Monday 6th Feb – Farewell Myanmar, hello Thailand
Monday saw us packing away our beach gear and hitting the road early for the journey across country to a little known border crossing and the road to Kanchanaburi in Thailand.
The start was your normal Myanmar road – a lane each way just about big enough for the bus with road extensions being carried out on both sides of the road by crews mainly made up of women painstakingly sorting rocks of different sizes into the correct grade to line the sides of the road, before the tar crews, melting their giant drums of tar over open fires, poured the goo over the rocks. It’s a really manual process but almost every road in Myanmar is undergoing this widening process, so I guess it works for them.
Our bumpy tarmac road soon gave way to dirt tracks, and our normally speedy bus driver slowed to a 15km/hr crawl and that’s how we stayed for the next 7 hours.. We crossed fairly terrifying wooden bridges, stopped at tribal checkpoints and stopped occasionally at either truck stops or just shops to use the facilities.
It was hot (the bus could only power the aircon when going downhill), dusty and completely fabulous, the landscape is really stunning from manicured farms and rubber plantations to jungle where wild elephants are rumoured to live.
Crossing the border was straightforward and we were delighted to see the vans that Katie had booked were actually waiting for us on the Thai side – so we said goodbye to Thura, Mr Aun and Mr Yaye before jumping in our cars for the 2 hr drive to Kanchanaburi. What a difference… the roads are pristine, have road markings (not something we’d seen much of in 2 weeks) and are lined with modern stores and buildings. Thailand is definitely much more developed than quaint Myanmar.
We stopped at Sam’s House Hotel for the night, and after a quick shower headed out for a Thai curry next to the River Kwai.