I woke up at 6.30am and was ready by 7.30am. Nonglak and I had planned a morning out, which turned into a whole day out. We started the day by exploring Mae Sot’s fresh food market (passing live eels, frogs, fish and turtles), as well as the border area, where riverside vendors sell live prawns and crabs, along with cheap cigarettes and alcohol. At one point Nonglak showed me a river crossing point, where a little boat was ferrying passengers back and forth across the river that separates Thailand and Myanmar. We didn’t share enough words for her to explain what it was all about, so in the end Nonglak just showed me. We got on the little boat and quickly found ourselves on the Myanmar side, where a steep set of stairs led from the water’s edge up to a grand-looking building. On walking through the doors and a security booth, it suddenly made sense what was going on – we were standing in a casino. Such gambling is not allowed in Thailand and so we had crossed into a piece of Myanmar into which Thai people are free to travel and gamble. Adjacent to the casino is a duty-free store selling an impressive international selection of chocolate and alcohol.

Back in Thailand, we enjoyed an amazing lunch at a nondescript restaurant. I had perhaps the best Chinese noodle soup I have ever had, followed by a selection of bite size delights. The perks of eating with a local! Next, we visited an area of town dedicated to the sale of second-hand bicycles. There were thousands of them. I helped Nonglak pick out one that suited her, a nice little black fold-in-half style bike. A bit of a drive then took us into the hills and to Nonglak’s hobby farm, where rice and tomatoes are grown. Heading even further into the spectacular hills that surround Mae Sot, we visited a stylish café (Rocha Café) that is hidden away down a winding dirt track.

In the evening, after returning home from the big day out, I ducked out to a nearby café to find some internet and start trying to put together a rough plan for my time in Myanmar. My research informed me that just last night Myanmar was hit with an earthquake that struck the centre of the country, killing several people and destroying some ancient temples. Apparently the shock was felt as far away as Bangladesh, which was surprising given that neither Nonglak nor I had felt anything in the night.

Day 511 (pic)

Cafe art

Accommodation Friend’s house
Distance ridden today 0km
Total distance ridden 13,627km