|The big skies of Rakhine State|
It was time to cross the mighty Irrawaddy River and head towards Rakhine State and the coast. Two problems cropped up on the ride out of town. First off, finding the bridge entrance was harder than I'd thought. This whole trip would have been impossible without GPS and Google Maps on my phone.
|There's the bridge!|
Just past the river, the Rakhine Hills cropped up right away. Scenic as the previous two ridges I had crossed, the hills presented little challenge as I had become adept at handling my little motorbike on these windy roads. As I've noted in previous blogs, the people I passed on the road were astounded to see a foreigner out in the countryside; few westerners come through here outside the confines of a tour bus or hired car.
|The Arakenese, the people of Rakhine State|
Turns out they were very nice. The served me a cup of coffee while they recorded my paperwork.
I made such good time on the road, I had reached my proposed destination of Toungup by 1:30. Although tired, I was really looking forward to reaching the beach and lounging on the warm, white sands of a tropical beach. Plus, if I got to Ngapali that day, I could spend two nights there and not have to travel at all the next day. So I pushed on!
It was the night before New Years Eve, and I didn't have a room reservation. I knew there were lots of hotels in Ngapali, so I wasn't too worried. I knew that accommodation was expensive in Ngapali, but I was willing to pay $60-75/night, about twice what I'd been paying per night on the trip thus far, so I wasn't too worried.
Yeah, no worries. I got the beach by sunset, and the only room I could find was twice the price I was hoping to spend.
|I made it! Sunset over the Bay of Bengal|
Enjoy the video!
Distance: 250 km
Time: 7 hours
Road conditions: Excellent 2%; Good 30%; Fair 60%; Bad 8%