Hsipaw is a town mostly know because of it’s treks and wonderful natural scenery. Exploring Hsipaw is not possible sometimes as you will find this place closed for tourists, so be updated before planning to go. Also, going with rain is a stupid idea and better not to go anyway.
The peaceful town of Hsipaw is in Shan state. The Shan state is one of the states with conflicts between the Burmese and Shan people. Yes, not everyone in Myanmar is Burmese. This means that sometimes there are conflicts going on, but don’t worry because in that case they will close the area for foreigners and you will not be allowed to get in. That’s why you can feel safe in the country, but please obey the rules, if they tell you it is not safe, you just don’t go. It is not that they will shoot you, but stepping landmines is actually a risk that you certainly don’t want to take.
The next day after my arrival was raining in Hsipaw, which sucks cause trekking under the rain is not safe or cool, or fun, or it might be but only after you finish the trek and can laugh about it. So, I decided that I’ll be exploring Hsipaw by bicycle in the afternoon when the rain was gone and the weather forecast was nicer.
I rented a bicycle at my guesthouse it is cheap but I don’t remember how much- and cycled around the small town that doesn’t have much to do or see in the center. However, there are some places you can go and enjoy the scenery along the way and the traditional way of living here. This is not a town made for tourists, so you can feel part of the Shan way of life and see locals doing their normal lives. My first stop was a temple just next to some crops and a great view. The temple is small and only later I noticed that the most interesting part of it was seeing how a huge tree took advantage of it and apparently destroyed it once the roots grew bigger. Worth a visit? Not really, but you can go behind and check the view of the farms just next to it. That was the nicest part of exploring Hsipaw city.
Probably the most interesting thing to see is what they call little Bagan. Well, I would call it extremely little Bagan as there are not more than a dozen temples in the area. Even A Myint ancient city was much better than that and doesn’t have the name. Obviously nobody cares about those temples that are invaded by trees, plants, and mother nature is doing a great job there. But, actually, those are the type of temples that I like the most. They are mystical, charming, and extremely good looking pieces of architecture and design that I will never get tired of observing. The temples are in between the villager’s houses, but they don’t mind you are around. They know why you are there. You can greet them as you are exploring Hsipaw by bicycle because clearly this is not a place that has been visited by many white people.
Another nice place to enjoy the view while having lunch, or a snack during the day time, is River View Food Lounge also known as The Club Terrace, which is just next to the river and has a great river view. Totally recommend.
As the mentioned places don’t take much of your time, I cycled around the city park, which is not interesting at all, and also tried to reach a viewpoint that I ended up not reaching, but the view of the surrounding mountains was pretty cool. There was a bridge to go further and probably have a better view, but the bridge consisted of a log, not that large for me to decide to venture to step on it. The next day I will start the trek and will be praying not to rain.