Famed for being a hilly day and keen to escape hotel hell, I woke early, watched the sun rise above Meiktila lake and made sure I was first the breakfast queue.
Back on the bike by 7.30am, I made swift progress, clearing 55kms down flat and only mildly bumpy roads, before chugging down a cup of coffee courtesy of a 3 in 1 sachet.
Slightly nervous about the 1300m climb ahead, I pressed on, aiming for a waterfall, which turned out to be dry as a bone (Feb,2018).
The village on maps.me with a bus stop named Nam Pan Tek is a great place to find good quick tasty food, frequented by passing buses. A short hop down the road sits an elephant sanctuary and here a steady climb begins that doesn’t let up for some 20km.
Making good progress, I shared mountain views with a constant stream of passing trucks, only improved by truck loads of encouragement from passers by.
Arriving in Kalaw at 3pm, earlier than planned, I had enjoyed the ride, but regretted not taking the longer more scenic route, albeit a tough combo of rough tracks and multiple mountain climbs.
For anyone reading and intending upon a similar route, I’d recommend avoiding the main route 4, with all but the super-fit breaking the journey at a monastery en-route. At the time of writing, there is no foreigner accommodation between Mekitila and Kalaw.
At the Railroad Hotel sat awaiting a peaceful single room with great brekkie, costing just $10.
On recommendation from the hotel, I ate generous, tasty serving of Chinese food, just off the corner of Min and Aung Tha Pyay St (the best yet!), before heading back to the ranch for some much needed zzzzzs.