight, again, was the people I met.

Especially the time spent drinking coffee and chatting with the locals here.
And being served by this happy, industrious young urchin, who was very keen serve and to learn some English.
He'd go and ask his father what to say to this stranger and return to me "beer?" or "one more coffee".

DSCN2333.jpg

DSCN2331.jpg

DSCN2332.jpg

I wonder how much road toll revenue actually finds its way to road improvement.

DSCN2334.jpg

Seems to me that the military who have (mis)administered this place for so long need to hang their heads in shame for their apathy towards
rural road building and maintenance.
Yet they have the audacity to build that expensive white elephant of Naypyidaw for their indulgence and gratification.
There, got that off my chest.

So I arrive at bustling, noisy Taungdwingy but my GPS couldn't locate accommodation so I asked the gentlemen inside a police box for advice
and received a police motorcycle escort to where I am writing this. No internet though.

Young 'Bluey' here is our security guard (heaven forbid!) and he pointed out a nondescript restaurant opposite which I would not have noticed.

DSCN2337.jpg

A shocked looking but smiling staff didn't know what to do when I arrived (probably their first foreign customer) so I looked at what another guy was eating
and ordered that; a sort of noodly, shredded cabbage, eggy thing which looked appetizing.

Turns out he is a retired Army man with 41 years service.
During the time I took to consume my delicious meal he had sunk one small bottle of whiskey.
On his way out he told me he had recently fallen off his step-through and ruined his shoulders.
As he snaked his way onto the busy highway, without turning on his lights, I privately wondered how he is alive at all.
Then I wondered what a nightmare it would be to ride these roads of a night.
I retreated to my basic but comfortable bed.

I noticed that the traffic rattling along the main road outside my room stopped at around 10pm and then I heard no more vehicles until around 5am,
so I'm assuming the locals don't much travel at night.


Tomorrow to Meiktila
 

Captain_Slash

Blokes Who Can
Staff member
Joined
Jun 28, 2011
Bikes
BMW 310GS Honda Wave 125 Honda MSX 125
You certainly sound like you are having a great time there Ron, some lovely photos
 

2wheels

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Location
Chiang Mai
Bikes
Honda Rebel 500
8th November

Taungdwingy to Meiktila


On the road by 7-30, taking plenty of rest breaks under shady trees and consuming plenty of water.

DSCN2339.jpg

As I said, a surprise will often await the unwary rider around the next bend.

DSCN2342.jpg

I sat at a nice coffee shop and watched the passing parade at Natmauk.

DSCN2343.jpg

DSCN2344.jpg

DSCN2348.jpg

DSCN2351.jpg

DSCN2352.jpg

The rider of this was touring his country.

DSCN2350.jpg

Plenty of these toll gates.
Thankfully, motorcyclists merely take a narrow lane directly past the toll collectors.
After-all, it's the heavy vehicles that are ruining these roads.
(Don't be misled by the wonderful road surface into these toll-gates; it lasts 400 metres).

DSCN2353.jpg

It's fun to stop, remove the helmet and listen to these carts amble by.
Sort of from another era. I laughed once when a cart driver was ambling along using his mobile 'phone.
Sadly, too much passing traffic for a clear photo.

DSCN2354.jpg

I stopped for fuel and generated the usual inquisitive response when they notice an elderly foreigner painfully dismount.
The usual exchange of greetings and questions about my country and where I was heading.
When I said I live in Thailand one chap started speaking Thai to me, so we had a long conversation.

Then I was given free icy water and a free can of 'Shark' energy drink.

Then he brought out his little son for a photo.

DSCN2355.jpg

A little further along the road I decided to stop at a nice, new looking restaurant that was huge and looked promising.

A young chap rushed out and greeted me in perfect English.
He gave me a seat at a table and asked me the general set of questions and then stated that he'd been to Australia for work.
He and his young brother are merchant sea-men and he's setting this restaurant up for his future years.
The Cupid restaurant on the highway just before Pyawbwe township at N 20.49619 E 095.80315.
Mr Min Min is his name. (in the white shirt)

DSCN2358.jpg

Turns out he's been to 40 different countries. His favourites are Brazil and Oz.

