Mu Aye Pu, the village where I am volunteering, is a very remote area of unexplored Myanmar, so remote that you should reach it through Thailand and a Thai visa. Basically this area is separated by the rest of Myanmar by mountains… It is also better to reach it through Thailand as the street to get here from Myanmar is dangerous. There are conflicts among the Karen people and the Burmese army and many checkpoints through the road that certainly don’t allow foreigners to proceed, just like in so many areas of unexplored Myanmar.
The village is therefore surrounded by mountains on one side and river on the other. The view is majestic, the sounds are pure. Chickens, geese, water flow, wind, kids playing, people talking a language you don’t understand, are the most common sounds here. A relaxing place.
The place looks so beautiful that I and the other volunteer decided to go for a walk along the river- actually we have made many. This time we will be walking to another village- Le Wah. It is definitely an unexplored Myanmar village. This village is about 5 kilometers away and we should be able to make the trek in 45 minutes, said our hoster. But, we took 3 hours. Not cause we lost ourselves, but cause we were enjoying the view too much and stopped many times for pictures, and to breathe in what surrounds us. Actually we also made a stupid attempt to proceed by walking on the steep and sharp rocks along the river. But, then we realized it will not be possible to go further and had to go all that way back which delayed us.
Trekking from Mu Aye Pu to Le Wah
We went close to the river for as long as we could, as the view is the best in there and the breeze is refreshing. We cross many idyllic places, goats, buffalos, and armed kids. Yes, I was shocked once I saw it. There was a group of three kids, not teenagers, walking not far from us when the sound of a shot fills up the air. Once I look around, scared by the loud noise, to see where did that comes from, I can still see the smoke coming out of a hunting gun that was being handled by a kid. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I couldn’t be more surprised by the fact of seeing that kids here are able to walk around with real guns- usually, they play with fake ones, which is also weird anyway. I have no idea how that kid got that gun but is very dangerous having a kid with such a powerful tool in hands. We decide to get away from them and proceed.
We walk until we find huge rocks molded by the water. They look wonderfully placed in the margin of the river that is very low in the dry season- this is 15 February- and can go up really high during the rainy season. We can see where the water level should be during the rainy season as there are plastics hanging on the trees several meters above our heads. There are some women fishing… One of them even has 4 fishing rods at once!
As we are stupidly trying to go further by climbing rocks, we see a group of people on the Thai side that let us know we can’t proceed that way– as I have previously thought but my fellow companion volunteer insisted we should try. But they were really nice and even offered us a boat ride out of there. Nevertheless, we wanted to continue to explore this unexplored Myanmar on our own, so we refused.
So after going back and move away from the river, we no longer see it until we reach the next village. We walk through the mountain on the first trek I do without any trekking path visible on Maps.me. We must follow our intuition and hopefully, that will be on the right way. As this is an unexplored Myanmar area, you will not find a thing about it on the web or on a map.
We need to make many decisions many times, but we were able to follow the right path. We even asked twice if we were going the right direction by asking locals that live in the middle of nowhere. I MEAN IT. In the middle of f*cking nowhere we found two houses. There is nothing around but mountains and fields for more than 30 minutes of walking distance. Amazing how these people live here in such an unexplored Myanmar territory!!!
Reaching Le Wah village
We weren’t expecting to take so long to reach our destination, so we were already starving and thirsty. And we were walking at mid-day time… We finally reach the village of Le Wah at 1 pm. We left the guesthouse at 10 am. We were hoping to buy something there, but we don’t see any people until we leave the village. Only outside the village, we saw some living souls to whom I needed to ask for help to cross by boat to the Thai side.
Le Wah doesn’t have many houses but is where the Karen army headquarters is located. And there are a Gibbon and 2 monkeys we could see. I was amazed by the sight of a Gibbon that was making such loud sounds. Not that I know anything about these mammals, but those sounds were horrifying to me. They didn’t sound happy and I would say this little fella was asking for help. There were Gibbons living in the mountains behind not so long ago. Not sure if they still live. The people put unprotected electric wires on the area and they were killing Gibbons that tried to swing on them across the forest. Probably this one trapped here lost its parents during the tragedy until someone replaces the wires. Well, this was the only life we saw at Le Wah.
After crossing the village in unexplored Myanmar, we asked a Karen girl for help to cross the river. She was super shy, laughing and calling other people to help her understand the foreigners… It was a funny moment. If you have been to Myanmar you know how cute they look when embarrassed and shy to speak with a foreigner. After some screams to see if someone from the Thai side would listen, she takes us to the house of a man, a little further, that has a boat. He is chopping wood in the area and stops to help us cross the river on his own boat. It’s amazing how these people are willing to help without asking anything in exchange.
We thank the old gentleman and the lady and proceed upriver where we gladly find a shop with some cold drinks and snacks. I was so starving and thirsty that the moment felt like heaven. Then we went by bus- it is an orange pick up truck- to Mae Salit, to have lunch at 2 pm and see what’s there. The place is actually not very interesting, so you can easily skip it. Ban Tha Song Yang is way more charming and beautiful to do some basic shopping.
Every day this area is more appealing and interesting to me, and its beauty has much more to be seen. Of that I’m sure!
I can take you to this unexplored area as a non-volunteer. Click below to know more:
Here is my video about this place: