Author: Guido Helbling, Avosound - Last updated November 09, 2017
At 1,100 metres above sea level, Pyin U Lwin is graced with green pastures, fresh air and cooler temperatures than the dusty lowlands.
Pyin U Lwin is very inviting and offers a nice botanical garden that is well worth a visit. Once again we recommend that you find yourself a guide with a moped in order to check out the sights.
The buddhist caves of Peik Chin Myaung are located between Pyin U Lwin and Hsipaw. If you take a cab to Hsipaw, try to stop by at this impressive grotto, which is also a perfect destination for a day trip.
We decide to visit the botanical garden, where I manage to record some nice cricket and bird sounds. I also capture the typical cooing noise of the blue-throated barbet; this is a very exotic sound but highly characteristic of Burma, where these birds are quite common. Blue-throated barbets are gregarious little birds that are often heard but rarely seen. Click here for a picture of the blue-throated barbet.
While I was sitting still during a recording, I suddenly heard a rustling noise in the underbrush. I expected a snake to slither out of the bushes, but instead I was faced with a fully grown stag. For a split-second we looked at each other with surprise, then the animal darted back into the bushes.
In the evening, I booked train tickets to Hsipaw where I marvelled at the horse-drawn carriages decorated with beautiful light tubes.
I love visiting markets in Asia, because there is always something fascinating on display.
As we quickly found out, it pays to be there early if you want fresh food at a Burmese market.
The food tends to attract flies after it's been exposed to the burning heat all day. Not very appetising...and something to consider when ordering food from the menu in the restaurant.
Traveling by train through Burma is by far the least expensive mode of transport. You can't beat $1.50 per person for coach (business class was unfortunately not available)
We finally arrive in Hsipaw in the evening -- with a few hours delay -- and spend the night at Hotel Lily's (<<--TIP!!). Lily's is by far the most beautiful hotel we stay at on our Burma trip: competent and courteous staff, nice rooms and great pancakes for breakfast.
Like many other travellers we are quite taken by Hsipaw and decide to stay longer than planned.
Hsipaw is indeed a very inviting place. During the day you can rent bicycles to explore the city. There's a small field with a number of overgrown pagodas as well as a monastery. If you're tired of visiting pagodas, you can stroll around the field (called Little Bagan) and spend some time in Mrs Popcorn's beautiful garden (see below for more info).
In the evening you can ride your bicycle along the Old Burma Road to Sunset Point and look at, well, the sunset. Or, alternatively, you can go down to the river and drink a Myanmar beer or rum sour in one of the restaurants.
The Candle Light Market in Hsipaw is also worth a visit. It's also nice to cool off for a change. It's so cool, in fact, that at 4am (when the Candle Light Market begins) the Burmese locals run around in hats and scarfs! It's hard to believe but true.
If you want to buy fresh food from the market, you need to get up early (at least that's what we've learnt). The Candle Light Market (which starts at 4am in total darkness) is well worth a visit. It's pleasantly cool at this time of day -- so cool, in fact, that I had to wear a light jacket, believe it or not. We spent the morning tasting various delicious cakes and making some sound recordings of the busy Burmese market.