I stayed about an hour chatting many things.
I learnt a lot there.

I was his first foreign guest so pics were taken for his Facebook page etc etc.

Then an Army convoy of diesel tankers arrived.
This old 1955 Hino impressed me.
The proud driver claimed it had done "one million miles" !!
He didn't mind the photo once I explained it would appear on a motorcycle website and may entice visitors to his country.
Hope he doesn't get Court-Martialled!

DSCN2357.jpg

Begrudgingly I said my farewells and hit the bumpy road again.
Nothing of particular interest along this stretch.

DSCN2359.jpg

I eventually arrived at bustling, noisy, dusty Meiktila where my wonderful Montana
took me to the Meiktila Lakeside View. (Thanks for the excellent map Auke)

I checked in and paid with spotless $US (notes must be new or as good as new here).
The Manageress took me to my room and when I discovered it had one of these .......

DSCN2361.jpg

I yelled out in delight/relief/anticipation and could have hugged her there and then in the bathroom but didn't.

At this stage the writer was suffering from a bad dose of Baboon Bum!
I was feeling what I imagine a popular Patpong rent-boy would feel after a successful Songkran.
And I'd left that wonderfully comfortable Airhawk back at home. :rage:

I luxuriated in the wonderful hot water until sometime later it was cold water.
I'd fallen asleep in the bath-tub!
So I ran another one and downed a cold beer from the 'fridge.
Ahh, the simply luxuries of life. But not everyone's life.

My room had good views.

DSCN2370.jpg

DSCN2366.jpg

No need to go all the way to Ngapali for a nice sun-set.

DSCN2374.jpg

Whilst on the balcony I heard female voices chanting Buddhist mantra.
It seemed to originate from this house, so I took a closer look.

DSCN2376.jpg

DSCN2379.jpg

Then I felt like a voyeur so retreated from the balcony and went in search of food.

It was dark, dusty and gloomy outside and no sign of a restaurant but I did find an Indian place selling what turned out to be yummy food.

This is my meal for one.

DSCN2384.jpg

And this was my little waitress.

DSCN2383.jpg

195 kms during 7 hours.
 

2wheels

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Location
Chiang Mai
Bikes
Honda Rebel 500
9th November


Meiktila to Mandalay


Checked out of the strange but comfortable and friendly Meiktila Lake View and was on the road by 8-30.
I say 'strange' because of the architecture.
The building doesn't know what it is.
Seems to be a 1970s Condo with its apartments being converted into guest rooms.
They will need to be spending millions to get the job done.

Then it was eventually on to a good road towards Mandalay.

Again, the highlight was a snack and coffee at a road-side shop.

DSCN2385.jpg

DSCN2387.jpg

DSCN2390.jpg

There were no other highlights apart from being able to enjoy a reasonably good ride at a good 'speed'.
Oh, what a difference a good road makes!

Now in Mandalay with a 'free' day tomorrow.

5.5 hours for 168 kms
 

oldbloke

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2011
Bikes
Aprilia SL750 Shiver in Aus., rentals in LOS
Pictures capture the place really well!! I can only imagine the traffic is getting worse and worse with the rapid development, and I bet the only roads that see any improvement are the ones the military want to use! I agree 100% that you really don't want to aim for high speeds!
How are your lungs from the dust and diesel? I was coughing up black shit for days, and that was just from a couple of hundred Kms!
Loved old mates military boots - not quite up to par with the uniform! But a bloke's got to wear what the generals provide, I guess.
I'm happy to hear Zac's business is going well.. great guy who knows what western tourist riders need / need to know. I wish him continued success, but not TOO much..... ;) ..
Now if only the Kengtung - Taungyi road was free to ride ....:dirtbike:
Looking forward to more pics
 

2wheels

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Location
Chiang Mai
Bikes
Honda Rebel 500
I appreciate your comments 'oldbloke'.
After a few days I realized I was suffering from carbon monoxide ingestion, especially riding in and near the rural towns and cities
(and in Mandalay).
Some sort of filter is advised, even if it is a Moto X helmet.
Yes, we did comment on the soldier's footwear and he only laughed.
Rgs
 

