Hiking around the Shan State was an unforgettable experience. We arranged to venture into the remote and untouched hills that border China at ‘Lily The home’. The Shan State is completely different to the rest of Myanmar, it has many individual ethnic groups, is home to several armed ethnic armies. While the military government has signed ceasefire agreements with most groups, vast areas of the state remain outside the central government’s control and are under the control of there own military groups. Read more
Hsipaw is situated in the Shan state and is the kicking off point for treks into the remote hill tribes. We spent a few days leisurely exploring the area by foot and bike. Most of our time was spent chasing butterflies and cycling through rice fields. Read more
Arriving in Mandalay, Sarah and I took to the streets once again on bike. Cycling around cities or towns we get to appreciate and see a lot more. This place was busy and there was a huge amount to see and do in the area. First we visited the Mandalay Palace, the original magnificent palace was destroyed by fire during World War II. Even though the Palace has been rebuilt the city gates with their wooden pavilions and surrounding moat still represent an impressive scene. Unfortunately the reconstruction has used forced labor, as we found out after our visit.
After a greta time in Bagan, Mandalay was to be our next point of origin. Sarah and I opted for the road less travelled option, and booked ourselves on the ‘slow’ boat up stream to Mandalay. This direction on the ‘slow’ boat wasn’t usually travelled by foreigners, and once boarding we realised that we were to be the only foreigners to be on board for the entire trip, in these situations we were fortunate to have each other.
Bagan, the land of thousands Pagodas! Bagan really impressed us. Hiring bikes for a couple of days, riding around and exploring the old pagodas was a real highlight. Sarah playing tour guide once more, lead me around this area with map in hand.
Shwedagon Pagoda was our first stop once we hit Yangon town. Wow! This is probably the most impressive temple we had ever seen. We spent nearly 2 hours there! Only spending a short time in Yangon, seeing the Shwedagon Pagoda, eating doe delicious food, we knew we were going to like Myanmar.
Our idea was, leave our passports in KL, to get a Myanmar visa, then head to Palau Kapas for 4 nights while it went through the process. It worked extremely well. Palau Kapas is a small island off Malaysia’s east coast. With only a few places to stay on the island, Sarah and I were pleased to get the last beach bungalow at Kapas Beach Chalet.
Flying from Columbo, we arrived in Singapore. Singapore was to our surprise fantastic. Always thought as a stop over by us, spending time there was great insight.