My first extended experience off the beaten track here in Burma. Leaving bags at the hotel, I decided to check out the remaining sights, before indulging in some trails across countryside, to a hot spring and an unspectacular waterfall.
Along the way, I visited an impressive teak monastery, met an Englishman, drank fresh organic papaya juice and met a group of locals, who pounced upon what was clearly a prime opportunity to be photographed with a white man.
Whilst the waterfall itself was all dried up, getting there was out of this world. Biking on trails with humps like camels, passing oxen and carts, locals ploughing with their beasts and a group of scared Chinese people as I flew around a particularly swoopy section of single track. Crossing a small bamboo bridge, I attempted to balance bike and self, making it half way, before clutching the world’s weakest attempt at a handrail. Realising it was me, the bike, or both, I threw the bike the remaining distance and leapt behind it, the bamboo handrail crashing into the brook below. That was fun, I think to myself, before climbing an un-ridable stepped hill, bike over shoulder. Despite the disappointing waterfall, the views and sight of unchanged farming traditions were well worth the hike.