The Cregneash village lies near Port Erin which is south part of island called Isle of Man .
The entire village was left as the way it was since 200 years ago just to attract tourists and to preserve the life style of villagers in peaceful nature. Cregneash has become an open-air folk museum. The surrounding fields are now once more in cultivation and visitors can again see the landscape of old time again. Cregneash is also a living village where people live and work.
Visitors can see traditional rural skills and crafts being practiced. They can learn new things and remember some old skills such as milking cows, reaping and ploughing using ox wheel carts etc.
The Cregneish folk were just like a great fisher-family entirely left to themselves and a little disturbed by the outside waves of modern life with its rush and hectic pace. They were frugal, hardy and sea-toiling men, whose lives were divided between mackerel fishing and the harvesting of their little oat and potato crofts. ( Charles Reader-1901)
When you walk inside the small village, you can instantly fee the ease and peaceful surroundings. You can browse inside the displayed houses and sheds which store tools for agricultural and construction. You can see the small cozy bedrooms with weaved fabric on the bed and little cots for babies etc.
It gave me the impression that the villagers are pious Christians as I can see displays of quotes about God in the rooms of houses.
Other interesting animals you can see are Manx Loaghtan Sheep which has multiple horns ( having from 2 to 6). This breed is native to the Isle of Man and is one of the rarest breeds of sheep in the British isles, nearly becoming extinct in 1950 ( only 43 surviving ) ,in 1956 The Manx National Trust acquired their first sheep and started a breeding program to save the breed.
The name LOAGHTAN comes from two Manx words “ lugh” ( mouse) and “ dhoan” ( brown ) which described the light brown colour of the sheep.
They are very hardy mountain breed, well able to withstand harsh winters and they regularly produce twin lambs. They are an official rare breed but as they become more popular, their numbers are rising, so providing an assured future for this unique animal. Now, there are still fewer than 1,500 registered breeding females in the United Kingdom.
Another distinguished animals you can see in Isle of Man especially Cregneash village is the Manx cat which are entirely tailless or only have a small stub of a tail. The animal originates from Isle of Man , with a naturally occurring mutation that shortens the tail. They were known in the island since early 19th century. There are lots of legends explaining why Manx cat are tailless and some believe Manx cats are hybrid between cats and rabbits referring to the cabbit” folktale.
One of the reason Cregneash culture is maintained and preserved is because of well known Manx poet called Ned Beg Hom Ray ( Edward Faragher ) who grew up in Cregneash and devoted whole life to Manx language and poetry. His family lived in Cregneash for many years, in particular in the tiny cottage which is now displayed as the museum.
He became famous outside Cregneash because of his talent for writing poetry and hymns in Manx, his translations of Aesop’s Fables into Manx and his numerous contributions to Charles Reader’s Manx folklore collections.
Faragher family were a family of fishermen for generations untold. There was little English taught and known in Cregneash, his mother being the only person who could converse with strangers. His father was a fair scholar, and wrote all the letters to the Cregneash people, and that was a great thing then. The family being large-there were twelve children-he had to go to sea very young and joined his father’s boat, fishing with him for seven years . ( Charles Reader-1901)
For a short time, he went to Liverpool to become a safe-maker, working amongst Welshmen, who were worse English speakers than himself, and he learnt but little English there. His longing, however , for the sea and his heather-clad hills was too over-powering , and he returned again to Cregneish, and fished for mackerel at Kinsale and on the West coast of Ireland for 25 spring seasons. He has been shipwrecked and narrowly saved and weathered great storms in his rough voyages. ( Charles Reader-1901)
They are dwelling in the high, rocky upland, amidst purple heather and gorse, and you can see the wild dashing and splashing breakers, and hear the roaring from the sea caves. The winter time is there rough and desolate, and the fishing is then resting, and they draw closer to their glimmering turf fires to tell weird stories and gruesome legends. It was here in this mountain loneliness, so rich in natural scenery, that he grew up, and there is no man in the island that loves his native soil more intensely , or is fonder of the contemplation of nature. ( Charles Reader-1901)
The people of Cregneash gathered a great deal at other people’s houses, and one of their favorite diversions was the telling of stories about fairies and ” bugganes”…. heard people declare that they had seen the fairies in the form of little men in red caps. Bugganes are monsters covered with coarse hair and have red scary eyes.
The ” buggane” stories were very frightening to the children, and some were told with the idea of keeping children out of mischief.
When I first moved to Isle of Man, a lot of people asked me ” where are you Hninn?”. When I said ” I am in Isle of Man”, everybody is perplexed. Well, it’s very difficult to explain because I cannot say it’s EU countries as Isle of Man has never been part of EU. It is difficult to say it’s in uk because Isle of Man is not regarded as part of United Kingdom. In short , it is a country which has crown dependency and currently Lord of Mann ( the monarch of Isle of Man ) is Queen Elizabeth. Isle of Man located in the Irish sea between British isles and Ireland.
It is the fifth richest country in the world ( according to GDP ) and islanders, Manx are very proud of their self sufficiency. The country has only around 80,000 populations . It is 56 km long and at its widest, 22 km wide. It has an area of around 572 square kilometres (221 sq mi).
The interesting part of Isle of Man is it’s coastal footpath. There is the arranged coastal walk 100 miles which can be divided into 12 sections. You can have a walk either 4 days ( strenuous walk ) to 12 days easier walk.
During the coastal footpath, one can see amazing views, can encounter wild life especially rabbits, seagulls, birds and can hike up hills. I have not done coastal footpath yet as I arrived in the winter time. But I have been either driven or drove along the coastal ride and it has always been my favorite thing to do. In this post, I am going to post plenty of photos I took during my ride. Today, we went to the marine ride , a short coastal ride where you can see sunset . At one area, a car crushed into the divine although the driver ( an experienced teenager ) survived miraculously.
