Burma places to seeSights of Burma
One of our favorite places in Myanmar to be visited for a certain purpose is Hsipaw - unbelievable hiking. While Kalaw is certainly breathtaking, the isolation of Hsipaw in North Shan State is particularly attractive. You can reach Hsipaw by coach, cab, train or any other way, but the railway is definitely the most interesting one.
One good trade-off is a coach to Pyin Oo Lin, then the Hsipaw rail. Nearly all routes to Hsipaw depart from Mandalay, and you should first stay there for a few nights to explore U Bein Bridge, Mahamuni Pagoda and Mandalay Hill (please contact us if you wish).
The Hsipaw is constructed around a major motorway that transports lorries and busses through the city to Lashio and other cities in the state of Shan. The number of places to spend the night is growing, and most travellers choose Mr. Charles' guesthouse. The Red Dragon Hotel, which also offers the only roof overlooking Hsipaw (the views are really very, very good), is a recently opened and less expensive variant with very kind people.
A mixture of mostly regional and traditional China cuisine is available. Ms. Popcorn's Garden offers an exquisite selection of traditional dishes in a beautiful setting near the Little Bagan touristic area. One good, slightly less expensive alternative is Mr. Meal, which offers full and tasty Korean dishes.
Hsipaw also has plenty of road meals - try some glutinous dark riceballs immersed in sugars and herbs. Hiking is what you came here for. Although it is not absolutely necessary to have a leader when walking around Hsipaw, as it is in Kalaw, it is definitely still wise and there are several ways to explore.
On the other hand, the most logical choice is Mr. Charles' guest house, which offers a decent level of services. One of the guides we can refer is Mr. Sai, who has guided us on a beautiful two-day walk, is fluent in English and knows a lot about the area' s wildlife, animals and local people.
Hiking itself is a very unique adventure. The sky becomes more vibrant at nights than ever before as the level of sunlight is very low and you are likely to come across a strange and thrilling mixture of native game. A stay with a native familiy in a remote town when you are travelling for a long time is a particularly intriguing one.
Hsipaw trek is a great adventure without so many people coming to Kalaw, but with a more genuine allure. It may be a bit harsh and prepared, but don't be fooled, there are really beautiful landscapes just around the bend awaiting to be discovered. Contact us if this has aroused your interest; we will be pleased to organise any kind and length of trek you would like to do in the area.