One Hell of a Waterfall Route

Trip Start Dec 28, 2011
Trip End Jan 19, 2012

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Where I stayed
Royal Guest House Mandalay
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of Myanmar  ,
Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Feeling Better
Whilst having breakfast with an American and a Canadian traveller, they convinced me that I should check out Anisakhan waterfalls before I leave for Mandalay. Feeling slightly better than yesterday, I thought I should not leave Pyin Oo Lwin empty handed. Checked out of Grace Hotel and left my backpack at Golden Dreams Hotel in town (possibly the a backpacker's worst nightmare - looked impossibly filthy. Any travellers who stayed at this place could leave your feedback below and tell us if it is so) before embarking on a shared pickup to Anisakhan village. The local passengers were pretty amused that a foreigner sat amongst them and kept observing me.

Anisakhan Village
In case I had not mentioned, Pyin Oo Lwin is really a military cadet town with a rather pompous Military Services Academy just directly south of the town. So that's where the burmese junta trains their soldiers to kill their own people. At the village I managed to hike my way to the waterfalls' starting point in 30 mins. At the food stall huts, I hired a guide to take me down to the bottom of the waterfalls. For 2000 kyats, that was a reasonable price to not get lost in the thick jungle. True enough, the trails down were going off in tangents and no signages at all.

Anisakhan Waterfall
As we slowly descended down the treacherous paths, I was quickly aware that the way back up was gogin to be one hell of a climb. At midpoint, there was this tiny stalagmite cave with buddha images lit by neon christmas lights. The closer we got to the falls, the more treacherous the path got. How my guide did it in her flip-flops, I dont know. In addition, she was backpacking this cooler box filled with cans of coke and red bulls to sell to me at the waterfalls.

Once at the waterfalls, I thought it was worth if for the climb back up. The waterfalls looks at least 8-10 storeys high with beautiful cascading walls of water and its mists permeating the air. A broken timber and rope bridge hung across the pool. It would be nice to be able to cross the bridge.

I dreaded this moment when I descended 40 minutes ago - the climb back up. Luckily for me and anyone else, there were various sheltered rest stops dotting the trail. Stopping for breaks every second rest stops definitely helped to break the fatigue. It also helped to break ice with my guide. She doesnt speak much english. When I was resting during one of the breaks, I hand-gestured that I was 34 years old. She politely replied while fanning me down with her bamboo hat "I have one kid!". It was one of those hilarious moments.

So I made it back up completely drenched in sweat. So tired and wore out that I had to motortaxi back out to the main road to catch another shared pickup to Pyin Oo Lwin. It was another speed demon race back to Mandalay in a shared taxi but this time only taking 1.5 hours. Chop chop.

Myanmar Tea & Chapatis
I managed to check in Royal Guesthouse as all other places were full to the brim. Unexpectedly Royal Guesthouse turned out to be quite a comfortable place even with its US$8 economy room with shared bathroom. The girls at the reception were however rather indifferent and devoid of any smiles (except when I pay my money). Went back to ET hotel to say hello to Jol Kar and had him take me to 78 Shopping Centre. 78th Street is where one can reconnect with the modern urban world like shopping for electronics, cosmetics and high fashion. With the numerous chains of cafes and bakeries, you will find alot of trendy young burmese teenagers hanging out.

Back to 81st/24th Street corner for a supper of myanmar tea and sugared chapatis. The owner even recognised me from two nights ago. I looked around and there was no foreigners in sight, so I could be doing something right.
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