In search of peace, tranquility and great rural mountainous landscapes we went to Hsipaw (Thibaw). This picturesque town situated in the Shan State and its surroundings can be easily visited on a bike. Direction tips and a map that we got from our hotel were enough to easily explore this green area by ourselves. The trekking tour we planned in this region with a guide was cancelled as we got information that there was an outbreak of a military dispute in some higher parts of the Shan State. In turn we could arrange our own trip, and so we did by renting a bike and heading for picturesque surroundings, reaching a charming waterfall and passing green areas which left as in awe of this amazing corner of Myanmar!
We rented bicycles at La Residence (place of our stay in Hsipaw) for 3.000MMK (2.50USD) per bike. We got from the main road to a path leading us to a cemetery and monastery. Having the monastery on the right we were supposed to take a path on the left driving up the way through the cemetery.
Below: the coolest tomb we found in the cemetery. As you can see it’s not Myanmese but a Chinese one.
At the top of the path we came across a garbage dump, and then going down through gravel and stony road which later became a narrow path, and so for about 40 minutes by bike until we reached a hill in front of the waterfall. All the locals tried to dissuade us from riding bicycles till the waterfall and suggested leavng them in the monastery near the cemetery, but we decided to see ourselves how far we could get on our bikes, and frankly we reached the waterfall without any problems.
If you find it hard to push your bike up to the hill close to the waterfall, then possibly you can leave it for a while in an older man’s hut on the way. The friendly guy helped Michal repair the saddle on his bike.
This is the way eggplant grows.
The views along the way are amazing. The waterfall appears very quickly in the horizon and is seen as the main point up on the way.
Going back to the cemetery to an Y-junction you need to choose the path on the left which soon becomes an asphalt road leading to the so called hot springs. Actually the springs are nothing special but along the way you can observe everyday life of local people: taking a bath in the river, working in the field or sitting in front of their huts:
How to get to Hsipaw?
We recomend catching a train from Mandalay at 4 am, and you will be in Hsipaw at about 3pm – Yeah, we know! A terribly long journey, but it’s worth it because of the scenery on the way! The route runs through the highest railway bridge in Myanmar (called Gokteik Bridge) which is more than 100 meters high (in 1901 it was the 2nd longest railway bridge in the world). The experience of driving this battered train can give you a lot of fun. The train rides swinging from side to side in some places even to such an extent that the luggage on the shelves above your heads can easily drop down if you don’t tie it to the shelf. Moreover, at each train stop there are various local vendors getting on the train and selling either cold drinks or snacks. The train goes at a snail’s pace, but it’s worth to include it in your travel plan when in Myanmar. The ticket costs less than 4.000MMK (3USD). And now something to inspire you:) :