The island has different towns at each direction and you can see various photos taken at various places of island here.
I also advise you to go to the Parade cafe which is built more than a century ago. It is located on the way to Port Erin and has a view of the sea with good food especially delicious fresh fish cuisines.
Manx people are very proud of their heritage, but never feel reluctant to open their properties for the sake of tourists who might get interested in entering private property for the sake of viewing the sea. I was visiting Ramsey and I went straight into someone’s yard without knowing it belongs to a private owner. But it seemed like the owner purposely opens her door during day time so that curious tourists can get a glimpse of her backyard amazing view.
Some photos were simply taken by me while I was having a train ride. So the photos are not focus, but I can’t help sharing them as they are quite beautiful.
Although it is quite crowded , being the center of town, Douglas also has the coastal area called Promonade, it is the sea front coastal area where you can see rows of shops, hotels , restaurants and malls. It is the area where people walk, jog and simply sit for a cup of tea.
There is also an area called Marine drive which is a short scenic drive of coastal area in Douglas. This is an ideal place for romantic evening where you can watch sunset or sunrise.
As a person who lived 3 minutes drive from the beautiful South China sea in South East Asia , I can assure you that the sight of the sea and the sound of the waves always calm my nerves. Now I live near Irish sea and although it is cold and unimaginable to swim in, I am still deeply fond of sea. And so are other people who are alike me.
Helen Keller said I could never stay long enough on the shore; the tang of the untainted, fresh and free sea air was like a cool, quieting thought.
I have been an anxious person and I was born as a sick child, grew into an anxious teenager and entered into the career with lots of strife and stress. But whenever I walk near the sea, I can forget about material world with greedy people, I can be myself at that moment, drifting my mind completely into the vastness of the sea and can think how little I am and I realize my worries are not significant compared to my love for nature. For all those moments, I am truly thankful and it reminds me how blessed I have been.
In isle of Man, there are many Glens you can walk along the pebbled streams or rivers. In winter, trees in Glens are baren but loaded with lots of ferns and moss. In summer, wild flowers like Daffodils blossom and you can see more colors.
Today we came to Glen Maye which is situated in south of Peel. There used to be mining which was abolished after 1870.
The footpath is quite wet and slippery. Glen Maye is surrounded by Rushen river and the waterfall is bigger than any part of island.
I am amazed at how clear the water is. If it is not icy cold, I might jump in. My boyfriend said ” you cannot jump in national property and it is not allowed”. But I am sure I will do it one day in the summer.
Here are photos of Glen Maye
And I wana put a few photos of Dhoon Glen here as well between Laxey and Ramsey.
The place can give you serenity.
There is also a glen called Groudel glen which was quite famous for it’s natural charm as well as for sea lions and polar bears which were imported from America . The railway was constructed and open to the public in 1896. It was stated that 18 stones of fish was required to feed sea lions per week. Only two of them survived until after the first world war. Please see this link for further information.
I went there before the closing of electric railway and it was quite remote and not many people were there. I needed to catch the last train and didn’t have enough time to walk entire length of the glen. It was peaceful and romantic. I was alone that time and was amazed at the ferns and trees. The orange color autumn leaves were everywhere and the place really looked like a fairy place.
I will update this post quite frequently as I still have to visit many more glens, most probably in the summer.
In my previous blog, I have mentioned about the location, how to go and where to stay in Gaw Yan Gyi island.
Now I am going to write about the most mysterious part about this blog, which are legends and stories passed from one generation to another about the island . Some people said they don’t believe it. Some people also told me about the facts which are their first hand experience about the island.
Gaw Yan Gyi island is situated 25 miles south of Chaung Tha and Nway Saung beach of Ayeyawaddy division, Pathein Township in Myanmar. The original island is only 3 miles long and 1.5 miles in width and 300 feet high. An author from another blog described it as a peninsula for now, but it was an island surrounded totally by water a half century ago. The Eastern part of the island used to have forests before and now it is left with only some trees due to excessive logging.
The Western part of islands has a lot of cliffs , rocks and caves dwelling lots of bats and pythons.
I asked two elderly men who lived near the island for 60 years. Both of them said that there used to be jackals, wild cats, deer, monkeys and cobras. Both of them said there used to be a large tiger who roam the island once a month. People called him “ the island roaming tiger”. It was very gigantic and mysterious because it only came at the time of full moon. One day, a hunter shot the deer and saw very bright eyes nearby. He randomly hit the eyes and heard the roar. Then a few weeks after that, they found out the skeleton of the tiger in the cave. Usually, Burmese don’t kill the tigers as tigers are regarded connected to Nat ( supernatural well being ).
Around 45 years ago, the island was isolated and not connected to the mainland. ( Note: all the hotels are situated in the mainland called Kway Chaing and not on the island ) Between the island and the mainland, there was a deep and torrential strait which allowed international cruises and vessels to pass through. Then one day, a person who looked like a lunatic arrived the island and predicted that one day, the island would become connected to the mainland so that people from all over the world would come and visit it. His name is Mann Shwe La Yaung and later people regarded him as a prophet . His prediction came true only after 5-6 years. The strait has been replaced by a new formed beach which is 500 meters long.
Now there is a village on that beach and the soil is very fertile. The farmers grow crops and paddy field and they think the fruits and rice from that area is more delicious than crops from other areas. Long before Shwe La Yaung came, the hunter who transformed into a hermit decided to build a pagoda on the island. It was a difficult time for any construction on the island as people needed to use boat to go there. However, the hermit managed to build the pagoda with only white color stones. He chose white color because white symbolize purity. He also didn’t accept donation from people who earn illegal money. The villagers carried the pebbles and stones in their sarong and built the pagoda slowly. At first, the monks did not like the hermit as he used to be a hunter. So the monks boycotted the pagoda and only hermit had to do opening ceremony himself. The pagoda is 18 feet tall and later someone came and built the statue of a dragon. People also believe the hermit created the pagoda with the help of dragon queen.
