On God's speed through the Ayeyarwaddy delta

Pathein Travel Blog

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The Ayeyarwaddy delta can also be crossed by train.

We leave today at 7.30 a.m. to Pathein, where we will spend the night to cover the last stretch to Chaungta tomorrow. We are lucky to be travelling in the dry season, because now the estimated driving time is about 9 hours and in the wet season this would have been twelve hours because of the huge detour that is necessary at that time. Many roads are inaccesible when the rains come and then we would have to set course to Yangon and take a right later on back to the west.

For the main part we drive through a furtile area where many people are working in the fields.

A landscape in the Ayeyarwaddy delta.
Quite a large section of our route is unsealed road, but the surface is so fantastically not sealed, that it is much better to drive on than many roads that are covered with tarmac. On this part of the trip our driver is on a jazz and we are flying towards our destination, a dog crossing the road without paying attention pays for this with his life.

The only stops we make are a few toilet stops and a lunchbreak around midday in the tiniest of places, somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Ordering our food is a challenge here, because there is no menu and English is something the locals have never heard of. Fortunately our co-driver jumps to the rescue, he translates and serves as a waiter. The food isn’t bad, but some dishes appear to be rather spicy.

We arrive in Pathein an hour ahead of schedule and we can check out our rooms, that Aart-Jan has already warned us for, an hour earlier as well.

These people travel slower than we do, in the Ayeyarwaddy delta the time seems to have stood still.
The Taan Taan Ta Hotel is indeed far from the best we have ever slept in, the first floor looks like a cell block with the tiniest of rooms, but fortunately we get to go up to the second floor where everything looks a bit more friendly and it has slightly larger rooms. Our room fits a double bed (with 35 cm to spare on one side) and a single bed that we need to store our stuff on, because there are no closets. The bathroom with shower and toilet is slightly bigger than our toilet at home, but as long as we can wash up after a warm and sweaty day it’s fine by me.

We stroll into the village to get a drink somewhere and to try and get away from the heat, and we accidentally end up in one of the places Aart-Jan recommended. The Coke and shade are delicious, but we will not be eating here, there’s simply too many flies. We move on, looking for the Clocktower and we run into the sisters from Limburg and their spouses and decide to go for another drink.

One of our toilet stops while dashing through the Ayeyarwaddy delta.
Dinner time is approaching and Trudy and I fancy the looks of restaurant Golden Land, that has a nice front yard with some inviting tables in the shade. We are barely seated when Anne and Rudolf stick their smiling faces around the garden wall, and of course we invite them to join us. Rudolf is always good for a laugh or two and this time it is the way he tries to find out if the chicken on the menu has bones in it or not. The waiter doesn’t understand a word he is saying, English or Belgian, and simply says “Yes” whenever Rudolf stops talking.

After dinner we split up and Trudy and I visit the evening market that is held every day near the banks of the river. We check out the food and goods that are for sale, and this time most of it is meant for the inhabitants of the village and not for tourists, and the locals check out Trudy and me. Once again we stand out of the crowd because of our size. Me in particular, since the minimum difference in height between me and the tallest Burmese man is at least twenty centimetres.

At nine p.m. we are back in our room and we come to the conclusion that today we have undertaken the least of our entire journey so far, but that isn’t even so bad, considering the heat and my cold and all...

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The Ayeyarwaddy delta can also be …
The Ayeyarwaddy delta can also be…
A landscape in the Ayeyarwaddy del…
A landscape in the Ayeyarwaddy de…
These people travel slower than we…
These people travel slower than w…
One of our toilet stops while dash…
One of our toilet stops while das…
Pathein
photo by: TrudyNRonnie