Mandalay to Hsipaw

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December 24th 2006
Published: December 24th 2006
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Passengers getting on the train.
On Dec 20, 2006, we arranged for a trishaw to take us to the train station, in the wee hours of the morning. We boarded the train at the Mandalay to Hispaw, riding first class. This means there are padded, but non-reclinable seats. The train reminded me of the one I rode in Hong Kong when I was a young child, very noisy and slow.

The train ride took 11 hours, to cover 200 KM. Hsipaw is north east of Mandalay.

Throughout the train ride, there were about 10 stops. Sometimes the train stop for a few minutes, and at other times for up to 45 minutes. At the bigger stops, there will be vendors selling food, water and drinks. They sell water by the cup, meaning you will be poured a cup of water into a cup that everyone drinks from. Some vendors are very young, as young as 5 years old, yelling what they sell in a very musical way.

The highlight of the train is that it passed over the Goteik Viaduct, which is a raised bridge.
Scroll down to see a picture of the Goteik Viaduct.

Supposedly no photographs are allowed
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Children selling sugar canes and water.
but Gary managed to take a few.

At another major stop (Kyaukme), a Chinese Burmese young man approached us and invited us to visit his town (which we did two days later, will post about this trip).

We arrived in Hsipaw at 6 pm, which is pretty dark. Fortunately, we have pre-arranged with the guesthouse and they send a staff member to meet us and took us to the guesthouse.

Hsipaw is pretty high in altitude (about 1000 meters) and the temperature is pretty cold (about 6 degree celcius in the mornings).

On Dec 21, we explored the town on Hsipaw. We wanted to go a waterfall and the Shan Palace.

To go to the waterfall, we passed by a Chinese cemetery and were amazed at the size of the Chinese community here. Many graves were nicely made, some with impressive poetry and some with delicate stone carvings.

We will also need to cross some rice paddies, but we decided not to do so, although we can see the waterfall from afar.

Next we head on to see a Shan Palace. "Shan" is a Thai tribe. One of their prince built a residence,
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A child helps her mother selling dates.
now referred to the Shan Palace. The prince disappeared, believed to be held under Burmese government custody. Unfortunately, the Shan Palace is now closed.

Just outside the Shan Palace, we met an Irish lady named Ann. We enjoyed Ann's company and bumped into her throughout our travels.

Additional photos below
Photos: 19, Displayed: 19


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The scenery is quite nice. The train is zigzaging up the mountain.
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First class. But my bum still hurts after 11 hours.
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This little girl sells water with that plastic jug. She was all smiles when I give her a piece of bread. A minute later she was sobbing because a dog snatched half of her bread.
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When the train leaves the station, this beautiful girl winks at me to thank me for the bread.
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"Joy". His father is Chinese, his mother is Shan.
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Walk about town in Hsipaw. Inside a market.
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The graves of a husband and a wife. The wife died of breast cancer at the age of 57. Their story was inscribed in stone.
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A very touching poem by the hushand.
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We tried to trek to the waterfall but could not find the way.
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This was a nice lunch for only US$1.
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The locked up Shan Palace.
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These children were so happy just to pose in front of the camera.

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