The pagoda has 420 steps and you can see the panorama view of the island from pagoda.
The stories are like that. The first residence of the island was a couple who started banana plantation on the island. They noticed poisonous snakes on the island. The wife stepped on one of the snakes and the husband also touched a snake with his hand by accident. But the snakes didn’t bite them. I have read this information near the pagoda. The Narrative described the snakes as cobras. But when I saw them and took photos and matched from photos of internet, it turned out they are yellow lipped krait which is 20 times more poisonous than other snakes. Once they bite, people can die instantly. But I didn’t hear any mortality related to snake bites in that island. People regard the snakes as holy and don’t dare to kill or harm them. Residents as well as visitors have strange dreams in which the holy person wearing white color dress came and cured their illnesses such as chronic back pain and knee pain. The villagers also noticed if they can’t control the temper of their domestic animals such as oxen and roosters which fight with others, they send those wild animals to the islands and the animals became tame and more approachable. More than that, a long time ago, farmers mixed rice with poison and tried to feed crows as the crows came and destroyed the crops, but it was not successful as the crows were unharmed after ingesting the poisonous rice. Similarly, the fishermen injected strong insecticide inside the fish and fed the jackals as the jackals stole the dried fishes. However, the jackals could withstand the poisons. Since then, the farmers and fishermen have not poisoned any animals and instead pray that their crops and fish cannot be stolen by the animals. I didn’t see any jackals nor crows on the island when I arrived there because the place is more like a tourist site more than the fishing place now.
I went to Gaw Yan Gyi with a friend and we didn’t know whether we would like the island or not in the beginning. But in the end, we fell in love with the place. The journey was tiring as the roads are not developed yet. I felt sick on my way back.
The thing I vividly remember is once we arrived near Nga Yoke Kaung before entering into the mountain ranges, the driver stopped the car and all the crew got off the bus. I thought they were going for toilet, but they were praying at the big tree, lighting candles and scented sticks. It was around 1 am. I think this is how bus drivers usually do so that the bus will be safe in traditional way.
After we arrived at Nga Yoke Kaung Town around 5 am, we sat at the café at the bus stand and had a cup of coffee. We had to wait as the boats are not available till 6 am.
Then we went to the jetty at 6 am. The bike men sent us to Nant Thar Pu jetty and it was a total mistake. It’s because after we crossed the river, we had to hire the motor bike to go to our hotel. I realized the other side jetty was too far from our hotel. The journey was spine chilling as the roads are very narrow and sometimes need to slide down the hills very often. I often thought I was going to break my arms or legs if I fall from the bicycle. But the bikers managed very well. The ride was almost 30 minutes and they charged us only 4000 kyats per person. I can say that it is a fair price, but it would be much easier if we chose different jetty which has boats for kway Chaing. Then the motor bike takes only 5 minutes to go to hotel from the jetty.
After we crossed the river, we had an uneventful motor bike ride. I could not concentrate much on scenery as I was struggling not to fall off from motor bike. However I would recommend you to ride motor bike at the beach front. It was phenomenal. I just loveeeeeed that.
We stayed at the Adventure resort on the first night. The staff are friendly and they even cooked us very delicious prawns and crabs.
The bungalow is clean and spacious enough for two people. No air con in all hotels as there is no electricity supply in the village.
The problem of Adventure resort is the bungalows face towards the coconut trees and not towards the sea. As it is summer, at night, we felt very hot. We couldn’t also open the windows as we are not supplied with mosquito nets. We cannot use the fan as they give us electricity from 6 pm to 12 midnight only. So I sat outside in the armchair and cooled myself. I even thought of sleeping outside, but the tile were to cold to lie without any mattress . I walked to the beach and lay down on the sand. The wetness of the sand made me feel so much better. I looked at the starry sky. I usually kiss the sand and talk to the rocks as if I was a lunatic. But unfortunately, my friend was near by standing and watching the every inch of increment in tide. She kept on saying “ I will see the water and once the water arrives this line, you need to get up. “. I think she was overly concerned as she rarely go to beach. Sometimes, I just need to be worry free.
The next day we hired the boat and went to “ Late Chaing”, it was named for the stone which looks like a tortoise.
The peculiar thing about Late Chaing is the beach is like two steps and forming like miniature waterfall.
When the tide came up, it brought lots of fish and they can be trapped under the rocks once the water level went down. We found a dead fish trapped under the stone.
The area is quite rocky and not a good place to swim, but it’s relaxing to watch the tides and mini aquarium inside the rocks where there are lots of trapped fish.
People showed me the rock where they regard it as the place belonged to supernatural well being. They believe that area has lots of bowls, plates and pots like 100 years ago. These bowls and plates can be borrowed from the place as long as you return them. Some people said they heard the noises came out from the rock around 2004. They said it was not the sound of waves and different sounds of cutlery and bowls rubbing against each other.
The interesting part is finding snakes. I know it sounds dangerous to try to find snakes. But I really wanted to see them, not to disturb them, but simply curious how they looked like. The next day, we went there again from the pagoda. It took 45 minutes to walk along coastal line. You need to climb 100 steps of the stairs towards pagoda and then got off the stairs towards the trekking.
We started our trekking at 3.30 pm so it was still quite hot and the leaves were dry. I was supposed to go with our guides who were also our taxi drivers. These two gentle men suggested accompanying us as the trekking may be tough for us who are apparently couch potatoes. I really enjoyed the walk and saw some interesting trees which intertwined with each other.
