April 10, 2013

We Can't Say (Pyin Oo Lwin, Burma)

After our trekking in Kyaukme, we were exhausted. (Read about it here.) We had been hiking over 6 hours a day in hot weather and had restless nights sleeping in the smokey houses of the villagers so we wanted a relaxing place to visit. We decided to go to Pyin Oo Lwin, which used to be a British hill station. They call these places "Hill Stations" because they are at higher elevations and have cooler climates. In colonial times, the Brits would spend time here when it was very hot in the rest of Burma. It turned out to be a nice, cool break for us as well. 

The funniest thing we did while in Pyin Oo Lwin: We had originally booked a room at the Grace II Hotel, which gets decent reviews on Trip Advisor. Our room was $25 and came with breakfast, which was rumored to be the best breakfast in town. However, our room was pretty depressing and, for the price, not a good value. Unfortunately, we had already paid for one night and couldn't get refunded. We found another guesthouse called San Francisco Hotel ($28 and significantly nicer) and knew that we just had to stay there, so we did. So, for our first night in Pyin Oo Lwin, we paid for two rooms, sleeping at San Francisco Hotel, which also included breakfast, though not very good. Our first morning in town, we woke up at San Francisco Hotel and biked over to Grace II for breakfast and to get the rest of our things. Then we biked back to San Francisco and ate ANOTHER free breakfast. When you're backpacking and on a budget, you'll take a free meal any way you can!

There isn't much to see in the town, but it's a nice place to spend a few days walking around and exploring on foot and on bikes. We rented bikes from our guest house and biked to the gardens to spend the day. The gardens are beautiful and there's also a nice bird sanctuary where we spent some time admiring the hornbills and a gorgeous white peacock who spread his wings for us. We grabbed lunch at the restaurant and headed back to town. 

Check out this video we took of the very curious hornbills. The video won't show up in your email feed. You'll need to click here to watch it.

We knew our friends, Dave and Kate from San Francisco, were going to be in Burma at the same time as us, but we weren't planning on seeing them until we arrived in Bagan, so we were happily surprised when we touched base via email and realized they were in Pyin Oo Lwin also (which none of us can say correctly). So, we had dinner with them before we headed off on a bus to Bagan the next day.

Check out all of our pics from Pyin Oo Lwin here. A few more favorites are below.

Check out all of our pics from Pyin Oo Lwin here.

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