Following our long train trip from Yangon to Mawlamyine (Moulmein) and day visit to the Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery and War Museum we side tracked the next day as we heard that there was a steam powered rice mill on Bilu Island. Now that was an opportunity I couldn’t miss. Negotiations with our friendly travel agent enabled a change in itinerary for the day and of added interest was a trip by traditional ferry boat over to the island. Ni Ni, our guide, grew up on the island so it was a chance for him to briefly visit family.

Early morning  with the ferry boat being initially loaded with motorcycles. The skipper has his body up through an opening in the roof section and steers the boat’s tiller with his feet.

On the journey we passed some interesting water craft. For example this traditional small family fishing boat. Note the 4 HP Honda motor manufactured in Thailand with a long alloy tube attached contains a propeller shaft. The boat is made of Teak and the life of these are 20-30 years. Teak is light in weight and dense in natural oils so is the best of boat building timbers.

This rather well loaded craft with minimal freeboard is a sand dredge. It pumps up sand off the Thanlwin River bed and delivers it to the nearby concrete batching plant. A number of these were out on the river during our ferry trip.

A new bridge under construction between the mainland and Bilu Island. To be completed in two years from now. It will reduce the cost of transport for food produce from the island but will mean more traffic on the relatively quiet island roads. The ferry was very well maintained and clean. This image shows the spotless Chinese built diesel engine.

Motor cycles and passengers on the mid deck section on the return to Mawlyamine.

Boat trip to Bilu island -3

Rice Mill Bilu Island next page