Trip Start Oct 05, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Myanmar  ,
Saturday, January 19, 2013

We arrived in Mandalay after a 15 hour bus journey, not having slept too much, despite the valium, at 5.30am! It was freezing! We got ourselves a taxi driver to take us round to find a guesthouse or hotel, but most seemed to be full, or really really grotty. Luckily, after a few tries, we found ET Hotel which had a spare room.

The rooms were basic with shared bathrooms on the roof of the hotel - I loved it. We had a rooftop terrace, a washing line to hang our clothes and hot water!

After a nap for a few hours we headed out to explore the city. We wandered around for a while to get a feel for the place and stopped at a tea shop for a snack and tea. We then went to the gold pounding district which is an area where all the gold leaf that is put onto the Pagodas is made and flattened. Flattening takes hours! We wandered in and out a few peoples houses watching the men hammer away, whilst the women split the flakes up and applied them to red or yellow square bits of card. The gold leaf is then sold for people to apply to the Pagodas - men only unfortunately!

That night we hired ourselves two motorcycle drivers and went to Mandalay Hill for sunset, which is a temple on top of a huge hill just outside the city which gives you great views.

After walking up a fair few steps we stopped to take in the view (and recover a little), when a monk came up to talk to us. The monks in Mandalay, and other areas of Burma, like to talk to the tourists so they can practice their English. He was lovely and we had a really good chat with him. Lizzie met two other monks and taught them some random slang English sayings which they loved. I gave mine a kiss goodbye - which he loved!

We decided that night over dinner at a Chinese restaurant that we would leave for a place north of Mandalay that we'd read about called Hsipaw. This town was supposed to be one of the good places within the country to do trekking and see tribal villages. So... we booked out bus tickets, rang ahead and booked a room at a hotel, and off we went the next day.
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