Nay Pyi Taw to Hpa-An via Golden Rock, Myanmar Week 153 March 1st - 3rd 2014
We back tracked to the west then headed south towards the new capital at Nay Pyi Taw.

Leaving Inle early we caught the morning light again.

And the mist as we climbed out of the valley.
Go and get your own breakfast!

Of paw-paw.

Some of the conical hats have pom poms in this area.

Perhaps - some of the women have pom poms on their conical hats in this area ....

Cauliflowers ready for market.
We near the new capital and begin to see extravagent buildings.

This is a stadium. There was some sort of military complex with fountains beyond it.

Most of the traffic was around the capital on small roads.

The wide roads were mainly empty.

We are in the hotel area.


The city strikes us as a model for future inefficiency as the reliance on energy to cover the long distances within the spread out city become evident.

We are camped in the car park of the Sky Palace Hotel.

This was the reception committee, complete with cool, salted, juice. Of a fruit who's name we can't pronounce.

Live music (gentle 70's western music) and a buffet in the cafe next to our car park.
Then up for another early start.
200km of motorway.

Concrete and a bit lumpy.

As well as bridge transitions that were more lumpy.

Across the Sittaung River.
Myanmar has a military dicatorship in transition to democracy.

Surprisingly we've seen little evidence of the military.

One of the more unusual requests was "have you got a vacuum cleaner?".

And of course someone did.

Ali decided to have a look at the golden rock.

I figured I needed a rest.

No bicycles allowed so Vaughan, Kim and Ali braved the truck ride.

I'm pleased I gave it a miss.

Pilgrims are special people, specially toughened.

It seems most are from within Myanmar.

There's a 10 minute walk from the truck terminus.

Some people opt to be carried.

Quite spectacular.

The rock and pagoda are covered in gold leaf.

Real gold leaf.

The important bit for the pilgrims is the pagoda.

Kyaikhtiyoe Hsantawshin Pagoda.

The rock represents an Ascetic's head. Buddha visited and gave his hair to the Ascetic Twira.

The hair is enshrined in the pagoda.

Usual story of women not allowed that close.
This isn't just a tourist industry.

This is industrial tourism.

About 40,000 people each day.

This aspect of Myanmar, as at Inle, was a bit of a surprise to us.

And so we eventually set out for Hpa-An.

About 150km.

Headed south east, crossing the north south rivers.

Ah ........


We've been unsure what has been underneath our feet since entering Assam.

It wasn't granite but must somehow have been associated with the Himalayas.

This is sedimentary. An old sea bed.

Very common in SE Asia, as we discovered last time we were here.

The vegetation has become more lush. A bit like we expected of all of Myanmar.

Limestone sand on the river banks.

We are crossing the Salween River.

We are now in the Myanmar State of Kayin. There is the Karen national museum somewhere near.

The Karen are one of the larger tribes spread across the hills to the north of Thailand, Myanmar and NE India. They have a wish for their own country.

We are camped in the shade of a limestone hill.

Just east of the Salween River at Hpa-an.

To Myawaddy, Myanmar Week 153 March 4th 2014

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