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View of the morning clouds that are stuck in the valley. Hsipaw trekking.

You can read about the first and second part of our Hsipaw trekking.

Because of the heavy rain at night we decided to spend one more day in this village, rest our sore legst and wait for the trail to dry. Just beside the monastery there is a 300-years old complex of pagodas which is just amazing. Imagine to have a miniature Bagan just for yourself, in the middle of nowhere!

300 old pagodas just beside the monastery in the remote village. Hsipaw trekking.

500m away there is a small hill with big white pagoda where the main monk lives. It’s also a very nice place to see the sunset. The big boss (=main monk) went to the next village to a 3-day chanting event, while the younger monks were alone in the temple. Theyput the radio full on and sang on the speakers and suddenly we realised the monks are boys, too. They still have fun and sing if they want to 🙂 It seems the type of Buddhism is not so strict as in Sri Lanka and Thailand. I was surprised when the monk shook my hand as we left, thinking that they can’t even touch a woman. Some monks are not even monks for the whole year but they go back to normal life couple of months a year and help their parents on the farm.
It was time to say goodbye to the monks and the cats (and to my shoes as well 🙁 – someone took  them and then the nuns gave me one pair of their hiking shoes. So nice!).

Monk and his cat, playing. Hsipaw trekking.

Monk and his cat.

The third day was 5 hours of cloudy and easy walking. We ate soup made of mustard leaves (which is delicious), saw the village of women with black teeth and big earrings (back then you had to pay more money to marry black toothed lady) and found a nice sunset place before we took of for our overnight village with our headlights. We slept in the room full of smoke from the fireplace in the middle of the room and the next room was full of interesting people.

Picture of a lady with black teeth. Hsipaw trekking.

Beautiful lady.

This is where it gets a bit complicated to write about a sensitive subject and that’s why I’ll post about it later.
Last day was maybe the hardest one. We walked for 7 hours and it was not easy because we knew this beautiful trek is ending. Near the end a real storm hit us and we were soaked! But we finished our experience with a good lunch and a rainbow in the sky. What else could we wish for? 🙂

This is our second part of Hsipaw trekking. You can read the first one here.

We ate black bees for dinner. Whaaaaat? Yes. With dinner of rice and a big bowl of soup from which everyone eats came the bees. Big black poisonous bees with larvae! They are some kind of a specialty and we were lucky to try them. I tried one of each and that was enough for me (the taste was ok but sight of the bees was scary!). Definitely the strangest dish of our Hsipaw trekking. Or one year travels.
We lay down on the floor near the Buddha ‘room’, a place where the family prays for good fortune in the next life. Sleep came fast on the soft matters on the floor while the Christmas lights on the shrine were still twinkling.

Little village gangstas. Read More

Little boy is sitting in the grass. Behind him you can see the village. Read more on our Hsipaw trekking in the post.

Hsipaw, a small town in Shan state, lies 200 km from Mandalay. You can take the slow jumpy train ride and enjoy the view. Most tourists who come to Myanmar (Burma) for 2 weeks don’t come here and those who do, come to Hsipaw for a 1 or 2 day trek. We had something different in mind…

After settling in Yee Shin guesthouse for 5 $/person (the cheapest we’ve had in Myanmar) we called for a guide at reception. Young man with smiling eyes by the name Axsai came and explained that he has a route he did only twice before. It’s trekking from Hsipaw to a nearby city Kyaukme (sounds like Chow Mei) and it takes 75 km and 3 nights. Just what we wanted! Luckily, no one wanted to do a trek this long so we were alone.

Walking in beautiful nature. Read More

We rented a motorbike (12.000 MMK or 10 eur, gas 1 l for 1000 MMK or 0,8 eur) and went on the roads of Mandalay. We saw the Gold Pounder’s district where they make gold leaves to put on the Buddha statues for good luck. And then we wanted to see the old capital of Inwa. But first thing’s first. Mic needed a haircut and a shave to avoid the production of those curls. We found a salon where we spent more than an hour (?!). He was shaven and cut by two boys and then he got 6 shampooings and 3 facial massages by another boy and then he got a neck and arms massage by 3 boys simultaneously. Crazy, I tell ya!

We were in the way to Inwa, the former capital of almost 1000 years but we kinda ran out of time (sunsets don’t wait :D) and just looked at it from across the river. We weren’t too sad about it. We like the monasteries and temples and all but there are so many of them and they start to look the same after a while.

Golden leaf being pounded to nothing.

Read More

Long but nice 🙂 We took a fancy overnight bus from Yangon to Mandalay and after a good morning nap in a clean room, we were off to discover the city. Of course, we wanted to walk. Sometimes we just don’t think straight and thankfully a small friendly local man convinced us to take the bicycles. And we were so happy he did. We did around 20 km, ate 3 times (mostly Shan noodles – a favorite), tried new words (a-loun beh-lauq ca-leh or how much is that all together) and saw the city palace, couple of temples, golden monastery and in the end hiked up the Mandalay hill. I told you it was a full day 🙂

Shwenandaw Kyaung.
We watched the sunset from the hill, where surprisingly a lot of tourists appeared. By the age of them it looks there are a lot of organized tours in Myanmar. On the way down we chatted with young monks who come to Mandalay hill every day to practice their English. So cute!

View from the hill and a special glittery lens :D

Mandalay is a really comfortable city. People speak good English, the roads are not so hectic and they have a whole lane just for bikes and bicycles.