Leaving it all behind to explore the world together
Burmese Days – Mandalay and Hsipaw, Myanmar
Just a quick post with some fun things from the last few days. I’m typing this blog on my phone so sorry in advance for any spelling mistakes!
Leaving Yangon we finally got to experience a staple of Southeast Asian travel that we had so far managed to avoid – the overnight bus. Our bus left Yangon at 9pm and arrived in Mandalay about 6 am (still dark). The Yangon bus station is confusing, dusty, loud, and generally not a great place to be. But we were pleased to see that our bus was quite good – good AC, seats that reclined a long way.
Mandalay doesn’t have the old colonial buildings we saw in Yangon. It had them once, many years ago. But it was completely bombed to the ground in World War 2. It was rebuilt with ugly buildings, chaotic roads, and very few traffic lights. But there are interesting sights in and around the city.
We were glad to leave Mandalay and head north, into Shan State, to the small town of Hsipaw. It was a 6 hour bus ride, through canyons and over hills.
After Yangon and Mandalay, Hsipaw was a literal breath of fresh air. It’s a small town in the hills, on a lovely river. When the sun is down its legitimately cold here. The locals wear heavy jackets and toques, which might be overkill. But we needed pants and long sleeves at night.
The ride back from Hsipaw was via train. It was a really scenic route through farms, rice paddys, and hills. The highlight was the Gokteik Viaduct, a 100 year old truss bridge built by the Americans when Burma was still a British colony.
Now we are off south towards an area called Inle Lake, in search of a multi day trek. Apparently there are wineries too, or at least one winery. Fingers crossed!
– Doug / February 8, 2017 / Mandalay, Burma at the Iceland Hotel / 10:20pm