The return of the globetrotting bikers
IT felt like a dream to be back home,” Aung Kyaw Win told the journalists. The motorcycling duo, Sai Zom Pha and Aung Kyaw Win, returned to Yangon where they kicked off their adventurous journey after six months and 55,000 kilometers traveling around the world.
The completion of their expedition marked another milestone since U Ba Toke and Daw Tin Tin Sein, a couple from Yangon, drove a motorcycle half way across of the globe back in 1955.
Sai Zom Pha and Aung Kyaw Win began their journey on May 26, 2019. They drove through Thailand, Laos, China, Mongolia, Russia and several European countries to end in London after three months on the road. They then made their way back to Myanmar through Eastern Europe, Iran, Pakistan and Indian. In total, they journeyed through 45 countries over six months.
On November 30, they returned to their starting point in Yangon’s People’s Park, where they were greeted by friends and relatives. After paying homage to Shwedagon pagoda, they drove to the Myanmar Yachting Federation to meet with the Media.
“Now there are three living Myanmar citizens who travelled around the world with motorcycles,” said Sai Zom Pha.
The autobiographical account of Daw Tin Tin Sein’s two-wheeled journey inspired them to travel the world on motorbikes. Daw Tin Tin Sein travelled halfway around the world for 365 days in 1955 with her husband, who passed away in 1996. Daw Tin Tin Sein is now 84 years old and assisted the pair.
“She [Daw Tin Tin Sein] should be celebrated as the first Asian women to set off on such a long journey on motorcycle,” Sai Zom Pha said.
On the way, the pair visited the Taj Mahal, old castles and lighthouses in Turkey and enjoyed the last glow of the sunset over Budapest. They also encountered challenges and difficulties along the way: They got into accidents, their drone was seized, they felt sleepy while driving, got lost and felt homesick many times.
“In Europe I enjoyed the beauty of pine trees on either side of the road. It was so peaceful, and if the road had been smooth I could have fallen asleep,” Sai Zom Pha said.
Their expedition was made much easier than U Ba Toke and Daw Tin Tin Sein’s 1955 trip thanks to better telecommunication and infrastructure. With Google Maps as their best friend, the pair almost never got lost, except in Mongolia where they could use their GPS on the phones.
“We made video calls to chat with our family members. Aung Kyaw Win even talked with his dog,” Sai Zom Pha laughed.
The toughest challenge happened while crossing Mongolia. “We could not find GPS in many parts of Mongolia. We relied on our own wisdom to choose where to go. One day, we got lost and got back to the previous route but actually we were on the right track all along,” Aung Kyaw Win said.
Overall, the pair spent a month acquiring travel authorisations and servicing their motorcycles. During tough times, they would support each other.
“We rode from 9am to 6pm. It took a lot of self-discipline. If my friend felt tired, I pushed him and if I was lazy, he pushed me. Finally we reached our destination,” Sai Zom Pha said.
“There were times when we were depressed. If we encountered a difficulty, we tried different ways to solve it,” he said.
Sai Zom Pha wrote down the experiences while Aung Kyaw Win recorded videos and took pictures along the way. They plan to publish a book about their journey.
“We have memories of each country we visited. It was unforgettable,” Aung Kyaw Win said.
From: Myanmar Times