Saturday, January 16, 2016

Myanmar Motorcycle Journey 10 - Pyay to Ngapali

The big skies of Rakhine State
I woke up in Pyay feeling good. I'd traveled further on my motorbike in the previous two days than during any two days in my long relationship with the iron horse. A bit sore, but all in all, my fat old body was holding up well.

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!
The second problem was my mild gephyrophobia, a fear of bridges. Small bridges don't bother me. Walking over a bridge doesn't concern me. I'm not afraid it's going to collapse, and I'm okay with heights in general. Instead, it's driving on a tall, high bridge that scares the crap out of me. I have a bit of a panic attack in these circumstances. I have to stare at the pavement, slow down and focus. My arms and legs get weak. I want to close my eyes, but of course, I can't. As you'll hear in the video, singing helps too.

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

Passport, please.
I got stopped by the authorities for the first time on the journey. This was the first opportunity I had to test what I'd been told: by having a Myanmar Drivers License, I didn't need any special papers or permissions to travel throughout Myanmar. I was confident, but whenever you're stopped by the police in the developing world, you really can't be sure what's going to happen.

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!

Trip Report:
Distance: 250 km
Time: 7 hours
Road conditions: Excellent 2%; Good 30%; Fair 60%; Bad 8%


  1. What an interesting journey you are on! I am truly enjoying your videos of this trip.

  2. Judy, above, is one of our blogger friends and has a lot at Jojoba. In f several of our blog friendsalso read your blogs and are amazed at what you are doing, as are we. Good videos.

    1. I would have thought that RV crowd would like travel stuff. Thanks!

  3. You're making me feel like I'm travelling with you, my friend. Enjoying it! When you spoke about travelling across bridges, you made me laugh. I used to feel the same and even did what you did. But, I would sweat as I crossed. Since I've been taking these great vitamins, I've never had anymore problem with bridges or vertigo, while driving. Vitamins may help you. Just thought I'd mention it. Again, I must say that I truly enjoy your travelling. Thank you. Blessings, Lynn


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