Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Myanmar Motorcycle Journey 9 - Taungoo to Pyay

A working elephant
One impression I got regarding Myanmar as a whole while I tootled along these rural roads was how sparsely populated it is. So much natural, undeveloped land. Once you're in the valleys, there's plenty of people, but up in the hills I could sit on the side of the road, taking a break, and 10 minutes would go by without anyone passing through.

You may have noticed in previous vids, I did take a lot of breaks. I'd drive 45 or 50 minutes, and then spend 5 or 10 off the bike. Even with that, by the end of the 2000 mile trek, I had saddle sores.

Look at the size of that pig!
This stage of 212 km had me crossing my previous path, sort of a middle point in the big figure-8 I made in the country. Early in the vid, I cross under the New Mandalay Highway, which I had traveled on day 1 on the bus. Then it was up into the Bago Hills, the lowest of the 3 ranges I crossed in 3 days. These scenic hills, were dry and somewhat empty, a lot of it being taken up by a nature reserve.

Eventually, I descended into the river valley of the mighty Irrawaddy River, the lifeblood of the nation of Myanmar. Near Pyay, I made
a detour to see another city. An ancient city. A ruined city. Dug out of the fertile, brown soils by archaeologists some 30 years ago, the 2000-year-old city of Sri Ksetra fascinated me. I think that's most remarkable is that you can look around and see where half the city is still buried, marked by earthen mounds on the otherwise flat plain.

Enjoy the video!

Road report:
Distance: 212 km
Time: 6 hours
Road conditions: Excellent 2%; good 45%; fair 45%; bad 8% (see the key)


  1. Hope you enjoyed your nice hot bath, you deserved it. I am so enjoying this trip with you and wonder if you are the first caucasion some of the people in the mountains have seen? Are you still in awe of where you are or do you take it for granted now?

  2. Funny ending to that story. The shower I took on arrival at the hotel was wonderfully steamy, but it had it's own small tank electric water heater. Like a lot of hotels these days, the electricity goes off when you leave the room. So, when I came back from dinner, the tank had not recharged. An hour later, there was tepid water, but when it began to fill the tank, I noticed the water was kind of brown, something you don't notice with a shower. I skipped the bath.

  3. Hi, am I right in thinking this is the direct road from Taungoo to Pyay?
    We're thinking of doing it the other way round in March but have read you need a permit or to be in a tour. Can you shed any light on that?
    Thanks Paul

    1. No, for that part of Myanmar, no permits or tours required. Have fun!

    2. Great thanks. We'll have a blast I'm sure.


Discovering Northwest Myannmar 13 - To Burmese Days

In this leg of the journey, I had to turn around. I was saddened by this; no proper motorcycle loop includes parts where you return ...