A travel blog of a journey that I started in 2010 and I don't know when it will end ...

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Myanmar (Birmania), Bangkok and Kho Chang

This May 2015 I went for 3 weeks around Myanmar and Thailand…

Inle Lake

Map of the Route

Day 0 Flight Departure This time to get to Bangkok I fly with Catar Airways stopping at Doha. One of the fastest options from Barcelona for a reasonable price ...

We arrive at Bangkok by the evening ... we take the train to Phaya Thai and from there we took taxi to the area of Khao San Road. We stayed at Wild Orchid Villa, which is not bad for a few days, and it has a swimming pool!

Day 1. Contact to Bangkok

After sleeping a lot .... We  walk to Pom Pra Sumen and we visit Wat Intharawihan (the standing Buddha).

We eat something and walk up to the area of the Royal Palace (which they don't let in after 3pm) We go back by boat to Wild Orchid Villa. We have dinner on a street and then we go for a beer, and to rest to be ready to Myanmar!

Day 2. Flight to Mandalay and Mandalay Hill

We wake up very early ... We must go to Don Muang Airport (DMK). We stopped a taxi and then talk about prices ... 300 baths plus tolls. We flew with AirAsia, and offers free transportation to the city center! We arrived at noon at the accommodation we have booked , Rich Queen Gesthouse. We get a fresh drink, water and a laugh from ear to ear. Accommodation is Simple but we have great views!

Once settled, we take no particular direction to _ look for some place to eat ... an odyssey ... Walking through Mandalay is a complicated task ... and dangerous. The pavements are occupied by cars, generators, materials, etc ... Once you get used to, it's not so major, but at first shocked! After passing through a giant market that seems to have no order, we decided to eat Indian restaurant. Spicy !!! We try to get to see the sunset at Mandalay Hill by shared van. Another Odyssey! First, we were going in the wrong direction ... and then we take a van that goes fulfilled! We arrive there to see the sunset at half the mountain ...

From there you can see the wall outside the green Mandalay Palace surrounded by a huge water channel. The return way, we try to go by taxi , but we are not convinced with the price ...we walk until a a friendly motorbiker offers make a motorcycle taxi ... 3 in a motorcycle! whoop! At the guesthouse we arrange a shared taxi transport to Pyin Oo Lwin for the next day.  We have dinner at a bar next door before going to sleep. We are tired!

Day 3. Pyin Oo Lwin and Anisakan Falls

The accommodations in Myanmar always include breakfast ... so after eating, we wait for the taxi and we make the way to Pyin Oo Lwin on the Shan plateau over 1000 meters. We leave the backpacks at Grace Hotel 1 , and we walk to visit the Kandawgyi Botanical Gardens in Pyin Oo Lwin. Botanical Gardens well maintained and ideal to see much of the flora and fauna of Myanmar.

After eat something, we rent a bike to go to see the waterfalls Anisakan of Dat Taw Gyaik. To reach the waterfalls is about 3 km walk down a steep path ... and then we have to climb ... that it ... .. The waterfalls are, great! The afternoon light makes the colors of the rocks are genius ...

After taking a bath, we go back to Pyin Oo Lwin. We have dinner at the local Night Market, very authentic!

Day 4. Train to Hsipaw by the Gokteik Viaduct

After breakfast at Grace Hotel 1 , they take us with the motorcar to the train station. We take the train to hsipaw. A 5-hour journey that passes through the Viaduct Gekteik of almost 700 meters long ...

Upon reaching hsipaw we stay at the Lily Guest House, and we went after eat something around the village. We ended up eating a delicious broth with vegetables and noodles fried with a cozy Chinese restaurant. With the train journey we finished with no energy ...