2wheels

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Location
Chiang Mai
Bikes
Honda Rebel 500

2wheels

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Location
Chiang Mai
Bikes
Honda Rebel 500
For anyone contemplating coming to Mandalay to rent from Zach I can recommend the Victory Point Hotel (despite its very firm mattresses).
That's because it is located only a few hundred metres from Zach's outlet and is near the 'Mr Bar BQ' restaurant and boisterous 'Golden Spider' bar.
Most importantly, it has secure underground parking for bikes.
NB the actual place is not quite as salubrious as the pics in their website depict.
And no-one here can answer the question "what victory"?!

https://www.agoda.com/hotel-victory...equestid=969fde06-86a3-41b3-b7d4-4346470034c0
 

2wheels

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Location
Chiang Mai
Bikes
Honda Rebel 500
10th November 2017 (Final day with bike)

Mandalay and U Bein bridge


Last night opposite the Golden Spider there was a mini side-show.
Manual labour operated the 'merry-go-round'. (Haven't used that phrase since the 1950s!)

DSCN2395.jpg

Mid afternoon today I rode the 8kms out to U Bein bridge.
It is an attractive area out there in that there are shady avenues to walk and ride.

DSCN2399.jpg

I found a restaurant near the bridge which served delicious ginger salad; so refreshing.

But then I noticed the filth, noise, vendors and unsmiling faces.

I saw the first beggars I'd seen in Burma sitting along the bridge walkway. (board walk)
Vendors have set up stalls on the bridge too.

It wasn't what I'd expected. Probably my fault for being enticed by promotional images.

So I walked around for an hour, got depressed and returned to 'my' hotel.
I didn't wait for the classical sunset shots. I'd seen enough.

DSCN2400.jpg

DSCN2401.jpg

DSCN2403.jpg

DSCN2407.jpg

DSCN2412.jpg

These old trees have seen a lot.

DSCN2402.jpg

DSCN2406.jpg

DSCN2408.jpg

DSCN2413.jpg

DSCN2411.jpg

DSCN2416.jpg

DSCN2417.jpg

Tonight the wonderful Mr Bar BQ was jumping.
The local Kawasaki Club and much more sedate Vespa Club arrived for a party.
They brought a band.
I haven't heard "Alone Again, Naturally" and "Lipstick on Your Collar" for many decades but I did tonight.
There were also two birthday parties.
An excellent meal and a few chilled beers and the gloom of U Bein had dissipated.

Back to Chiang Mai tomorrow.

Lasting memories?

The Burmese people.
The mountain scenery.
The painful roads.



Total distance ridden 1405 mainly bumpy kms ridden.
Map from GPS coming asap.

And there's one more major and obvious Bucketlist attraction to visit at another time.


This report is dedicated to Joy Morris, a dear friend. RIP Joy.
 

clemo

Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2015
Location
England
Bikes
Vespa ET50 / Honda C90
Thank you for an insight as to what is a trip in the planning for March 2018.

May i ask how your stomach held up ? i see you ate as some outback stops ....
And was it particularly hot this time of year? My last trip to Cambodia was like having a hot hairdryer in the face all day .
Do i take it that your journey was planned in advance with overnight stops pre planned ( so that kind of dictated your pace and distance?)

Many thanks in advance .
 

2wheels

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Location
Chiang Mai
Bikes
Honda Rebel 500
Some observations on riding in Burma.


1 A bike with large front wheel diameter and strong suspension seems to be the best for coping with the variety of roads/tracks.
Zach's Honda CRFs would be good but they are suffering from front fork seal issues.
Other issues include solenoid faults. The bike should also have good brakes! And it would be wise to select a soft suspension setting.

2 Add a couple of hours time to the 'expected ride time'. A to B is not as quick as anticipated.

3 Make sure to check if there is accommodation available in smaller towns before deciding to stay there. Zach will advise on that.

4 'Tipping' is not expected. Good, friendly service is provided for the pleasure of it.

5 Some sort of filter to reduce the ingestion of toxic fumes and dust is recommended.

6 Carrying plenty of water is highly advisable. Most fuel stops provide it free of charge.

7 Learn the local 'horn blowing' culture. There is a method to it and doing it properly can save your life.
Don't be afraid to be loud. Here the horn (the aural warning device) is actually used, as it should be, proactively and not as a reactive gesture of anger or frustration as in, say, Thailand.