Although we planned to go on our own, two boys who were the grand children of pagoda’s guard offered to go with us. They are very familiar with the place and said they like trekking. SO I allowed two of them, the elder one is around 8 years old and younger one is 5 years old. Elder one is Thu and his younger brother is Zwe. They are adorable, Thu is a chatter box and occasionally gives command to his younger brother. Out of the blue, one black dog also followed us and it became a crowd with four adults, two kids and a dog. What a marvelous team! I asked the kids whether the dog is theirs, but the kids said “ Mal Lone” aka Blackie is a dog who will accompany anyone going that trek. The boys know the dog very well although he is a stray. Blackie is apparently a very good guide dog as he usually runs in front of us. When we were left behind too far, he seemed concerned and waited for us patiently. He made sure we use smooth lane. He really is a happy dog because once we reached the Lake Chaing at the area of Bay, Blcakie rolled on the ground , wiggling his tail. He was apparently on cloud nine.
When we reached “ Lake Chaing” , Blackie left us alone. He didn’t want to follow us to the area of snakes, I guess. We crossed the sea water and climbed on the big rock to find the snakes. It was hot and I guess snakes do not usually come out during day time. So We squatted down and searched the snakes under the rock and stones. Thu told me that he found a very big snake with the size of a tree when he was fishing. He had to leave his fishing rod and run. Then our guide called us to show us the snake. The snake was sliding under the stone leisurely. When we tried to take photo, it did not run away and just kept on moving towards us., I think that phenomenon is a bit strange because snakes will usually run away when people approach them. But that snake, as if it was a celebrity, did not bother flashes form our camera. I left it alone and stood at the edge of the rock , looking at the scenery. Then another guide called us to show many snakes knotted into each other. I gasped and said “ may be they are mating”. Then my little guide “ Thu” said “ no aunty, you can’t say that. She is a mother and she is looking after her children”. I had to try to hide my giggles.
Amazingly, 5 year old boy Zwe was quite tough and could climb and hop on rocks and puddles efficiently. Sometimes, I was concerned he might fall. When I praised Zwe, Thu said “ Do you know why he is tough? It’s all because of my training. I trained him which fruit is bad and which is good, which way he should go and which way he shouldn’t. I also forced him to walk as much as he can”. Thu behaved as if he was the General ordering his little brother along the way. Then we saw people throwing pebbles at the rock and picking up sea snails or clams ( I have no idea how you call that ) . I asked them what they were doing. Thu said people were opening the clams and eating the flesh inside. Some were picking up clams to sell back. I asked them “ is it tasty ?” and both kids started to nag me to try one. One of the guys overheard our conversation and offered me flesh to eat raw. I was not sure whether I should because I am asthmatic and didn’t want to have drama of bronchospasm in the middle of nowhere. But I was also tempted as they said it was such a delicacy. Finally, I ate one and it was salty and tasty , not as fishy as I thought. Suddenly, I remembered the notice displayed at the pagoda not to kill any living thing near the pagoda. I felt guilty , but comforted by Thu that the clams would not suffer any kind of pain as it was the lowest form of the planet. What an insight from an 8 year old boy?
Then we had to go back and it was a pleasant walk because the sun was beginning to set. We could view the beautiful sunset with tides and a stretch of cliffs. At one point, I saw the rock at the bay which exactly looked like a broken bridge. It made me wonder whether the island was an emerged ancient town which was built thousands of years ago.
My thoughts are like that. May be the island was a bustling town with lots of archaeological value thousands of years ago. Then it was covered with water a long time until it emerged again. I had to tell this because I found lots of rocks are quite strange. Some of them looked like a chair and others looked like doors. Some rocks looked like elephant statues. I have never seen that kind of rocks even though I have been to lots of beaches all over the world.
I felt I was connected to the place as if I was there in my last life. I just knew I was there. Well, before the readers think I am out of my mind, I am going to show you the photos of the beach.
Here are the photos of the places I have taken everywhere in Kway Chaing. The area near the red bungalow is called “ Palin Chaing” and the red bungalows are owned by “ the Log”, the most expensive motel in Kway Chaing. I saw a school of fish were trapped in the rock , restless and swimming to and fro. I wish the tide would come at night and send them back to sea otherwise, they might die.
The next day, we climbed up the hill near our inn and saw lots of small birds. The birds are called “ Ziwazoe “ in Burmese and the birds make their nest of vomit’s. A lot of people want to drink that for good health. Poor little birdies.
I thought I felt tired after the hike and slept under the shade of the stone. It was a nice sunny day. I felt good about everything and dozed off.
Then I sat in shallow water , but I was unable to sit quietly as the waves hit me violently and dragged me back towards the shore. Finally I went towards deeper water and sat peacefully.
Then, my friend started to nag to get back to shallow water as both of us couldn’t swim. So I thought this is the time to preach her. I told her the stories of people died inside their own house while sleeping as the plane crushed into their houses. And I also told her another story of two girls hit by a car in the shopping mall as a teenager tried to drive the new car which was displayed for sale . The moral is “ People might die any time how cautious you are. But we only live once”. With that, she became quiet and let me do whatever I want.
I came back to my inn, showered and indulged myself on the hammock, reading a book called “ Wild”. When my eyes get tired, I look at the coconut fringed sea shore. What a life ! I just loved every minute of it.
Overall, I would rate the island as one of the best islands so far. People now call it as “ Burma’s Maldives”. Well, I would not say that because the sand quality is still not as good as one from Maldives. But you have to go there to see the rocks and to hear the legends of Gaw Yan Gyi especially if you can endure horrible roads and lack of electricity.
