Somewhere on the edge of Yangon, hidden behind an industrial area, lies an old glass factory in the woods. Once a flourishing glass company (the biggest in Burma), before the government decided to raise the price of natural gas with factor 30. In 2007 the factory was forced to close down. The year after cyclone Nargis completed the downfall of the glass factory and destroyed all the buildings. What is left? Debris of the walls and roof, a few glass ovens and glass objects. Many, many glass objects, piled up under the trees. Most of them are broken, some are intact. If you can stand the mosquitos and spiderwebs its worth to take a look and stroll the woods for glass artwork that survived the forces of nature. For a few dollars you can buy whatever you managed to salvage from the green.
They will proudly tell you about the glory days of the glass factory, how many they produced per day and that astronaut and man on the moon John Glenn once visited the factory. All the friendly staff can do now is clean the glass for you and cut of the sharp edges of the glass. Beautiful, broken glass…..
One of the great things of living in Asia is living in the vicinity of so many great dive spots. One of the most amazing spots is supposed to be the Mergui Argipelago, Andaman sea in the South of Myanmar. But since there are hardly any facilities there to stay, rent diving equipment or even a boat AND the dive season only lasts from December to March, so I decided to try out another great spot in the Andaman sea: Pulau Weh, Indonesia.
On the most Northern tip of the island of Sumatra lies the tiny island Palau Weh (north of Banda Aceh, a city that the whole world knows from the devastating Tsunami 26/12/2014, 220.000 deaths only on Sumatra alone).
My friend Carola and I flew from Yangon to Kuala Lumpur in the evening, stayed the night at KL airport and flew the next morning in 1 hour to Banda Aceh. A short taxi ride took us to the ferry that brought us in 1,5 hours to Pulau Weh.
We dove with Lumba Lumba dive resort. Dutch owned with both local and international staff. Great place, comfortable boats, well maintained equipment and very friendly people… but most importantly: Superb diving…. Maybe not as much coral as Manado (although, I’m definitely not complaining), but great schools of fish and numerous muck stuff (mini fish/shrimps/snails for the non-divers).
Pulau Weh has been an prosperous harbour in Dutch times, so there were still quite some colonial buildings left. The last day, before our afternoon flight, we visited the different Tsunami memorials in Banda Aceh including a huge electricity boat that was pushed 5 km inland by the 20m high wave) Very impressive too!
In short: a great (long) weekend getaway for the dreary monsoon months in Yangon and definitely something I want to organise as an activity for our newly established “Myanmar Divers Association”, the first dive club in Myanmar where I’m the only non-Myanmar board member. But more about that in another post…
On the surface…. Pulau Weh & Banda Aceh
A Wonderful weekend at the pristine beaches of Ngwe Saung