26 October 2007, 10:15 PM
When we bought the ticket, they said the bus will leave at 9:30 PM. However, when they actually left, it was already 10:15 PM. The whole trip was uneventful – just watching video and listening to music.
27 October 2007
We arrived at the base camp of Kyaikhtiyo, the Kinmon Base Camp. Our bus stopped at one restaurant so I took a nap on a wooden bench in front of the restaurant.
I was woken from my sleep by the sounds of people and cars. Other people were ready for their trip to Kyaikhtiyo. For us, we were still in our bed. We wash our face, had breakfast and went to the bus station in the Kinmon base camp.
Let me describe you the kind of bus we used to climb up the mountain. The buses were actually light trucks with open cargo space, which was used for passengers. There were rows made of wood in the back cargo space. Each row had space for six passengers, which was actually very cramped for the passengers. There were no backs in the seats. Whether the passengers are thin or fat, they always put six people in each row. At the end of the truck, there was a big iron basket for the passengers to put their bags. The fee was 2,500 kyat (about US$ 2.30) per person. The truck would go direct to the entrance of the Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda. The porters also hang at the back of the truck free of charge. Once the driver and the conductor checked to make sure each row had six people, the truck started the journey. At the start, there was a check point which checked to make sure the truck driver did not charge more than the official price, and to make sure they don’t carry more than the maximum allowed passengers. As soon as the truck left this check point, we started our ascent. All the way, the road was so winding and had a lot of sharp bends and steep slopes. Many of the slopes were, I think, more than 30 degree.
We arrived at Yathe-taung (Hermit Mountain) camp. There, we waited for about 15 minutes to get permission to go forward. Most trucks ended their trips here. For most passengers, they had to transit to another truck that went up to the entrance of Kyaikhtiyo. For our truck, we went directly to the entrance. Fortunate for us. Most other passengers left the truck here and continued their journey on foot. It was only another one mile from Yathe-taung camp, so most wanted to do some exercise as well as trekking and sightseeing.
Original article in Burmese at PK’s Blog