... exploring Mingin with military escort...

… I was told by a few people that a boat to Mingin leaves at 1 pm. I wanted to be there by noon so I just waited and asked each boat’s crew if they stop there. I left at 8.30 and was in Mingin before 11 am. It turned out they stopped there just for me. In Mingin I was met by a police officer and an immigration officer and directed to a place where officers usually stay. It is not a proper guesthouse. Actually I was told there is no guesthouse in Mingin. Immigration officer interviewed me for 15 minutes or so. He was very interested why I have so many visas and why I want to spend so much time in Myanmar – his idea was I was a journalist. Ko Nay Linn and his lovely wife welcomed me warmly. Ko Nay Linn is a civil servant in charge of a township. He tried to convince me the same day but after we had a talk we agreed I would take the 4 am boat – the only reliable and planned boat from Mingin down the river. His concern was my safety – drunk men are annoying and I am a single traveler so shouldn’t feel safe. He lent me a bike and I went to a nearby village stopping to take some pictures. I was followed by two men – a policeman and immigration officer. I felt strange but said thank you for securing my safety. People reacted to me as if they haven’t seen a foreigner for a few years but I heard there were a few lately, including organized groups stopping just for an hour or two. I slept where the officers normally sleep – with all windows and door open – I confirmed with Ko Nay Linn it was not unsafe… I really liked Mingin – it is a cute little town with a few nicely looking pagodas.

There is no internet there, no buses, just one type of phones working (neither GSM nor CDMA), electricity from 7 to 9.30 pm only. Great place if you want to be left in peace.

I was to take a boat at 4 am but I saw it leaving at 3.30 am. I woke up Ko Nay Linn and hoped he can call them or something. Just after 10 minutes another boat appeared and luckily stopped as a few people wanted to leave. They wanted me to pay 30 000 though the ticket was 5000. A man who was very polite and spoke English told me that I have a different price as I was a tourist. I showed him other tickets to prove I have always paid local rate and told him I live in Myanmar and I am not a tourist here (my Myanmar was good enough to express such simple ideas :)). Luckily he didn’t use the argument I was a foreigner 😉 He needed to talk to the manager and at the end I paid 5000.

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Originally published in 2012 with travel related details here

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