Trip Start Oct 05, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Myanmar  ,
Monday, January 21, 2013

On the bumpy ride over to Hsipaw we met a girl from New York, Alison and a Canadian girl, Jane. We ended up getting on well and going for dinner that night.

We stayed at Mr Charles guesthouse and although the rooms were pretty basic had the best showers in the whole of Asia. It's also famous for being the best place to do treks with.

The next day us and the girls hired bikes and cycled around the town and nearby villages. There were hardly any tourists around but like everywhere else in Burma so far, everyone was friendly and really welcoming. We went to the Shan palace where the daughter of a Shan leader lived. She welcomed us in and told us all about her life history and how her husband was arrested for being a Shan leader. Luckily, now he is free! It was really interesting and encouraged us to do some more reading into the history of the country.

We then visited a 'cheroot factory', which at first we couldn't find because it was just a little house in a small village. One of the women in the village pointed out which was the right house when we mimed cigarette rolling to her! We went into, what was essentially a living room, with a lady in the corner rolling cheroots lightening fast. We tried a few and had a go at rolling... harder than it looked! 

On the way back to the hostel we passed some kids playing in a field, we had a frisbee that we had bought in Thailand in our bag, so started up a game, and before we knew it loads of the kids from the villages were running over to join in. It was great and they were so excited to have a new game! We got back to our hostel and decided to do the more hardcore trek, three whole days with the girls and a friend they'd met earlier on their travels Johnny, a real character also from New York and an older bloke, Ron, who was pretty strange but provided us with laughs, even if they were at his expense!

The trek was great and we were so pleased we'd decided to do the three day one. Our guide Aung San (named after the great leader and the father of Aung San Sui Kyi), was only 19 and the first night we stayed at his families house in a small Palaung village in the hills. During the day we walked through rice paddies and tea plantations and the scenery was beautiful. It got pretty steep at times and was challenging in the heat of the day! We visited a school where Ron had brought lots of notebooks for the kids who were pleased. We bought soaps and washing powder and essentials to donate to villagers. 

The evening we sat up drinking and chatting by a fire to keep warm as it was freezing, often watched by the bemused villagers. Some of the villagers had never seen foreigners before. We passed a house with a television and about 50 villagers were crammed inside watching... they'd only had water and electricity for a year so TV is still pretty exciting!

The second nights sleep was not as comfortable due to the cold. There was not enough blankets and no fire so we spent most of the night awake and were all happy to be heading back on the final day. On the way back to the hostel we stopped by some hot springs which warmed us all up!

The trek was great and had really got on with Johnny and the girls despite them never shutting up, so we decided to change our route and head to Inle lake with them next.

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Rachel on

Blog's looking great girls, makes a fascinating read seems like a world away! Some really beautiful pictures too, and you both look really happy and healthy. Sending my love!! xxx

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