One of the most beautiful places for treks is in Namhsan. First of all, it isn’t that easy to get here so there are very few footsteps that you’ll be following in unless it is the footsteps of the flipflops of the locals that use that particular path. The mountains around Namhsan can measure up to 2000 meters. And the area is dotted with Shan and Shwe (golden) Palaung villages.
We went with Tun Tun our guide with whom we arranged to go to Namhsan. He took us to his village where we spend our first night. The second night we were back in Nahmsan since we had to get back unfortunately. Besides, you have to stay at least one night in Namhsan apparently because of government rules. Anyways, the stay with his family was absolutely fantastic. They were the friendliest people I’ve met in Burma. And during the day, Tun Tun showed us the tea, the tea factories and so on. Then of course the hike down the mountain and back up towards Namhsan to conclude the day.
Other, more easily accessible trekking areas are Kyaukme, Hsipaw, Kalaw and around Inle lake. You can make a 2 or 3 day trek from Kalaw to Inle lake (downhill). And I heard that it is possible to hike the old road from Namhsan to Kyaukme, something I want to do someday soon.
Bikepacking! Or in my case bike & bus. Yes, it can sound daunting, trust me, but then travelling Myanmar isn't much less daunting by other overland modes anyway! Hahahaha
It's difficult to plan a trip to Myanmar, with many uncertainties, from how much money to bring(the yo-yo freemarket exchange) to debates on currently off limits places & not. With not too detailed maps, places which have guest houses licensed to take foreigners is a concern too. All in all, in my opinion that is, is to have a rough plan & play it by ear once you arrive & prepare yourself for an adventure of a life time! The Myanmese, being the most helpful & kind lot that they are certainly make things a lot easier.
Alternatively, if you have the cash, is to hire a pickup truck with driver cum guide as a support vehicle to follow you around as you cycle. This of course may diminish the sense of adventure somewhat, but it's really up to you.
Things to look forward to are invitations to tea; waves of goodbye & greetings of hello as you pass the people in the countryside; mind blowing scenery that you can take in at your own sweet time; small but interesting towns & villages that your bus just passes by; flexibility of schedules & reschedules; chatting to locals; in certain places probably a middle ground between walking(seeing less) & motorised transport(seeing in a blur); opportunity to explore around off the beaten track enroute...
It won't be without it's setbacks. You pay 1& half the price for your bus fare; a bit more time may be needed in securing a bus service that has the space to accomodate you & your bike which otherwise wouldn't be a problem; hot spots can be far in between & road conditions quite frustrating; the weather which can get terribly hot & unforgiving...
Equipment: Fast drying clothes; standard bike repair kit + essential spare parts; good set of panniers; your least favourite bike, preferably of steel or chromoly; mountain bike tyres or semi slick at 1.95 or slick but at the very least a 1.6, I would go for mountain bike tyres the next time round so that I can do a bit of offroading too!; rain gear, two ply if you want to go up into the higher regions as it can also act as a piece of warm clothig; sufficient water as much as you can buy enroute..
The idea is to travel light so you won't end up lugging your 'house' with you across Myanmar! hahahaha
A little note on tyres is to bring ones that use a thicker diameter tube that doesn't require you to pump it up to 90psi to work at it's optimum. We made the terrible mistake of using 1.15 slicks which use 1.0 tubes at the insistence of a dear friend. The dear friend paid dearly with 2 tyre sidewall rips thus ended up with a no ride & the missed opportunity of riding the Gokteik Gorge for the rest of us! (if you're reading this, yes this is going to haunt you for the rest of your life! hahahaha). Bicycle shops that sell tubes & stuff don't do tyre repairs & the tyre repair shops don't sell tubes & stuff. SO don't jump for joy if you see either one without the other if a patch is more than what you need. Have a great time, honestly! The pro's far surpass the con's...
If you chose to travel with M.R. you will soon get used to the idea that the train will stop for no apparent reason, sometimes for over an hour and often in the middle of nowhere !! Don't worry as this is all part of the Fun !! and Strategically placed volleyball nets will ensure that a game is soon under way !! It's up to you whether you join in or just sit back, relax and enjoy the entertainment !!!!
Once a year, a Burmese kickboxing champ and a Thai kickboxing champ fight it out. They fight muey thai style, which uses the elbows, knees, shins, and hands as the primarly weapons.
Equipment: For this fight, they dont use any gloves, and it goes until one fighter is knocked out or quits. They wrap their hands in leather straps for extra "snap".
I can not recommend someone to come to Burma for doing sports. It's all about culture, architecture, religion and landscapes. All modern sports would also destroy this wonderful place and has nothing to do with eco-tourism.
There are so many rivers and ponds to fish in and the gear is cheap so why not partake?!
Equipment: A cheap fishing pole and lure bought either on the Thai side of the border or in Myanmar.
Kandawgyi Palace hotel is located on the shore of Royal Lake. I hope these pics will help you to...more
Myat Lay Road, New Bagan, Bagan, Myanmar
Good for: Couples
Great hotel, arguably our favorite in Myanmar. You can tell the owners put a lot of thought into...more
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