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A full stop on Koh Samui

                Such a tiny dot at the end of a sentence, but its meaning is absolute, we came to a full stop!  Fine white sand, warm shallow seas, islands to visit, bungalow on the beach, fantastic food…. no wonder so many Europeans live on Koh Samui, from young … Continue reading »

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Leaving Myanmar

We completed our final ride in Myanmar (except for the short ride to the airport) from Pyin Oo Lwin to Sagaing with a huge sense of relief that we have managed (mostly) Matt’s route without any accidents or illness, having consumed some unreliable food and endured some very busy roads, especially those to the border … Continue reading »

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Highs and Lows

Our hotelier Min Nyunt arranged for us to visit Shwe sin min charity nunnery in Pwin Oo Lyin “perhaps to teach a little English and to talk to them about our jobs”. We arrived and a swarm of 100 girls poured into the classroom, from ages 3 to 18, lifting down benches, anticipating our lesson. … Continue reading »

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Pwin Oo Lyin hilltop town

  At 1020m Pwin Oo Lyin is a cool retreat from the stifling heat of Mandalay. It is delightful: clear blue skies, bright sunshine and verdant greens, but chilly enough for fleeces and hats in the evening. The train journey was spectacular.  We happened upon San Francisco guesthouse, in fact a group of bungalows clustered … Continue reading »

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Mandalay is another noisy dusty town x10! Probably a bit unfair, the moat around the palace and the one remaining palace building (bombed WW2) is well worth seeing, but Mandalay is a city in a developing country with few charms and huge poverty, surrounded by massive slums.  These replicas show the location of the palace … Continue reading »

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The road to Mandalay

No need to ponder on a blog title today!!  I chose a small road 12 km east of Thazi for our journey north, it looked ok when we passed it from Kalaw, and blissfully no lorries with their deafening horns. But it was quiet for a reason. Sylvie, if you’re reading this, take this road … Continue reading »

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Seasick on a train

The train back up to Kalaw was ancient, 70 years old at least and clattered and rumbled and swayed at least 15 degrees either side of the narrow tracks. In UK it would be immediately condemned. Just look at the wiring Sean!!  There are power cuts most days, even in cities, and the Internet is … Continue reading »

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What to do in Lake Inle?

 Inle Lake is a short boat trip from Nyaung Shwe, a small town with a hotel under construction on every street. It is 22km long, and home to many stilted villages with different ethnic groups. We cycled to a village outside the town and met an enterprising man who agreed to take us out onto … Continue reading »

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Kalaw to Lake Inle

Kalaw is a pretty town, at 1320m the air is clean, the sky piercingly blue, and it nestles below pine forested peaks. It’s a trekking centre but we don’t carry hiking shoes and have not seen much wildlife here.  So we cycled to viewpoints (temples, but shhh, don’t tell Charles) and to the Kalaw Hotel … Continue reading »

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The Meiktila Massacre

From Bagan we cycled SE on a gentle climb to Mount Popa, an extinct volcano that last erupted 320,000 years ago. Plenty to see en route: the main preoccupations appear to be collecting water from wells, and collecting wood, and mostly by women and children: a shameful existence in our modern age.  I even saw … Continue reading »

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