Mr. JoJo will mostly welcome you in the bus station or train station and introduce himself "hi, welcome to Hsipaw, I am frm Mr. Charles guesthouse.'
Based on the reputation, you will most probably stay here (as the 2 other guesthouses are nearer to the main road with more traffic). The stay was good. I stayed 5 days at Hsipaw, most of the time doing nothing.
The room in the old building is 4dollar per night, near to the lounge which may get noisier if there are more guests; and also near to the tuition center, which you make wake up by the students reading out the content of the text book very loudly every early morning.
The sunset at the new building is okie if you dont have chance to visit the sunset hill..
Great breakfast, the omelette has tomato with it :)
OK, forget the name in the title of this tip - everyone knows it as Mr. Charles. If you get lost, or even if you aren't, the locals will all ask you "Mr. Charles?" and set you in the right direction. It's one of those place I am always slightly unsure about. It has reached something approaching iconic status amongst backpackers, and deservedly so - it's a wonderful place to stay. I'm just slightly concerned that the other places in town (there aren't too many), or any new ventures will never have a chance to compete against it. I have seen the phenomenon elsewhere as well.
As for the accomodation itself, well, it is excellent. If you're on a tight budget, there are very cheap rooms with shared facilities. I took a look at the facilities, which were spotless and modern. Not being too financially constrained, I took a room in the new annexe at the rear of the complex, and you can judge for yourselves from the photos. I thought it was good value. As elsewhere in Myanmar, power is sketchy and, although they do have a generator, it sometimes goes down at night so a torch is essential. I found this only added to the charm of the place somehow - elsewhere I'd have been livid. By the way, candles are provided.
The staff couldn't bee more helpful. When I arrived (without a reservation) I was shown a choice of three different rooms at varying prices - no thought of trying to foist the most expensive on me, which was a big plus right away. They are also knowledgeable in regard to local activities. Mr. Charles drew me a map by hand when I expressed a desire to go hiking by myself (I'm not really one for organised groups) which proved to be spot on. It is also really easy to organise transport from the hotel - they reserved me my train ticket back to Mandalay for nothing. If you're going that way, it's only a ten minute walk to the station.
There's also plenty of hot water at all times which is a bonus in the hills as it can get a bit chilly in the evening. Breakfast is included, although I never quite managed to make it.
This is one of those quintessential backpacker places that travellers will meet up in Berlin, New york or Timbuktoo and talk about - "Oh, you've been to Hsipaw, did you stay at Mr. Charles", that kind of thing. Absolutely totally geared to the independent traveller.
Teakwood Guesthouse, rooms with and without shower and toilet; nice veranda. Mr. Charles offers trips to the villgaes and jungle trekking tours.
Myatyadana Guest House
$3 per person in a double, with fan and attached bath. But the electricity is only on from 6PM to 6AM, so the fan only works between those hours, when there isn't a power outage in the whole town, that is.
A lot of travelers rave about this place. I added Hsipaw to my itinerary after several people in Inle Lake said, 'but you must visit Hsipaw! And stay with Mr. Charles!'
Hsipaw is several hours north of Mandalay, but worth a stop if you are a backpacker looking for the real Myanmar. This is it. See my full travelogue in the Myanmar section for 'Walkabout with Mr. Charles'.
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