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Meeting the others

With apparently new US dollar bills as well as the Myanmar visa in our pockets, we finally had the go for our trip to Myanmar. But we still had three days before meeting the other participants in the border town of Mae Sot, which was only 500 km ahead of us.
After we finally made it out of Bangkok and even finding a place for getting our gas bottle refilled, the car's compass pointed to the north until we reached the town of Nakhon Sawan. Here we visited the Wat Khiri Wong, a Buddhist temple complex located on a hill, which offered a great view over the town and the nearby marshes.

Wat Khiri Wong
Golden Buddha
Wat Khiri Wong

After stops in Kamphaeng Phet and Tak we followed our route towards Mae Sot. Some kilometers west of Tak the well paved road got steep and winding, before we reached the turnoff to the Taksin Maharat National Park. Besides the hope of getting to see some exotic animals such as the Asian Paradise Flycatcher, the hornbill or a serau, giant tree was the main reason why we went here: Taksin Maharat is the home to the largest Krabak tree of Thailand. A height of 50 m and a girth of over 16 meters are were reasons to check it out by ourselves.
Our walk was marked by countless mosquito bites and leech bites. While the tree was really impressive, we did not see much foreign species. One really has to admire the true nature enthusiasts and researchers, who can rest in the heat for hours along with the countless mosquitoes just to get a certain bird in front of the lens.
Forgetting about the mosquito presence for a moment, one can do some really nice camping in this National Park near the park headquarters.

Buttress root tree
Krabak tree
Orb weaver

Our next and final stop in the Kingdom of Thailand was Mae Sot on the border with Myanmar. Immediately after arrival and check-in at a hotel, we drove the few miles to the border, to get a first look. Our trip to Myanmar in 2013 has not exclusively been in positive memories. We hoped that it would be different this time and were excited to meet the other participants of our convoys.

On September 29, we finally met Martina and Pierre from Germany, travelling in a Toyota Land Cruiser HZJ75, and the Dutch couple Anje and Izaak (also Toyota Land Cruiser HZJ75) which we had already met in Kuala Lumpur.
After the first two evenings together with a beer, our expectation was confirmed: we would have a great trip together through Myanmar! Everyone was excited. Tour Myanmar by (foreign) car was almost impossible recently and there were hardly any useful information about this subject on the Internet. After starting the planning for this venture April already (it took till July before we had the certainty that it would actually work out), it finally was time to do it.

The last two days in Thailand have been used with errands, car and equipment care and ... the enjoyment of further Thai dishes. We remember us sitting in the restaurant with the others - almost crying after a ordering a dish which was almost as intolerable spicy that basic body functions refused the service. But according to the motto "You have ordered it, you paid for it!" we kept eating until the plate was empty. The waitress was happy about additional incomes since after the food we had to order additional water and beer to extinguish the fire the has broken out in our mouths. That's what I call clever!

Sorts of beer
Monks in Mae Sot
Convoy at the border

In the morning of October 1 the convoy got together and moved to the border. The three big cars, of which each license plate looked different, quickly attracted the attention of the locals, and certainly this was a rare view to them as well.
The departure was done after half an hour and so we said Goodbye to Thailand, the fifth country on our trip.
About 8 tons on twelve wheels now rolled over the "Friendship Bridge" to Myanmar. We were expected.