Well, I’ve heard of train delays in Burma and today I experienced it too. It was a 5 hr delay and put a bit of kibosh on our plans to get a long ride in. Well that’s just the start.
After hopping out of the train, we had to check in with an immigration office and we rode into town looking for some food. We found a decent spot and even nicer, we found a shop making an awesome yoghurt, some fresh bread pudding and fruit shakes. Fully stuffed, we rode out towards the unknown. We just had the name of the town, Hopin, and no maps to go with. Ah well, we just decided to brave the ride.
It was a nice smooth ride for 20 km, some kids followed us for a while and it was really enjoyable. At the 20 km point, we hit a check post and they didn’t want to let us through. We tried telling them out long travel story and the officer in charge tried talking with someone on the phone and after an hour, we were still denied permission to leave. As it turns out, foreigners weren’t allowed beyond this point. The only place we are allowed to ride to was from Hopin to the lake nearby. Our plans to ride south of Hopin was also foiled as we were informed that we weren’t allowed to ride anywhere and have to take a train to Mandalay. Bummer.
As we rode back to town, we were redirected to a cobble stone road, which was a pain to ride on. Once in town, the 2 cheap guesthouses were full and we had to ride around and knock on every hotel in town. The best we could find was a 30$ spot, the most expensive stay till now. Damn you Myanmar, you are making it really hard for me.
There were plain clothes police men, we like to call agent smith, checking us out and making sure we are being good and checking into a hotel as instructed.
At the end of the day, we’ve had an expensive and long train ride, followed by an expensive hotel stay and an expensive ride back. All for pretty much no riding. A real shame, it’s so difficult to plan a ride here given no clear information is available anywhere.
Route: Partial loop from Myitkina
Distance: 48 km
Ascent: 0 ft
Descent: 0 ft
Time in saddle: 3:00 hrs
Expenses: Sg$ 29.75
Comments: It’s not possible to ride out of Myitkina to Hopin or even towards Bhamo. Looks like riding in Kachin is not easily feasible at this time.