Note: I know you come to Burma to enjoy and you might need to save money for other trips. However, please be kind to locals and at least offer a few tips to those who are honest and hardworking. Last, please don’t leave behind the rubbish. I gave credit to Haymar Aung for her amazing photographs. You can search her facebook to see her photographs about Burma.
Gaw Yan Gyi island is situated in Irrawaday division of Burma, Nga Pu Taw Township. I was in doubt when people said how mysterious the island is, but I found out it is really a fairy island and people should go there before the tourists destroy the genuine nature. As this post is going to be long, I am going to divide the blog into two parts. The first one is how to go there and where to stay.
HOW TO GO THERE
You might think you are very good in driving and you might want to drive there. Please don’t do this unless you have four wheel drive and you can drive like “ Fast and Furious”. The road till Pathein is quite ok, but after you pass Pathien, you will suffer a lot of road sickness as the roads are narrow lanes close to divine. The scenery may be nice but after watching outside for a while, your head will be spinning as the bus drives up and down the mountains. Luckily, there are two buses running directly to Gaw Yan Gyi and the bus is quite cheap. They charge only 10,000 kyats per person ( You might need to pay more if you are a foreigner ) for one way. The journey takes 9 hours. The roads are not developed yet and some area are still under construction. First , you have to arrive Nga yoke Kaung sub township where you need to take a boat to go to the island.
Here, I will give the phone number of the buses
Name of Bus : Kan Htoo Aung
Name of Bus station : Dagon Ayya in Yangon ( Hlaing Tharyar Township ), Other bus stops don’t have direct bus to Nga Yoke Kaung.
Phone : +95-9 4211 559 11, +95-9 4211 55922 ( From Yangon to Nga Yoke Kaung) departure time: 8.30 pm
Phone : +95-94900 2539 ( From Nga Yoke Kaung to Yangon ) Departure time : 6.30 pm
Name of Bus : Myat Mi Khin
Name of Bus station ; Dagon Ayya ( yangon, Hlaing Tharyar Township )
Phone : 09-444779309, 09-768612572 ( From Yangon TO Nga Yoke Kaung )
Phone : 09-444779314, 09-768612577 ( From Nga yoke Kaung to Yangon )
You will arrive very early morning at Nga Yoke Kaung town around 5 am. The sampans or boats will not be available till 6 am. But you can take coffee and snack at the café at the bus stand. Some people will ask you to go with mortor bike which can cost you around 7000 kyats. Please don’t do that. The road will be very bumpy and long. We were also misled by the motor biker because they sent us to the wrong jetty. By the way, the motor bike should charge you only 500 kyats per person to go to the jetty. There are two jetties called Nant Thar Pu jetty and Kway Chaing jetty. Ask your hotel which jetty is nearer to your hotel. The boat will take around 20 minutes to arrive Kway Chaing where you can have lots of hotels. The boat fare is only 200 kyats per person.
Where to stay
There are various places to stay . But I will start with the most expensive one.
1) The Log hotel
Price : 90,000 kyats per night for two people. If you need extra bed, they charge you 45,000 kyats for one extra bed. Yes, it’s crazy. The hotel is quite isolated and good for people who needs privacy such as Honey Moon goers. But there is no shady trees around the hotel and I guess it is hot in the afternoon. Remember, there is no Aircon in any hotel as there is no electricity on the island. They use engine to have electricity and can get it during night only. It is situated at Pa-lin-Chaing.
Unfortunately, I can’t find the contact of the hotel. If you know it, please comment below.
2) G7 Plage
Price : 50,000 kyats per night for two people, for extra bed 25,000 kyats per person.
For foreigner : 45 US D per night.
Review : The nicest location as the beach is the most beautiful and the best location for wind surfing. You can cycle, ride motor bike or jog just in front of the beach. The bungalows are modern and clean. They have western toilets and rain showers.
3) Adventure resort
Price : 50000 kyats per night for two people and extra bed is 15000 kyats. For the hotel which is a bit far from sea, 40,000 kyats per night . If you want to live on the upstairs, they charge 10,000 kyats extra.
Review: clean, comfortable. The food cooked by hotel chef is nice. Their prawn and crab curries are super delicious. The hotel does not charge extra for foreigner . The staff are very friendly and will do everything to make you feel comfortable.
Disadvantage : It is very hot as the wind does not blow across the hotel. There is fishy smell at the front beach as the fishermen dry the fishes there. There is a stretch of blue sea , but not rock formation near by. They give electricity only from 6 pm to 12 midnight while other hotels give from 6 pm to 6 am.
You can look for the contact from facebook page called Adventure Paradise Hotel, Gaw Yan Gyi. It’s always easier to message from Fb messenger.
Contact number : +95- 9444489991, +95-9444489992
4) Thirithuta Hotel
Price : 35000 kyats for two people. Extra bed 15000 kyats per person.
They also have tents and cheaper accomodation . For example, you pay only 8000 kyats for one person if you don’t mind to use common toilet and bathroom.
I stayed there for two nights in beach front bungalow and I really recommend it. The place is very near to pagoda and Lake Chaing . They have hammock in front of the beach. They also have beautiful scenery near by and to swim. There is no fishy smell. It is not too hot like Adventure resort. People are friendly
Disadvantage : The food is not so good . I recommend to eat outside or bring your own food there. They also display motor bike fare for various places so that motor bike people cannot cheat you.
5) Win Beach Hotel
It is recommended in one of the website. One bungalow charges only 4,000 kyats for four people. There are two kingsize bed and the bathroom and toilet attached to it. They cook for you like other hotel with fair prices according to review.