Day 5. Journey by Bike around Hsipaw

We want to make a trip to Palaung and Shan villages that are in hsipaw area. At the same Guest House they will ask more people to share the guidance for the next day. Today, we rent a bike and make a turn around hsiapaw, lunch in the village and in the afternoon we visit the Monastery Bamboo Buddha (Maha Nanda Kantha) and Myo Myauk (called Little Bagan). And finally before run out of energy, we go to Thein Daung Pagoda (Sunset Hill) to see the sunset.

The next morning we have a walking group!

Day 6 and 7. Hike arround Shan and Palaung villages

We chose the trek we wanted to do in two days, with two Dutch and one American with a charming gentleman called Onwe (ethnic Shan) that guide us and was responsible for all during the two days of the trek . It was very interesting to talk with him, because we spoke about the internal conflict that lives Myanmar (nobody speaks in the city for fear of finishing behind bars) and so we talked about the benefits and difficulties of the day life of the inhabitants of this peculiar country.  The first day we walked eight hours uphill, crossing various ethnic Shan villages. The landscape was unfortunate; total deforestation. They cut trees to plant corn and how they had picked corn had burned straw waste to fertilize the soil, so we walked for hours wasteland. In theory we were surrounded by mountains, but it is summer in Myanmar, and the mixture of heat with humidity, smoke and pollution makes it impossible to see anything. The highlight undoubtedly the villages where we could see the locals doing their daily lives, and where we were given food (very good). The landscape was improved during the last hour and a half before reaching the town where we stopped to sleep, while preserving the forest. It was a Palaung village where there was no big thing, and that was precisely what made him special.

The second day, we woke up to see the sunrise, have breakfast and walk again ... The walk downhill now, with a beautiful landscape that was only during the first hour of the way, then desert again.

Upon reaching hsipaw we took a Shower, eat and go to catch the night bus that will lead to Lake Inle ...

Day 8, 9 and 10. Nyaungshwe / Inle lake. Walking, Biking and Boating
We spent three days at Inle, the perfect time to enjoy everything the area has to offer. The first day we did relax the second we rent a bike to explore the area on our own, and the third day we did a boat tour _ the lake. Definitely Inle Lake is a place that you can not miss if you travel to Myanmar.    After hsipaw and Night bus, we made day of relaxation and meditation ...

The next day, we rent a bike for a spin around: part of the lake surrounded by bike enjoying the views of the lake and surrounding mountains. We spent Khaung Daing Natural Hot Spring, but not enter the temple there is a hill side view ... We continue to LWE Nyeint to see if we can cross by boat other side the lake. It moisturizes and wondering how we have to do .... seems too expensive and decided to return to Nyaungshwe lunch. In the afternoon we continue to paddle across the lake. We hold to the Red Mountain Estate Vineyards & Winery.

We do a wine tasting and enjoy the sunset overlooking the lake. At our Hotel we have agreed to do a tour boat on the lake the next day. Day Inle Lake by boat: Our tour began eaarly. We walk to a channel where they had the boat (canoe elongated engine) typical of the area and started the route. After traveling a few kilometers in a canal to reach the lake where fishermen fishing hoped (because tourists can take pictures ...).

We visited several places: first a local market, then the floating gardens where they grow all over the lake, later a jewelry store where they worked silver, a shop in which wove cloth with silk extracted from the lotus flower, towns whole bamboo houses built on the lake, etc.

After lunch we visit a bamboo temple and went slowly back to Nyaungshwe. With enough time to take a shower and go get the bus to Bagan.

Day 11 and 12. Bagan

The night bus leaves at 4 am in a village 20 minutes from Nyaung U. We met the Dutch couple we made the trek in hsipaw having breakfast! They also want to get to Nyaung , so we go together. So we negotiated a van for 7 and go looking of accommodation. Finally we stayed at Eden Motel. Simple, inexpensive and practical. We leave bags and rented electric bikes beside Eden, and we go to see the sunrise from a small temple near Paya Shwesandaw. A good start to stay in Bagan ...

