So, this time I’m heading from Mandalay to Hsipaw by bus.

Getting from Mandalay to Hsipaw

It is on my wish list the magnificent train from Mandalay to Hsipaw, but instead, I will do it the other way around, from Hsipaw to Pyin OO Lwin. So, this time I’m heading from Mandalay to Hsipaw by bus.

I actually tried my way from Mandalay to Hsipaw by train, but I learned at the train station that the train leaves Mandalay at 4 am. Again, a train schedule that doesn’t please me as that would mean waking up the latest at 3 am and not enjoy the ride as much- my brain would not allow it. I also tried to find more about trains to Kachin state, more exactly to Indawgyi lake and that would mean leaving in Hopin, the closest train station. Well, this train journey would be more than 6 hours and there is only available the option of ordinary class. Plus, the train departs at 4 pm, which means sleeping on the train in ordinary class. I have done other train journeys in ordinary class, and maybe I’m not that adventurous as I don’t find it a good idea to do this train ride. Sleeping on ordinary class would be so uncomfortable and cold… Maybe if I had a travel partner I would do it, but I didn’t feel like it would be such a great experience…

After checking at Ostello Bello how to get to the Indawgyi lake by bus, they told me I can’t go alone. To this area, I must go with a local… I tried other places on the way like Bhamo or Katha and the answer was the same. Not safe for me to go there. At that time I was frustrated cause I can never go to other places rather than Bagan, Yangon, Inle, and Mandalay in an easy way. At that time I was pissed, but now, after volunteering in Mu Aye Pu and knowing much more about Myanmar’s current situation and history, I totally get it and I’m actually happy that they interdict those areas for foreigners. This area I am mentioning is part of the Kachin state. A place with current conflicts going on, and that’s why tourists are not allowed to go on their own.

One tourist with the stupid idea of going to restricted areas with a previous warning dared to go on his own by motorbike around Hsipaw and died. He stepped on a landmine. So, learn something before breaking the rules here, you might be heading to dead. There are too many places with landmines in Myanmar, but tourists don’t know about it…

So, this time I’m heading from Mandalay to Hsipaw by bus.

If you feel like learning more about the country and why is it so difficult to move out of the most popular tourist destinations, read the article about how Myanmar works. I learned it all from a German woman once married to a Myanmar soldier, while volunteering in Myanmar.

There is only one daily bus from Mandalay to Hsipaw. It is at 1 pm, costs 8000 kyats, and takes 5 to 6 hours to reach the destination. Be prepared to see the bridge along the way a little before sunset time. I didn’t know that we would be able to see the Gokteik viaduct from the bus. That simple fact makes the journey very pleasant to the eye. The view along the way is majestic as you are entering into the mountains. The journey is slow as usual in Myanmar because at some point there is only street available for 1 vehicle at a time, and here there is a huge flow of long loaded trucks. You will see a long line of trucks waiting for their turn to proceed. You are also on that line…

Finally, the bus arrives Hsipaw at about 7 pm, just in time to check-in, have some dinner and sleep. There is nothing to do here in the night and the streets are damn dark. No public light, no walks in the night.

You can buy bus tickets within Myanmar HERE!

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