Phone : +95-9 49734702, +95-9 250118017
6) Family House resort
Price : 40000 kyats per two persons
Review: clean, good accommodation, understaffed, looks like the staff does not know much
Disadvantage : No Western toilet
I saw tents there also. The location otherwise is very nice.
There are lots of other hotels which I do not mention as I don’t have photos. Please find it in their facebook page for contact.
From Thirithuta to the pagoda, it is only 1000 kyats per person. But if you hire by only two person, they charge you 4000 kyats per person.
They can charge up to 10,000 kyats for the whole day. Otherwise, you can only give 500- 1000 kyats for near by places. Some hotels regulate the taxi fares and you should ask advice from your hotel.
There is no available taxis there and motor bike are only available transport. Although, the road is bumpy and spine chilling at certain areas, they are very skillful drivers.
Phone and internet availability
You can only use MPT phone line there. So please buy one sim card before you go there.
Things to bring
1) Sun screen
2) Sun glasses
4) Mosquito repellent ( not much mosquitoes, but certain hotels for example Adventure and G7 plage do not offer mosquitoes nets . But Thirithuta hotels give mosquitoes nets )
For Foreigners, you need permission from Pathein if I am not mistaken. Please contact the travel agent. Otherwise, I don’t think police will chase you just by visiting there as I saw some foreigners as well.
Note: I took some photos from Hay Mar facebook. Some photos are taken by me.
Please continue reading about myth and legends about island in my blog Gaw Yan Gyi island part II. Thank you
In February 2017, I could tick off one of my bucket lists, travelling to virgin islands of Burma, my mother land.
Mergui archipelago is located in the most Southern part of Burma bordered by Thailand.
The archipelago officially has more than 800 recorded islands. But according to my guide, there are 2000 islands and out of them, only 800 islands are officially recorded, and out of 800, only 200 islands are accessible to the outsiders.
There are not only islands but also lots of mangroove swamps enriched with diversity of plants and animals. ( the government does not allow foreigners to sleep on the islands. But you can arrange day trip tours. please check before you go)
There is still no proper rule regarding land ownership and the fishermen build the cottages on the island and can stay there without paying anything to government. The government approves most of the application to build settlement as the region needs to be developed.
To arrive Mergui islands, I had a flight to the town called Myeik with Myanmar National Airline ( unfortunately, it’s as expensive as the flight to BKK ). Myeik is a beautiful town, it’s clean and roads are spacious. There is not much traffic jams and lots of nice food. And if you are very much into birds, there is a lake where you can watch varieties of birds.
And to see the panorama view of Myeik, you can go to Thein Daw Gyi pagoda to watch the sunset and the amazing view of the Adaman sea.
If you wana try famous cuisine in Myeik, I would recommend “ Kyan Taw” restaurant and “ U Maung Win” Restaurant , phone 098763270. At U Maung Win restaurant, please try pork brain mixed with eggs, It’s yum. And you can order “ Kat Kyay kite” ( fried white color noodles ). For accommodation, I would recommend you “ Golden sky Hotel” ( telephone 059-41991),
it’s just 5 to 10 minutes drive from airport, very clean and has a pool. The price is 28000 kyats for Myanmar citizens and 40000 kyats for foreigners per head , if two people, they charge extra 10000 kyats. You can also ask them to arrange airport pick up for you. It is very easy to get motor bike for your transport if you are alone. They are not costly and bikers are very skilful. I think it’s more fun to ride on bike in open air than in the car. Afterall, the town is not big and you can go everywhere with bike .
From Myeik, you need to arrange boats to go to the island. It takes one and half hour to go to the nearest island. Mergui travel and tour has very nice boat and its more speedy than other boats.
We went there with Blue Ocean Star Resort and Travel. The project developer is Kyaw Moe. His cell phones are 09 451022389, 09420709547. Email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blue Ocean company is developing Harris island into a comfortable place to stay. They built a cottage where some staff live. They cook, clean the place, do some buildings, and organize the boats. The staff are multi purpose and one of them even massaged for us at night. They also have clean toilets and enclosed bath rooms. They developed a tube well for fresh water. Before blue ocean arrived that island, an old lady was staying alone selling fresh water to fishermen. Harris island is 1300 feet long and the water is crystal clear.
They built a bridge where you can look into deep water from the bridge.
You can also climb the hill where you can see the bird eye view of island.
You can also jungle trek and get lost in the jungles where there are rare flowers exist.
There is a very famous traditional drink . They keep the artichoke , squeeze their flash and oil , then mix with beer and drink it.
A lot of people like it. But we didn’t try because the locals told us it’s kinda fishy. In contrary to what people said, I didn’t see much fish there. It’s mainly because there are a lot of illegal fishing boats near by. ( I assume illegal and the foreign companies come and buy fish from these boats) I saw a few schools of fish in deep water. Near the bridge, the sea has lots of artichokes. They can be painful if you accidentally step on them.And if you want to go and see corals, you have to take risk of getting injured by spikes of shells stuck to the stones.
As most of us are not good swimmers, we end up getting injuried walking in the sea at the back of Harris island. I was bleeding profusely and had to get on the boat again.
Usually, it became hot after 9 am unless you want to sit under the shade.
The sand is very soft and velvety. The water is blue. It’s amazing. I went up the hill and although, I could climb uneventfully , on the way back, it’s quite a difficult descend.
In the end, I decided to sit down and slide as I was afraid I would slip and fall.
It’s a breezy day. So I decided to dip my feet inside the salty water and feel the tides touch my feet. Suddenly, the crabs ( very beautiful deep green color ) came under the stones and walked around me. They were fascinating. I always have a thing for crabs. If you want to watch them, you have to be very still. Once they can sense vibration, they run away from you. I savored my solitude with nature and thanked God for guiding me to come to that beautiful island.
