Mandalay – Pyin Oo Lwin – Hsibaw
This tour takes you to Colonial hill towns outside Mandalay, towards the Shan Plateau where the climate is cooler. See the old British mansions and gardens. Experience the train passing over the vertiginous Gokteik viaduct and get physically active with soft trekking to typical Shan villages.
After breakfast, drive to Pyin Oo Lwin by private car (67 km/~ 1 hr 30). After check-in at your hotel, visit Pyin Oo Lwin city. Start with the local Market with an abundance of cool climate produce and an immense variety of flowers. Pyin Oo Lwin is often called Pan Myodaw (the city of flowers) as it produces most flowers that every household in Myanmar buys daily as offerings to the family Buddha shrine.
In the afternoon, visit the pleasant Kandawgyi National Garden (Maymyo Botanical Garden). On exhibit, a variety of plants, trees, flowers and animals in a 49 acres natural forest. From there, take a short ride on a colonial style horse-cart to admire some colonial era mansions. Drive to Maha Ant Htoo Kan Tha (a huge marble statue of Buddha) situated at the top of a hillock offering a scenic view over the nearby cultivated valley and refresh yourself in the small and pretty pools at the Pwe Kauk waterfall, a favourite with local folks If time permits, end the day by a quick visit to the Paikchin Myaung Natural cave, filled with hundreds of Buddha statues and impressive stalagmites.
Overnight in Pyin Oo Lwin
Morning departure by train to Naung Pain village (~ 4 hr) passing over the famous Gokteik viaduct. Built over a deep gorge (300m) by Pennsylvania Steel Company on behalf of the British over 100 years ago, it was the second highest railway bridge in the world. The scenic view along the viaduct is breathtaking. Arrive at Naung Pain station and continue by car to Hsibaw, the former royal capital of Northern Shan State.
On the way, visit to the Bawgyo Pagoda before checking-in at hotel. Then take a pleasant stroll through typical Shan villages set among paddy fields.
Overnight in Hsibaw
This morning, visit the Hsibaw local market. Then embark on a relaxing boat trip along the Dohtawaddy River to soak in the gorgeous scenery of the Shan plateau. See orange orchards and sandalwood plantations along the river. On the way back, stop at a Shan village to witness their daily life and traditional ways. Drive back to Hsibaw and continue your visit to some interesting places such as Ton-Sint Nat shrine, the spirit guardian of the town and the ruins of a few small pagodas near an old wooden monastery with a large bamboo Buddha image. Check out how they do produce the famous Shan rice noodles and maybe try a delicious bowl. Towards the end the day, enjoy the sunset at Thein Taung pagoda, on top of a hillock and enjoy panoramic views over the town.
Overnight in Hsipaw.
After breakfast, last moments in town, then depart by car from Hsibaw to Mandalay (210 km/~ 5 hr). Arrive in Mandalay in the afternoon.
End of the Tour!