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And finally the beach...

a perfect end to an amazing experience

View Around We Go on LauHot10's travel map.

In the morning one breakfast had magicked itself in to two, so we gobbled down as much as we could stomach at the early hour. It was another long day on a very bumpy bus before we reached Pyay where we were hoping to find a bus waiting to take us to the coast. However things just were not going to be simple in Myanmar and there were no buses going where we wanted. It took a lot of too-ing and fro-ing, um-ing and ah-ing for us to decide it would make most sense to get an early morning bus to Yangon and then catch another bus to the coast. Which did then raise the point that we could have caught a night time bus to Yangon from Naypyidaw and saved ourselves a lot of hassle but we worked out it wouldn't have saved us too much time and we'd be minus a couple of good stories.

We had a quiet night in Pyay as we both needed sleep. So we just had a lovely bbq dinner at the market before hitting the hay. All too soon it was time to get up and make our way to the bus. The six hour journey went by quite quickly, it is quite surprising how you get used to it. Once we reached Yangon we discovered the bus we wanted to catch towards the coast left from another bus station and so we had to get a taxi to take us there.

We then had a bit of a run in with the ticket seller. We thought we were rushed for time based on some misinformation so made an error in judgement and went with the first person who told us they want to Pathein, a port town we had to go to before finally reaching the beach. It turned out however that we were not rushed for time and there were lots of buses, some of which were cheaper. We had an argument with him when we told him he'd over charged us and he explained the taxi driver had taken some commission for bringing us there. This angered us more because we'd told the taxi driber to take us to the bus station, he hadn't done it off his own back. In the end they caved in and gave us some money back. A little bit sated by this we went to get some lunch as we still had half an hour or so till the bus left. Just as our food was put in front of us someone came along telling us our bus was ready to go. We told them our bus didn't go for another half hour but they kept badgering us and in the end I couldn't enjoy my lunch with them hovering so I left mine half eaten. All of this seriously annoyed Adam with the final icing on the cake being he was certain they moved us on to a cheaper bus. It did seem that way as the one we got on was not the one pointed out to us. As it turned out we were moved on to a nicer bus that was just a little way behind us when we reached Patien, for some unexplained reason. So we got to be on it for all of five minutes. Roll on the quiet beach, that's what we kept thinking.

Pathein has a bit of a colonial past and we were hoping to wander round in the morning before catching our final bus to Changhwa Beach. Arriving late and in a rainy Pathein we hurried to find somewhere to stay. The first place wanted silly money and at any rate was a government hotel, when we heard this we quickly scurried off. We ended up at the Paradise Hotel, which like it's namesake in Bangalore shared very little characteristics with my idea of paradise. Ignoring this though as it was simply a bed for the night we went to sleep after yet another long day on buses.

In the morning we made our way to the bus station to book a ticket for an afternoon bus to Changhwa Beach. For once the process was completely painless and over in a matter of minutes. After this we had a wander around the town. As I said it is a port town so we got our first look at the sea for quite some time. It was a bustling little place, with a market and narrow streets. We hunted down the few colonial buildings that are left, which despite being pretty run down were still pretty much intact and they gave the place a kind of Havana feel.
As we were walking up and down the streets a lady on a bike stopped next to us and asked if we needed any help. We explained we were just having a look round and she then told us that her grandfather was English and had come to Burma during the war and never left. She said she would have liked to show us round but unfortunately she couldn't as she was a teacher and had a class to get to. We thanked her for her kindness and walked on.

In the end it didn't take so long to look around Pathein and conscious that we had a bus to catch we decided to head back to the hotel to relax for a little bit before making our way to the bus station. When we got there we saw three men filling every single nook and kraney the small vehicle had. It had seats that were high off the floor so boxes could be slid underneath, the aisles were filled with produce and then there were the passengers. We'd been allocated prime seats at the front and although we had to sit crossed legged with our knees around our ears we were better of than most. Changhwa Beach is a very small place and at the end of the line as it were so everything has to be brought in Patien and then transported along the bumpy, windy road which we were now on. It took about three hours and I fidgeted the whole way because I could get comfortable but it was all worth it.

Our time at the seaside was the perfect end to our hectic Myanmar visit. When we'd boarded the bus a man had been loaded on some boxes and he struck up conversation. He explained he worked at a hotel at the beach and was in town shopping, he would return in a couple of days. We took a business card and it turned out to be the hotel we were planning on checking out first so we told him we would take a look. Thankfully it was one of those times where the first was always going to be the best so we didn't need to look anywhere else.

The rooms were all in little bungalows dotted around a grassed area with the best ones practically on the beach.
Lucky for us things were quiet and we were shown to our beach side home for the next few days. I don't think we could have got a better spot, as we sat on our little veranda looking out at the sea.
It may not have been everyone's idea of a perfect beach as the sand wasn't pristine white and the weather wasn't blazing hot but it was peaceful and had lots of rustic appeal.
The best part for us was the room service as we were served every single meal on our little terrace. Our waiter was a very sweet guy who always showed up smiling with a tray full of good grub. It became a routine that he would show up about an hour before lunch to tell/show us what fresh seafood they had and then the same an hour before dinner. We had a chat with him one evening and asked him if he was born at the beach and he explained that he came from a little village further South. When the cyclone hit a couple of years ago the majority of his family lost their lives but he had been ok because he'd moved away to work at the hotel. It was very sad and difficult to convey in the right way that we were sorry with the language barrier but he seemed to understand.

So our days fell into a pattern which mainly revolved around doing very little. We walked to the other end of the beach and then back through the tiny village once but in the end found the appeal of staying close to home a bit too alluring. We spent some time rock pooling and looking at all the little hermit crabs.
Really we just enjoyed the simple pleasures as we recharged our batteries. The only thing which interrupted the tranquillity was the nephew of the man we'd met at the bus who came round a couple of times a day to see what we were up to and enquire about how much we paid for every meal. Apparently we could go to his aunts house and it would be cheaper, something which he told us he shouldn't be saying because the manager would be angry. We didn't really take to him though as he came across as a bit nosey and not very genuine so we politely declined.

We were pleased to find out that we could get a direct bus to Yangon rather than having to change in Pathein. It was going to be the last long bus trip we would be doing for some time and we were both pleased about that. We'd had enough for a while. The night before we left the beach we enjoyed a lovely sunset, yet another mouth watering meal and we gave our waiter a big tip for being so helpful and kind.
We were then up to catch the six am bus which was not the coach we'd been hoping for but it was the last one so we could take it.

Back in Yangon we just had one full day to do a bit of shopping and pick up Adam's suit. Unfortunately it was not to be a repeat of the success in Bangalore but more of a laughable failure. I think someone who had about a minute to just get a mental image of Adam's measurements could have done a better job. The jacket was about three sizes too big as was the shirt, the trousers though were more successful and so in the end we just agreed to take them. I think they could all see that it looked ridiculous and was not what Adam had asked for in the slightest. Perhaps we will have better luck somewhere in South America.

Adam spent a little more time wandering around Yangon but I had to call it a day a little earlier on as my knees were really beginning to be painful. Walking around on the uneven pavements and potholed roads was taking its toll and I decided it was better to rest. He brought back a takeaway dinner and we called it an early night.

As we flew out of Myanmar the next day we were waving goodbye to old Asia as from now on we were just going to frequenting modern cities. Myanmar is as traditional as it gets, it's the way Asia used to be and it was an eye opening experience. I hope one day that I can go back like Adam has and visit some of the wonderful people that we met.

More Soon,

Laura & Adam

Posted by LauHot10 04:20 Archived in Myanmar Tagged round_the_world

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