Bilu Kyun, or otherwise known as Ogre Island, is an island off the coast of Mawlamyime. It is roughly the size of Singapore and is home to 200,000 people, most of who are of the Mon ethnic group. Our hotel offered a tour of the island, but my travel partner and I decided to go it alone. It’s easy enough, you just walk down to the boat dock and for roughly 300 kyat (.30 cents) they will take you the 15 minutes to the other side of the water. In Myanmar, the waters are teaming with long canoe-like vessels powered by a rusty prop motor that may also work as the rutter. I haven’t quite figured them out yet, but anyway they are loud and loads of fun to travel in. We jumped in with only our daypacks while locals arrived with sacks full of goods. Once it was full we headed for the island.
The boat dropped us off at the main town on the east side of the island. Motor taxi drivers were waiting, as usual, and we shooed them away as we were only planning to take a quick look around before heading back to the mainland. We walked through the ramshackled village and along the main road that leads into the heart of the island. There is a beautiful pagoda next to a small lake and we hung out taking pictures of the stupas and blooming flowers. We started walking back to the boat dock, but I wasn’t in a hurry to get back to Mawlamyine. I had a feeling there was a lot more to this island than the waterside village and stupas. So, we found a couple of motor taxi drivers, or more like they found us, and we arranged a two hour tour on motorbike around the center of the island.
This ended up being a really good decision and my gut instinct turned out to be right. There was a lot more to see. We spent the next couple of hours bouncing along the island roads, through the palm-studded rice fields, past the thatched stilted houses, into the villages, up the roads and shaded hills. We only stopped to visit at a wood workshop, take a few photos and fuel up at one of the island gas stations which sells the petrol out of reused plastic water bottles.
When our joyride was done, we peeled our sore bums off the bikes, paid our dusty chauffeurs and waded across the water to our boat back to shore.