barf bags, anyone? htee khee to phu nam ron border crossing

unfortunately, i have no pictures of this entire journey because, who has time to take pictures when 3 of 4 ladies in the van were busy throwing up?

so me and my dawei travel buddy decided to go back to thailand through htee khee (myanmar side)/phu nam ron (thai side) as it is the closest to dawei. having said that, google paints a not so pleasant picture of said route. but what the heck. i wanted to see the death railway at kanchanaburi and this is the closest option to me, rather than go up north again to mae sot, then go back south again. how bad could it be?

well…we should have considered that, fuck, we’re in myanmar. where getting a bus and/or train from one province to another is a pain (there are reports that the dawei-malamyine train ride of 300km takes 14hrs. yuh).

most of the trips going to the border, i think, leaves in a van. i mean, i can’t imagine a mammoth passenger bus going that way. we left the van parking lot at 8am as promised. that was a surprise as nothing is on time in myanmar. i think this is the first time that a form of transportation left on time.

and i think that was the last good news we had between dawei and the myanmar border. the scenery was very VERY nice, but who has time to enjoy that when the road is rough (like ROUGH), winding, and the woman behind you and on your left is vomiting? in the middle of the 4hrs+ journey, i had to start managing my breathing to avoid throwing up myself

immigration in both myanmar and thailand was a breeze. none of those strict questions i encountered when i crossed the malaysia-thailand border. the lady thai immigration officer was in fact in awe of me because i was traveling all by myself (yay solo female travelers!).

from there, we caught a van going to kanchanaburi bus terminal. it’s MMK16,000, which is waaaaay cheap as reports said transportation operators can charge as much as THB800. having said this, there exist a cheaper, FREE option: travel buddy saw a group of westerners hitch hiking with a pick-up truck. we rationalized paying as helping the local economy. plus com’on, it’s US$16. there are limits to stinginess

anyway, crossing borders always amazes me because you can clearly see the stark differences between countries through the border towns, especially if it’s between a poor/rich country. where myanmar’s “roads” are bumpy, sandy, winding, and meant to be one way, thailand’s was steady, smooth, and flat. none of that vomit-inducing action for the next 40 minutes.

honestly, it was an easy crossing. if you are not road sick, this is a totally manageable journey from dawei, rather than going back to mae sot or flying from yangon.

having said this…remember those vomiting ladies? while they were sensitive enough to bring barf bags, i guess those were not enough. their vomit were all over the floor, drenching our overnight bags with…ugh, vomit. but i was luckier: my pack was mostly synthetic and i stop at kanchanaburi; my hostel is 5 minutes away from the bus terminal. travel buddy was not so lucky. his pack is cotton and he was traveling to koh samui. aaaaand…his headphones were not spared

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