Welcome to our travel blog. We are Tabitha and Nic. In 2011 we 'retired' in our early 40s and set off to travel the world. We spent our first year in South America and have been lucky enough to make two trips to Antarctica.

Our blog is a record of our travels, thoughts and experiences. It is not a guide book, but we do include some tips and information, so we hope that you may find it useful if you are planning to visit somewhere we have been. Or you may just find it interesting as a bit of armchair travel.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Farewell to Myanmar / Burma

Our last full day in Myanmar was a long driving day to Dawei, so that we would be in a good place to make the push to the border.

We stopped off at the Thanbyuzayat Allied War Memorial, which again was a beautifully kept place of remembrance, with some graves relating to people who died in the construction of the death railway. More on that when we get to Thailand though.

Dawei itself is a little inland from Myanmar's south westerly coastline, but for those who felt a couple of hours at the beach was worth a very early morning, the truck made a trip out before we set off for the border. Those that went enjoyed it, but we opted for a nice lay in instead.

We also managed to pick up a few extra passengers today. The man who runs the local tourist bureau had a few apprentices and they joined us to make the crossing into Thailand.

I don't know how much they learned officially, but we did introduce them to some new music including Build Me Up Buttercup by the Foundations and Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, which they got most excited about, so that was good.

We in turn, were quite excited when someone spotted an elephant down in the hills below us. Admittedly it was a working elephant, with a boy on its back, but still, it was interesting to see.

We were slightly less enthusiastic about being stopped at two armed checkpoints.

We were in the area of Myanmar that is held by the Karen Rebels, and there is known to be an issue in the area because of the Karen resistance to the development of the road that we were travelling down to facilitate the creation of a transportation and manufacturing hub near to Dawei.

The first stop was the Myanmar police, checking where we were going and why. There seemed to be some reluctance to let us through, as we were there for quite a while, but in the end with Myo, our government escort, and the tourism guy all fighting our case, we were allowed through.

The second stop was the Karen Rebels. They seemed more easily satisfied, and we were soon waved on our way with lots of smiles. I guess we didn't look like we were planning on doing any road construction.

We reached the border, which while not as smooth a process as it could have been, was not too much of a delay, and we were soon saying our goodbyes to Myo, our escorts, and our extra passengers and crossing in to Thailand. It seemed slightly strange being just us again, and somehow slightly naughty, as if we had given our watchers the slip!

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