30-Dec-2013 -- This is the first out of 5 reports reaching or attempting confluence points in Myanmar. We were able to reach one unvisited Confluence. Travel in Myanmar has been limited to its central part. But now more and more areas open up. At tourismtransparency.org you can get the current open-areas-map.
Normally I am the last one when it comes to send out warnings in our over-secured world. However, in this case I do advise to be cautious. The previous report by Mr. Hellr gives the impression it would be a cake-walk to go over the green border from Thailand to Myanmar for this confluence point. “Green” border is not to be confused with the “green” light that flashes at traffic signals as a go-ahead. Even though being stopped by border guards, he is “always looking for some other way to reach the confluence, but the jungle was too dense to break through”. Luckily the jungle was too dense and he stayed with “beer and whiskey” on the Thai side.
This is – besides the inner-Korean border – one of the most sensitive borders in this world. According to resource-cap.com, “South-eastern Myanmar is one of the most mine-ridden regions in the world. Geneva Call, a Swiss NGO, reckons that over 5m Burmese people live in areas contaminated by landmines, most of which are concentrated on the long border with Thailand. This comes as a result of decades of conflict between armed ethnic groups, struggling for autonomy…”. Note that this Confluence point is only 500 m from the border on the Myanmar side. But besides the risk of losing your limbs, there is a very high chance to get trouble, i.e. being captured or arrested.
Nevertheless, I was still convinced that it is possible to reach this Confluence without risk. There is a track on the Myanmar side that comes as close as 1 km to the Confluence. And in Google Earth shows an forest clearance in 500 m. With a local guide who knows the area (and maybe even the risk of landmines) it should be possible to get there.
We came from Kanchanaburi with our bicycles. After staying at the Thai border at Phu Nam Ron (11 km from CP), we crossed the border the next moring into Myanmar. Note that this border point has just been opened to foreigners in August 2013. When we wanted to start riding our bicycles on the Myanmar side, the police stopped us. It would be far too dangerous to ride without escort in this region, because there are still some troublesome people around.
So we had to sit on the back of a cramped pickup for the first 70 km until we reached Myitta, where we were covered with a 1 cm layer of dust. From there, we were able to ride our bikes further to Dawei. The closest we got to the confluence point was 3800 m. There was no way we could stop this pickup and make an attempt. This is further away than Mr. Hellr got. Unfortunately, reports on confluence.org are sorted by the minimal distance. So my report will not be on the first page such that my warning might not get read.
CP Visit Details:
- Distance to an asphalt road: 12 km
- Distance to an unpaved road: 1 km
- Time at nearest distance to CP: 10 AM
- Measured height: -
- Minimal distance: 3.8 km
- Topography: mountainous
- Vegetation: jungle.
- Weather: sunny, 30° C (felt temperature)
- Given Name: The Sensitive Border Confluence
The story continues at 15°N 98°E.