Ranong, Thailand & Kawthawng, Myanmar August 6-9, 2018
Unexpected Fever keeps us longer in Ranong
The last day in Ranong came quicker than expected, Camille and Franck ended there house sit in Bangkok a couple days earlier than scheduled so they were ready to bring home their newest addition, Luca. We packed our belongs the night before in preparation to wake up early and do a few chores before heading to Myanmar for a couple days. We were excited for the next leg in our adventure and showed that this one was coming to an end, we could not believe it had been almost three months since we arrived. As we laid down to sleep reminisced about all the adventures we had while exploring this less visited area of Thailand; we enjoyed living the slow moving life like a local for it has been a long time since we had no one to wait on or tend to on a daily and our little one doesn’t count.
Since becoming parents we don’t sleep through the night, perhaps that is why there are dark circles under my eyes, we share our bed with our little miss so we are aware of every move she makes and conscience of every move we made in order not to roll over on her. As she has grown her sleeping habits are rather restless, tossing and turning, flipping upside down or even stretching out sideways to take up the most amount of space a two-and-a-half year old could take up; my mom and dad would say she gets that from me, I have heard stories of me hogging the bed since I was little. Tonight was no different, Francesca fell asleep in my arms as I read her the story of Rumplestiltskin and I soon followed. Sometime after midnight both Daniel and I woke up and noticed Francesca’s was burning up; Daniel got up in searched for the thermometer. Her temperature was near 103, we gave her some Ibuprofen and held her tight hoping the fever would subside. Every few hours we would check her temperature, it would fall for a while then sky rocket again, as it approached 104 we placed her in a cool tub trying to cool her body down.
There was no way we were going to Myanmar and we were praying that we wouldn’t have to take her to the hospital. Daniel and I took turns laying with her while the other gathered and cleaned. After a while, Daniel walked to Dahla House to book us a room, for the night, since we were not going to travel with her running such a high fever. Upon Daniel’s arrival back at the Smiling Seahorse we stored our packs and grab our overnight bag. We hoped Francesca had a 24hour bug and we would be able to travel in the next day or so. We monitored her throughout the remainder of the day, rotating medicines to keep her fever at bay. The following the morning, while laying in Daniel’s arms she broke her fever and we were relieved. We decided to stay another night a Dahla’s just to play it safe. Which turned out to be a great plan because the weather was horrendous, none stop raining the entire day. The water gushed down the streets, the sky was dark, and we stayed curled up together inside waiting for it to pass.
Ranong to Myanmar
We woke with the morning sun and the sound of rain echoing on the tin roofs outside. We were going to have to decide whether to brave the weather and make our way to Myanmar or gather our belongs from Camille and Franck’s and make our way to the bus station. Our decision was dictated by the fact that we needed to be in Thailand for two more months and our last stamp in our passports only allowed us to be in the Kingdom for one more month. We could extend our visa later down the road but would cost us $180, more than triple what it will cost to go to Myanmar. We packed our over night bags and made our way to Saphan Pla pier. Our ride there in the songthaew was 20฿ each, we again located the booth where Phon sold us $10 bills with a hefty service fee and secured transportation across the border. The process was quick and easy, no lines to wait in, just stamp and go.
The Andaman was rough, the long boat rocked side to side as the sea tossed us around. Francesca was shaken and howled in fear as the waves crashed over the side of the boat. Our captain altered course to avoid capsizing, as we made our way across the sea. As we entered Myanmar our passports were held by the office until we departed, we were given perimeters on where we could go, specific visas are required to travel about the country and many areas are still restricted to foreigners.
Overnight in Kawthawng, Myanmar
A guide escorted us to a hotel, Tanintharyi Inn, that was not listed on any of the travel blogs. There are only a few budget hotels in Kawthawng to stay; the Kawthawng Guest House and Honey Bear Hotel are the two oldest hotels in the city and rooms are around 1000฿ or more a night, The Penguin offers dorm and smaller rooms that start around 650฿ a person, and Tanintharyi Inn had larger rooms with king beds for 800฿. When we arrived the room was not ready but the staff quickly cleaned it to give us access. Once we were admitted in, we deposited our belonging in our room that smelled of stale cigarette smoke and old carpet. The bathroom was small with the sink’s drain pipe leading to the corner and suspended in the air, it emptied on to the floor above the hole in the wall that was the exit for the water that pooled on the bathroom floor from the shower. About eye level on the wall above the sink was a main water valve and whether it was turned on or off it would drip down the wall and splash on your leg as you sat on the commode. Our room was on the corner of the building and would have had beautiful view out the windows had they not been covered in white paint to prevent the light from entering. However they did open which was nice since we could air out the musky odor that permeated the room.
After we checked in we made our way back to town, stopping to pet and feed a ram outside the hotel. Francesca was unsure of the animal at first, a bit frightened of his large horns but once she saw him being fed grass by hand she was excited to extract the long green blades from the ground and offer them. Once again on our way we wandered through town to a local restaurant and enjoy lunch. Francesca spotted some children at the restaurant that’s family lived and worked there, the little girls were at a table enjoying a cup of ice cream. She made her way over to see them, and stare at the sweet treat. Daniel accompanied her and told her she could not have ice cream until she ate her lunch which sent her into a crying spell. She pouted her way back to me saying she was crying because she couldn’t play with the kids, which Daniel corrected her and said she was crying because I told her no Ice cream until she ate lunch. Shortly after, one of the little girls came over and offered her the remainder of her tasty treat. Suckered! she has the manipulation down, the batting of the eyes, the crocodile tears, please feel sorry for me attitude and BAM she gets what she wants from her unknowing victim.
Once we had finished lunch Francesca ran around the restaurant with the little girls playing chase and getting into anything she could. The staff laughed at the little girls having fun together. After we had paid we ventured to the park near the dock, Francesca climbed on the workout equipment and asked to be pushed on the swings. Since it had rained earlier that day there were giant mud puddles under the swing, Daniel told her to hold on so she wouldn’t fall. In an attempt to dismount she slipped and fell right into the mud, covering her whole backside. She cried and wanted to be washed of the filth, we made our way back up the hill to the hotel to clean her up. After our shower we laid down for a nap and slept through the afternoon rain.
Early evening we made our way back out, once the air had cooled, we wanted to visit the pagoda but I did not bring the proper attire to be admitted so instead we walked along the water’s edge stopping at a look out point where Francesca could run a play with a few of the local children. I don’t think very many of the Myanmar children seen blonde hair little children for sometimes they would run and cry when she approached. How do you explain to a two year old that they are frightened of your aggressive approach or maybe they are unaccustomed to your outgoingness? We would tell her that they did not want to play and she would ask, Why?
We strolled through market as things were closing down, walked the streets waving at the locals and grabbed a bit of dinner before returning to our room. There really isn’t much to do in Kawthaung unless you are taking photos of the locals or enjoy the gazing at the dilapidated buildings. The city itself is quite rundown, which is part of its charm, but the accommodation are less then impressive and price are higher then what you can find in Thailand. In my opinion a day trip is more than sufficient to see the few things that are worth seeing in the southern most point of Myanmar.