No-go zone for tourists

My hostel in Hsipaw shows a big sign at the reception: Trips to Namhsan are forbidden, restricted area for tourists.

Bad luck because I really really wanted to visit Namhsan, a little mountain village which my guide book calls “the Switzerland of Myanmar”.

Due to gun fights this area is now restricted for tourists, except you can arrange a special permission. To get this permit you need at least two weeks. Time which I do not have…

Some voices said you can talk with the solders at the checkpoint, convince them and with a bit of luck you´ll go through it without permission.

Sounds like a plan!

With me is Lu, the girl I´ve met on the bus (see last blog entry).

After waiting more than one hour for the light truck that was meant to go to Namhsan, the vehicle did not even stopped for us, because the driver does not want to have the responsibility to take tourists there. Hm, bad luck, no public transport for us today.

We do not give up and try to hire a motorcycle including a driver for a day. Not so easy, because no driver wants to go with tourists the whole way. Talking to some other people in the village and to our hostel manager again, we eventually found a willing driver without any English skills. Doesn’t matter, let´s go

Actually, the check point was a joke, as there was no interview at all, 400 Kyat were enough.

The eighty miles to reach this village were breathtaking and adventurous at the same time, as the road conditions were very bad on some parts.

We´ve made it and are so happy because every kilometre on that uncomfortable motorcycle was worthy!

On our way back, unluckily we had to drive half of the way without daylight and it was raining cats and dogs.  The rain was so strong that we couldn´t even see straight and the rain hurt our skin.

On part on the street, we had to remain absolutely silent; our driver even did not use the horn like usually. He only could signalize that we are in a dangerous situation, but we never came to know what exactly happened. An odd situation, Lu and I stopped singing immediately.

After eight hours drive we made it safely back to our hostel and bot the staff members and the other guests were very impressed we´ve made it the whole way to the so called “black area”

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