This is probably the word.
Tucked away in a lush valley beyond majestic mountains you find Hsipaw.
This cute little town is not known by so many, but the ones who travel here go for trekking and boat trips in fantastic surroundings. But equally, in order to drescribe the lure of this charming dwelling in Shan State, you would have to add fresh food, peace of mind and extremely friendly locals who are very happy your curiosity drew you to this relative remote area.
For many years, Hsipaw was only visited by adventurous backpackers who defied impossible infrastructure to immerse themselves in this amazing world of rice paddies and sleepy villages with all their unique handicrafts and unbelievable supersticions.
Today, however, it has gotten much easier to explore the the area, and there is quite a few hotels that offer really good accommodation and service levels – but there is still plenty of room(s) for more basic needs.
One of the largest trubutaries to the grand Ayeyarwaddy River, The Dohtawaddy, snakes its way through Shan State and Hsipaw. In 1986 – after unmatched torrential rains – it took with it bridges and a few human existences, but normally it is really just a wonderful and calming presence here, and it feeds thousands of people while also acting as a highway for goods and people. It is also a fantastic way to reach distant villages on boat trips.
How to get there?
Well, there are a few options, but only one of them comprises as much eye candy as you get when you take the train at least a part of the way.
If you take the train all the way from Mandalay, you have to get on the train at 4 am, which probably perfect for very few.
Therefore, leaving your Mandalay hotel around 05:45 by taxi, and taking this up to the old Colonial hill Station, Pyin Oo Lwin, will give you ample of sleep while you don’t miss out on anything.
From Pyin Oo Lwin train station, the train normally departs at 08:20 am, and after around 3 hours on this bumpy ride, you reach Gotheik Viaduct (see picture), which is a rather breathtaking crossing.
First stop after the viaduct is in the village of Naung Bein, and here the same car that took you up to Pyin Oo Lwin, will take you the rest of the way (less than 90 minutes) to Hsipaw itself.
Alternatively, you can take a local bus or a private taxi all the way – but for most the vast majority of visitors to Hsipaw, the Gotheik Viatuct is an unforgettable must.
Obviously, we are very happy to arrange every single element of this adventure for you.