After a week at the bamboo school, I headed back to Bangkok to meet up with a friend I will be traveling with in Burma. We were there for one night before heading to Yangon. We arrived late at night and checked into our accommodation. The most expensive I have had since traveling Asia!
We checked our the city the next day, walked around a few iconic buildings, and pagodas. There was a train ride around the city which took 3 hours and cost about 20cents so that was nice. I noticed pretty quickly that they had a rubbish problem. It seems that it’s OK to dump rubbish any where that is convenient. Food is super cheap in comparison to anywhere I have been so far which kind of makes paying exuberant prices for accommodation stomach-able.
Our second day we headed to Shwedagon Pagoda, a absolutely phenomenal structure surrounded by tons of intricately detailed temples. It is Buddhist pilgrimage site so it was filled with locals and people from other countries , coming to pay their respects. We stayed until sunset. The red sky really made the pagoda look spectacular!
We headed the next day to Bago which was a short trip by train north of Yangon. A small town with a few temples and the country’s largest pagoda. We rented a motorbike so we could get through the town quickly and see plenty.
We jumped on the afternoon train which was the most bumpy and death defying ride of my life! The train tracks were so bad that we literally left our seats by 2 or 3 inches over the bumps! So there was no sleeping all night. We arrived in Thazi a small town with not a lot there. Mainly a place to catch a ride to go else where. We got there at 2.30am and walked to the ‘bus stop’ which happened to be a tea shop. We had to wait 4.5 hours till the bus came. So we didn’t sleep the whole night.
We caught a small mini van around 7am which took us to Kalaw. A pleasant wee town which tourists went to mainly for their amazing trekking. We booked a trek and had some food before having an afternoon nap. They had amazing Nepali food there, uncle Sam’s was Devine! Avocado salad for $1!
The next morning we headed off on our trek. We were joined by 2 lovely Australians. We all got to talking, and got along like a house on fire. It make the 5-8 hour days fly by! The scenery along the way was absolutely stunning! So many different colours in all the fields, it was amazing. We finished up our 3 days of trekking in Inle lake which was about 60 odd km south east of Kalaw.
We stayed in a really peaceful town called Naungshwe for 3 nights. Our first adventure there was finding accommidation under $30! Everything is insanely priced. Our first day there we went horse riding. 2 of the horses were lovely, placid and well behaved. The other 2 however, were absolute phyco’s! Bucking and trotting about, very unhappy with the situation. This made the experience much more extreme for us all, but especially for Bernard (one of our new Aussie friends) who we later found out was the horse whisperer.
We all headed up to Taunggyi for years fire balloon festival which was amazing. So much to see, it was like a large show grounds with all sorts of locals peddling anything from nic naks, to flat screen TV’S and scooters. The actual balloons were set off around 9pm. They were being propelled by hundreds of little candles. It was a beautiful sight to see.
Mandalay was the next destination, and after a day in a rather nice mini van, we arrived in the big city. Again we were struggling to find cheap accommodation. And had to really try hard to find something cheap! We rented a motorbike for the day and rode around the city. It has a large palace square about 5 km around which is in the center of the city. And all the roads were set up and named like new York City. I must say it makes navigation a breeze. 25th and 83rd street etc.
We left after 2 nights and have now stopped off in Pyin oo Lwin. They have a festival on here for the next 3 days so accommodation is double for till Thursday so we will head through to Hsipaw a town north east of here for some trekking!