At night, we were given two options to sleep, either we could sleep on the benches made of bamboo or sleep in the tents. As we are concerned about mosquitoes ( mind you, it is the malaria endemic area ), we decided to sleep in the tents.
So the staff prepared tents just in front of the sea. It was amazing. The highlight of the trip is we lie on the benches before going inside the tent and talked about a lot of stuff.
There was a starry sky, it was beautiful. The beach was well lit as a lot of fishing boats anchored near the island and we were surrounded by boats with lights. Luckily, there was no rain. The weather was perfect. I felt like I found out new friends during the trip because I could talk to my travel partners for a long time at night. So travelling is not all about finding new places, it’s also about finding new people who might become your long lasting friends in the end.
Our tour guide called Aung San Lwin is a cheerful guy, he has a very good communication skill. His cell phone is 09782667126, obviously a happy-go-lucky person. He was more excited than us when he saw a school of Nimo fish. He did not accept the tips and finally, I found out he is not a staff and one of share holders for the business. He is very helpful , but not a typical guide who will watch over you. He would rather enjoy himself. So you need to watch out danger for yourself if you are with him.
He brought us to fish farm ( on the way before we arrive islands ) to get fresh fish and cook for us at night.
The tour guide Aung San Lwin arranged all our meals with fresh sea food and the staff can cook very well. Surprisingly, the cost of all sea food meals’are only one tenth of ordinary price there.
We also went to the Main –ma- hla island meaning Beautiful lady island. There is a shrine and a small waterfall. I saw the fishermen are taking water out of waterfall. The water is very cold and refreshing.
The next day, we went to the stone island where you see lots of beautiful stones as if angles lay the stones there perfectly. The stones has smooth surface and rounded in shape. Some are transformation of shells mixed with lime , white in color. You can see lots of beautiful fish there although its difficult to walk on stones.
Then we headed to the famous Moken village.
It is quite famous for its native people called Moken or sea gypies. They are trained to be at sea since very young age. Their vision is much sharper than other people under water. They can swim tirelessly with grace. Some claim they can even sleep under water. They can dive up to 30 minutes without coming up. Previously, they are the only resources to supply famous Burmese pearls to the world as they can dive and know locations of clams more than other people. Still, they are struggling even to have a proper school and now the church is being used temporarily as the primary school.
When we arrived there, all kids came out from church and looked at us. They were singing in the church in Moken language. We distributed jellies and sweets and they gladly accepted the snacks. In contrary to what I saw in books, most kids have fair skin . I think may be the skin might change once they go out to sea more often. I am glad they are still learning their own language.
At times, one of my friends raised up question regarding loss of culture. We know Moken people know the sea like the back of their hands. But my friend wondered whether the tradition and culture is disappearing among young people. Then , the head of Moken village replied him that although the technology seeps inside the village, the kids still learn about the sea from their experience. At the time of Tsunami, the kids who were playing at sea noticed the change of color in the sea, they quickly ran back to the village and alerted the adults. Soon after that, the whole village shifted to the hilly area and escaped from the tides which devoured the whole village.
After that, we went to the two faced island. The island is 1800 feet long and very beautiful. By chance, we ran into a crowd who came to island with the ship. They were celebrating a party and even offered us some free food. And some tour guide caught crabs and did barbeque on the island. We were a bit hungry and glad to be able to buy some chicken and salad on the island fortunately. It was not all time event, and by luck, the snack were sold by visitors as well. The island is 1800 feet long and nobody staying on it except hornbills which I saw by chance. It was a big hornbill and flew just above my head while I was sitting on the rock.
We were supposed to go to a few more islands. But our boat was not functioning well because of polluted oil purchased from fishermen. When we arrived “ Don waterfall”, I decided not to go down as I know I am not a well balanced person to walk on the slippery stones. But the sight of waterfall is beautiful.
As our boat is not functioning, we came back with another boat and it was faster on our way back.
We came back with lots of memories and a few cuts here and there on our bodies. I am telling to my friends that I need to go back to the island with my guitar and a stack of books. This is a place which will be forever in my ” must go back ” list.
I went to Medan, Indonesia in February 2015. Well, my flight was pretty cheap from Malaysia to Medan, it cost me only 50 us D to and fro. And bonus is I went there with my Indonesian girl friend who is an avid traveler and also a blogger.
Dea is from Jakarta and her ancestors lived in Medan although she had never been there. So she wanted to give a visit to Medan to look around for the first time. We stayed at Zaza zizi house in Medan which cost us only 15 us D per night. The chef Eva was very friendly and she gave us an excellent breakfast. I like the way they displayed quotes about food on the wall.
I recommend this hotel because it’s close to town center and can get money changer and shops near by. Please change your money before you arrive Lake Toba as there will be no money changer near Lake Toba.
I didn’t find any fascinating places to see in Medan. You just have to head for Lake Toba which is almost four hours drive from Medan. Luckily, we could get the coach via our motel . they told us we need to pay 100,000 Rupees by each person. In fact, they planned to send seven passengers together to Lake Toba. Unfortunately, the original group could not join us , but the driver didn’t charge us extra and on the way, I was feeling sorry for the driver as he would not earn much with only two passengers. But he was jovial and I gave him tips.
We saw lots of paddy fields, some areas of palm oil and rubber plantations and churches on the way to Lake Toba.
We arrived at the jetty and then need to get a boat to go to Samosir island . There are lots of guest house and hotels on the island. But we chose to stay at traditional house called Batak house as we want authenticity. Our motel is called Hisar’s Guest house. They charged us 40 us Dollars for the whole house. Some tourists said it’s still expensive for Lake Toba, but we were quite happy as the house is cute.
