Myanmar: Mawlamyine & Hpa An
After our epic train trip to Mawlamyine sharing the train car with two mices (tiny but still…), we spent two days exploring the area on a motorbike. First of all with the masterpiece of the city, the Kyaik ka lat pagoda which shares some similarities to Yangon Shwedagon’s. Close to Mawlamyine is the biggest reclined buddha in the world… but it doesn’t mean the most beautiful, at least to our taste. The landscapes around Mawlyiamine are quite beautiful with the hills nesting thousands golden stupas and small sacred sites that we climbed, alone and barefeet. Then we took a small boat for 3 hours with 6 fellow travellers to Hpa An. The city didn’t look very interesting but it is true that there is a lot to see around. Again we rented a motorbike for our entire stay to be able to go back and forth easily.
Hpa An, in the middle of flash green and flooded rice fields surrounded by caves and karst formation, is not on the usual Myanmar tourist trail (for now). People who stop here are mostly either on their way to/or coming from Thailand.
So long Myanmar! We had a great time and will never forget all the smiles and the kindness of the Myanmar people.
Sa-wa-dee-kaaa (Hello) Thailand!
After a 3h car ride to the border and a few stamps in our passports, Thailand here we are!
First stop, Mae Sot in the North West. We took the option to stay close to the border having heard that all buses would be gone by the time we arrive.
We must confess, we didn’t know much where to go after Mae Sot. We finally decided to go to Bangkok and spend a week in an AirBnB studio to come back to some kind of normal life, e.g. prepare the breakfast and/or the dinner and not have to do/undo/redo our backpacks for a while.
we did specifically enjoy
- Mawlamyine: the train trip from Yangon, the landscapes were stunning, rice paddies, pagodas and the vertiginuous bridges along the way. The Kyaik Than Lan Pagoda on top of the hill, perfect stop (another one!) for sunset. The tiny Kyauktalon Taung pagoda, from the summit the views over the surrounding countryside are stupendous.
- Hpa An: the Saddan cave and the Kyauk Ka Lat pagoda on a rock.
- Mawlamyine: the perfect Cinderella Hotel. Slightly more expensive than our budget usually permits, we totally enjoyed it. The room was large with a seating area, tea and biscuits replenished everyday. The staff is lovely and, cherry on the cake, there is a huge and delicious breakfast with a different Myanmar dish each morning.
- The cities we visited in our last days in Myanmar are not really touristic and the infrastructure is quite basic. We mainly ate in the street or in tiny restaurants on the road on our way back after a long day of exploring. Nothing to specifically mention here apart that you shouldn’t be scared to have your meals in cheap eats!