Since we are awake, we have breakfast and continue visiting temples and other important but not so important ...: Ananda Pahto, Mingala Zedis, Manuha Temple Naga Yon Hpaya ...

We endup  just tired, it is very hot at noon! We have a extended nap so we do not wake up in time to go to see the sunset, but almost ... so... We went to dinner at the street and buy some souvenirs. The next day, back to work! I get up again to see the sunrise from Shwesandaw Paya, and then return at Eden to have breakfast.

After eat , we visit the temples more remote: Sulamani Temple Dahmmayan Phaya Gyi, Pyathadar Hpaya and Dhammayazita.

When we return we visit the Shwezigon Pagoda making the time to meet the Dutch to go to some small temples to watch the sunset. The temples are Called Lay Soo Gon Group.

We negotiate the price to go see the Mt. Popa next day with them.

Day 13. Mt. Popa

Nice day trip to see some green….

On the way back we stop and see how they made sweet and liqueur with _ cane sugar ....
(+ Info what they do ....) Also randomly we stop in a village to walk the 3 blocks of land that there is .... A group of children appear out of nowhere When we take us to the temple where all the people with a Buddhist monk.

A good experience!

Next day we take a bus to Mandalay.

Day 14 and 15. Mandalay and surroundings

After breakfast and make the trip bus. We arrived in Mandalay and we stay at Nylon Hotel, nothing fancy. We like more Rich Queen Gesthouse. We leave our staff, and we rent a motorbike to go arround ... ..we visit Ein Daw Yar Pagoda, the river walk and the Flower Market.

We went to buy tickets to see Mandalay Marionettes www.mandalaymarionettes.com, we eat something and….
Les Marionettes!

The next day we take the bike ... and we go arround. Amarapura, Snake Pagoda (Paya Hmwe) inwa, SoneOoPoneNyaShin Pagoda, Sagaing, Mandalay ending with an ice cream at Icecream Nylon.

Dinner next to the wall, and getting ready to fly to Bangkok next day.

Day 16. Flight to Bangkok and bus to Trat

Transit Day ... Flight to Bangkok Don Muang Airport (DMK), and from there a bus to go to the bus station Chatuchak Bangkok Bus Terminal to wait for the bus to take us 5 hours to Trat.

We arrive late, we find a place to stay and eat something….

Days 17, 18 and 19. Ko Chang. Relax, Jungle

After breakfast and after a walk through the market, we look for the ferry to take us to the island Koh Chang (Elephant Island). We thought  of various destinations near Bangkok to relax, and we decided on Koh Chang. We took an offer of accommodation in Penny's Resort through Agoda.com. Two people with breakfast for 30 € / night. ... and relax.

The next day we take a walk through the jungle with a tour. We swam in the river, see wildlife, and enjoy the vegetation that we found so lacking in Myanmar.

Next day we rent a Motorbike and we go arround the island… Manglars, fishing villages, coconut juice,...

And more relax.

Day 21, 22 and 23. Bangkok

After breakfast we go to  the ferry, and from there (after some time not knowing what to do) we take a bus to Bangkok. We booked Lamphu House . Quiet, economical and practical. We went to dinner down the street, and we do massage time... I do a Thai massage and Tere a foot Massage ... The next day we visited the Chatuchak Weekend Market with bus in the morning and in the afternoon we take the BTS (Skytrain) to go downtown.

We arrange to meet at the Jim Thompson House with Raditsachon a Tere's friend from whem she was in the UK ...   We visit the Jim Thompson House , worth to see how traditional asian buildings were.

After we go to the BSK one of the biggest shopping centers in Bangkok, and then to China Town for dinner. The atmosphere that exist in the streets of China Town is spectacular! food too!

The next day we visit the the Royal Palace and Wat Rakhangkhositraram. We go to dinner and drink something with Raditshachon.

We hire transportation for the next day and sleep tired ... eaarly. The returns are always long ... We always would like to stay ... Tarragona is waiting.

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