Bataknese guest house we stay. These kind of house only exist in lake toba nowadays. They draw the design at the roof , door and window. They use red color for human, black for earth and white for God.
There are some mosquitoes and you need to bring insect repellent. There is no air con and they don’t provide us mosquito net either.
Whatever happened in the evening and at night after struggling with blood thirsty mosquitoes, you will still be happy to see the view of lake from the balcony.
Now, I am going to tell a bit about Lak Toba. It is the crater formed after eruption of a gigantic volcano. That massive eruption cause death of human beings until they almost extinct. Thank God, we are still here and others think the volcano can reactivate after many years. Below is the extract from wikipedia.
Lake Toba is the site of a massive supervolcanic eruption that occurred 69,000 to 77,000 years ago,representing a climate-changing event. It is the largest known explosive eruption on Earth in the last 25 million years. According to the Toba catastrophe theory, it had global consequences for human populations: it killed most humans living at that time and is believed to have created a population bottleneck in central east Africa and India, which affects the genetic make up of the human world-wide population to the present.It has 100 km length, 30 km width, 1666 feet depth.
Now , I am going to post lots of beautiful photos of Lake Toba.
Actually, if you are fit and like cycling, you can cycle around Lake Toba . The only drawback is you must put a lot of effort in uphill. I tried to cycle and could finish around 10 km, haha.
Another reason I enjoyed my trip is because of my Indonesian Girl friends. My friend Dea is from Jakarta and her friend Marni is originally from Lake Toba. Both of them are Batak tribe and they said they are open, brave and loud because they have so much of Bataknese blood in them. haha. Some locals said I look like Batak people too.
Its nice to travel with local girls who know about the place so well. My Indonesian friends said they have to know their tribe as inter tribal marriage was not allowed years ago.The beginning of the rule was Indonesian king married many women and they gave birth many children who were related to each other. Without that rule, they might have ended up marrying own cousins.
They told me that their bataknese people are agressive and straight forward. They were carnivores many years ago and still eating cats and dogs. My friend said she cried her heart out when she came back from holiday and having found out her pet dog was already eaten by her uncle. Apart from that, my friends are proud of their cultures and beautiful houses and very happy to introduce me to their amazing country for the first time. Its very nice people welcome heartily as soon as they speak bataknese which is different from Bahasa Malayu. Although I understand official indonesian language, I get lost once they start to speak Bataknese.
Previously, females did not cover their breasts. Not even queens. Women with nice breasts are chosen as queens regardless of face or other parts of body’s features. They used to believe women with beautiful breasts are fertile and can give birth to good men who will become good kings. ( No, we didn’t find out any King there, shame on us, haha )
They also refer to breasts as mother. There are pictures of lizards and breasts . Lizards mean Bataknese people who can survive everywhere like lizards. However, lizards always move towards breasts where their mother exist.
We went to the show of dancing doll .According to the legend, the dancing doll was created by the King in memory of son who loves dancing so much. People can dance together with the doll and the music was very nice.
You can notice Batak people loves lizard. They think lizard represent them as lizards are tough animals and they can survive everywhere.
With the help of google, I found out another explanation of lizards association with Batak people. According to the legend, there is a Goddess who escaped from God world to the earth and she was followed by her suitor who is a lizard ( why lizard and why not dragon? I have no idea ) and they had two children, a boy and a girl. These children have incestuous relationship and from their marriage, Batak people arose. Their God parents went back to their world in heaven.
From Lake Toba, we headed towards Baristagi to go to Sipiso Piso waterfall, which is one of the highest waterfalls in Indonesia. The only thing is you should go there earlier as you need to climb up and down a lot of stairs to see the waterfall in close range.
Our first plan was to visit Mount Sinabung. Unfortunately, the volcano was erupting that time and we couldn’t climb that mountain.
However, we still proceeded to the Gundaling hill to watch the sunset and the eruptions of Mount Sinabung . Sinabung volcanos have been spewing lava and ashes since 2014. It was dormant for 1700 years but eruption started again in 2010. Every year the locals have to be evacuated as people died because of eruptions . Then we met a daring photographer who always climbs mount Sinabung to video tape the eruptions , as near as two kilometer away. Ten people behind him died when he was shooting his video. We gasped when we watched his video. Sadly,the local News Agent offered him only 10 us dollars for that video which he took risking his life.I hope he will get better price for that.
From Barastagi, we went to the hot spring called Si debuk-debuk https://www.facebook.com/pages/Si-debu-debu/347711411990508?rf=168344736681209
It took one hour from Barastagi to go to hotspring. They have 10 pools with different temperature and you have to start from lower temperature to highest. It can be pretty hot and can see steaming vapor coming from the pool. I sat down at the side with my feet in, but not dared enough to go down. My driver said nobody gets scaled because of hot water and said it’s very theraputic and good for circulation. There is no entrance fee and it’s totally worthwhile as I felt frersh after long hours travelling.
One thing which makes our journey more enjoyable is we met two gentlemen from Singapore during our journey from Lake Toba to Baristagi. We hired the same coach which turned out to be driven by a rude and calculative driver. He dropped us at the middle of nowhere and don’t want to drop us near hotels or guest house. As a result, I had to carry heavy luggage and these gentlemen helped me to carry . It is a random act of kindness. Later, we found out they also travel extensively and the younger brother even traveled two years non stop. We had a good conversation with them talking about places they have visited.
Now, I am thinking of Samuel and K 7 while I am writing this post.
Sometimes, I think of them when I take photos. They think we were crazy chasing for good photos while they only tried to remember scenery in their mind.
Well, I am surprised I am writing this after more than one year. Here is another story about Lake Toba written by my friend Dea. Dea is a regular travel blogger, she wrote beautifully about our journey to Lake Toba and you can get more information there.