Sunday, March 12, 2017

Myanmar Motorcycle Epic 15: The Big Pivot

This was the high point of my recent journey. By high point, I mean it was the northernmost place I visited. After a couple days in Hsipaw, it was time to turn around and make a pivot southwards, back towards Yangon and home. 

Still though, there were some things to see and do in Hsipaw. As was the case in my last big motorcycle journey through Myanmar, there was a bit of literary tourism in this journey. A couple decades back, Twilight Over Burma: My Life as a Shan Princess was published by Inge Sargent. Hers was an unusual tale. She was an Austrian aristocrat who was courted and wooed to marry by the last prince of Hsipaw. That being unusual in of itself, the fate of the prince makes it more so. I really need to avoid political stances here on Leaving Amerika, even on stuff that happened 50+ years ago. Suffice to say
that after the 1962 change of government here in Myanmar, the Prince of Hsipaw disappeared, and his fate has not been definitively determined since. I visited his last home before his disappearance and am entertained by the wife of his nephew. 

It was then on to the next leg of the journey. As I was a bit out of Hsipaw itself, getting back to the main road allowed me go down some backroads. Through rice paddies and narrow paths. 

The road between Goke Hteik and Naung Cho is one I will never forget. It was my second time passing through it, having come that way on my way up to Hsipaw. Knowing what was coming, twenty-some 180 degree hairpin turns, through steeped roads full of trucks making coming from China, made it that much more interesting. See, I didn't think of it as a nasty bit of traffic to endure, instead it was a challenge to be overcome. The many trucks weren't obstacles; they were a puzzle.

Mainly due to the realities of the map, being at the junction of the road road to Taunggyi, I spent the night at the only hotel in Naung Cho. The Naung Cho Hotel. Cheap. Nice. This mountain town hasn't made it onto Lonely Planet or Trip Advisor yet, although it's got everythinh Kyaukme has.
Ain't no tourists visiting Naung Cho. That night, I shared dinner with a Burman-Shan-Nepalese football club that was coming off winning a regional tournament.

Enjoy the video.  


  1. My goodness! God truly helps you and provides for you, when you drive! Thank you for your video. It's lovely! Blessings, Lynn

  2. Having lived 25 years in Norway where hairpin mountain curves were part of daily life the road you drove wouldn't scare me. What WOULD scare me is the way you been meandering through and along those truck convoys with your little bike. It simply looks horrifying. Your journey though that country keeps intriguing me.


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