8 I was lucky in not getting a flat tyre. However, it would be wise to be self sufficient in that area. There are many really remote roads.

9 Keep an eye on your fuel range. If there are no fuel stations there are private little outlets selling bottled fuel but still be careful.

10 I found the driving and riding standards here, once I adapted, better than in Thailand.
I saw only one evidence of an accident in 10 days riding. I had two 'close calls'.
I encountered only two car drivers who displayed the arrogant, impatient, dangerous behaviour that we in Thailand have become accustomed to.

11 I found that the massive trucks and buses ('massive' compared to the size of my tiny Yammy XTZ125) actually made room for me whether approaching me
or when I was attempting to pass. I did wear a 'high vis' shirt at all times.
Daytime headlight use is forbidden by law here. Why?

12 Use the numerous roadside coffee shops to enjoy a break, get a caffeine kick and maybe even enjoy a conversation. A lot can be discovered from these conversations.

13 $US notes must be new or near new with no blemishes.

14 Zach will provide a good paper map which I found useful in giving me overall routing orientation. He will also highlight the towns and cities that offer accommodation.

15 DON'T LOSE CONCENTRATION FOR ONE MOMENT!
 

2wheels

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Location
Chiang Mai
Bikes
Honda Rebel 500
Hello clemo.

My stomach held up ok. I had no problems at all with the food there.
(Maybe my gut has been hardened by decades living in Central Oz!)
Yes, it was hot out there in the sun for hours on end, hence the many stops under shady trees and the consumption of water along the way.

My particular journey was not planned in advance apart from wanting to get to Bopa (bucketlist) and Ngapali (bucketlist).
Zach gave me a map onto which he had circled the destinations which had some form of accommodation and these places became my daily destinations
and 'yes' that dictated my distance but not pace; the road condition dictated 'pace'!

I'm happy to discuss more detail via pm if you wish.

Best wishes.
 

Joko_Londo

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2016
Location
Yangon, Myanmar
Bikes
Kenbo 125
How did I miss this ride report? It's great! Been to many of these same places (I'm the author of the Taungdwingyi Wikitravel page), and I'm much impressed with your beautiful photos and stories.
 

Lone Rider

Blokes Who Can
Joined
Jan 29, 2011
Location
Chiangmai
Bikes
4 Wheels
5th November

Don’t know why this appeared on the Montana.
Any suggestions if anyone’s reading this?

View attachment 55339
Not sure why it appeared but it seems that, in case the route is to long to calculate it in its entirety, it will calculate part of the route and if you get close to that point, it will calculate the remainder.

Anyway, thanks for 'taking us along" I loved the pictures as well as the stories - next "beer-o-market time clock" hope to hear more stories and experiences.
 

2wheels

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Location
Chiang Mai
Bikes
Honda Rebel 500
Yeah, thanks Auke.
I thought it may have been the Montana 'catching up' or unable to find a signal in remote area.
Love that GPS device!

I admit to taking a liking to their Mandalay beer and their Myanmar beer and their draught beer and their ........... :DD
 

Lone Rider

Blokes Who Can
Joined
Jan 29, 2011
Location
Chiangmai
Bikes
4 Wheels
Because some riders are wanting more detailed information here, thanks to Auke, is a detailed route map of my ride. As the GPS file is quite large it will take quite some time (1 minute plus) to generate the Google Earth image with the tracks and waypoints so just be patient.

GpxViewer
 

Attachments

MastaMax

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2011
Bikes
15 Yamaha YZ250F / 08 Husky 450SMR / 13 ER6N / 13 KTM 300XCW(sold)
Nice RR. Just went to Bagan last month too, took the plane and rented some electric scooters over there. Amazing place:
 

2wheels

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Location
Chiang Mai
Bikes
Honda Rebel 500
Thanks for sharing your footage Max. :DD
Quite spectacular.
Drones sure have changed the way we see things and really supplement ride reports very well.
Pagan. Balloon ride. Next.
 
Top Bottom