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Mandalay to Pyin Oo Lwin and the Kandawgyi Gardens

Happy Mothers Day mums. We love you loads xxx

sunny 35 °C
View Southeast asia on Chelsandliam's travel map.

Friday and Saturday have been a total write-off. Chelsea was really sick on Friday. We had planned to do some sightseeing of Mandalay and its ancient cities but she was too unwell so we stayed in the hot, dim hotel room all day. The fans kept going off as power cuts in Myanmar, especially in Mandalay happen several times a day. By Saturday morning Chelsea was feeling better but Liam had got a lot worse. Chelsea went to breakfast alone as she had not eaten for a full day and Liam stayed in bed. We had planned to get a shared pickup truck to Pyin Oo Lwin on Saturday morning for 1500Ks each but Liam was too fragile for the back of a pickup. We waited a few hours and then Chelsea arranged a car to take us for 7000Ks. The pickup takes 3 hours but in the car it only takes 2 and we assumed it would be more comfortable and Liam could just go to sleep in the ack. We assumed wrong. 

When we got in there was us two in the back and another man in the front. After only a few minutes it was clear the man wasn't going to be on his way until the car was totally full so he drove around the city, beeping his horn for half an hour until he had another passenger. The back was really cramped and hot and the journey would otherwise have been fine but our driver was a total maniac. He hung out of the window shouting at people, drove crazy fast up the mountains and didn't slow down on corners with no barriers. He had to stop regularly to hose down his engine to stop it from overheating and he picked up things from people on the way, apparently our car was also a currier service.  Thankfully that got us there quicker but the journey was extremely nerve-racking. It is safe to say it didn't help Liams churning stomach and he was on the verge of vomiting the whole way. 

When we got to Pyin Oo Lwin thankfully our hotel owner came rushing out to welcome us, remembering our names from the phone call we made a few days ago to book. Our bags were whipped off us and he immediately showed us to our room, stating we can fill in the forms and pay later. We are staying at Bravo hotel for thirty dollars a night and the place is beautiful. The rooms have their own bathroom with hot shower and your own toiletries, even a new toothbrush and toothpaste are provided. The rooms have air conditioning, a TV, a fridge stocked with drinks, and are decorated beautifully. A big double bed with fluffy pillows and even throw cushions. It is the best place by a long way we have stayed in and extremely welcoming, just what we needed after being ill. We settled in and Liam went to bed with a temperature. Chelsea filled in the paperwork and payed and we spend the rest of the day relaxing in our lovely room. Liam was really ill so slept all day, Chelsea went out for a few supplies but we basically stayed in the room all of Saturday recooperating. 

Thankfully today Liam has got a lot better. If he had not improved by this morning we were ready to leave Myanmar for Bangkok hospital as we were scared of his temperature. We went for breakfast and decided to visit the Kandawgyi Gardens. We hired some bicycles from the town and set off on our way. We took it steady as Liam was still a little off. It is not very far and you cycle along small roads past big colonial mansions that have mostly now been turned into nice hotels. There are lots of nurseries on the way and the temperature here is really pleasant. Nice and warm but manageable and breezy. A lovely hill station full of friendly people smiling and waving as we cycled past.

The gardens is five dollars for foreigners to visit. We thought this was a little expensive but it is hundred percent worth it. The place is beautiful.  It is really big and we spent the whole day there. We walked around the lake, explored all the gardens and sat in the sun watching the swans and the families. There is a military base near so the gardens was full of families visiting their relatives in the military, having picnics and sitting under trees chatting. There are lots of beautiful gardens, a rock garden, an orchid garden, a bamboo plantation, a swamp walk and an orchard. There are formal planted gardens and more informal grassy areas you can sit and relax next to the lake as well as a butterfly museum. We really enjoyed walking around, especially through the giant bamboo forrest. The highlight however was the walk in aviary

It is a huge area with a raised wooden walkway. After five minutes Chelsea dropped her sunglasses down off the walkway into the exhibit and Liam managed to hook them back up with her bag strap. A nice staff member came to help. Inside were some beautiful birds and he was hand feeding great hornbills. They were huge and amazing. We were really excited and went over to watch and he invited us to help him. We both helped him hand feed the giant hornbills. At first we were a little scared as they have huge beaks that look like they can do damage but they were incredibly gentle taking the fruit right out of our fingers. It was absolutely amazing and we loved it.  The nice young man who let us feed them seemed to be happy we had enjoyed it so much and he kept laughing at us. It was a lovely experience. 


After this we carried on our walk and visited an elevated wooden walkway that goes through the trees. Whilst walking along we saw wild gibbons. They were huge and were eating strawberries that people had left on the banister. They swung through the trees with their huge, long arms and we stood and watched them for ages. 

We walked around for hours, enjoying the nice weather and the peaceful surroundings. Lots of people stared at us and took pictures of us. They waved at us and smiled and said hello and one lady came over and asked if she could pose with Chelsea for a photo. It was really funny and a little strange for people to be so intrigued. Along our travels through Myanmar we have noticed that many people are interested in western people but this was another level. We can only assume that lots of them had never seen western people before. 

For the rest of the day we sat in the cafe in the gardens admiring the view of the gardens and lake. It was lovely. We had an iced mocha drink and sat for over an hour and half relaxing and people watching. Many people took photos of us just sat there and we just smiled and said hello. 


Spending the day at the gardens made a refreshing change to sightseeing. As much as we love seeing the sights of towns spending the day outside walking around such a beautiful place at a slow pace was gorgeous. There was no traffic, no noise and no pollution. It reminded us of gardens back home.

It was after 3pm when we made the journey back into town and we dropped the bikes off and went to explore. The town is small but quite busy and reminds us a little of a wild west film. Lots of the buildings are really old colonial wooden structures, fading in their former glory in a charming way. Their are horse and carts everywhere with old fashioned style carts like Cinderella's. We explored the streets and then went to the market for a walk around. It is a lot bigger than it looks. The outside area is full of fresh produce, fruit, veg, fish and meat. It was late in the day and lots of the food was covered in flies, it made us consider becoming vegetarian whilst in Myanmar, especially after our dose of sickness the past few days. The inside market area is like Aladdin's cave. Crammed full of stalls, each stall full to burst with everything you could possibly need, fabric, toiletries, hardware, clothes, cookware, woollens, spices, confectionary, shoes, basically anything and everything you could want. 

We wandered around aimlessness and came back to our hotel for a shower. We called our next guest house to make a reservation and enquired about the time of the train we need tomorrow. The reception here is really helpful and friendly, it is most defiantly our favourite hotel in Myanmar. 

Liam's stomach could not face anything but plain old western food tonight so we went to the only place in town advertising western food, a take away place. We both had a burger and shared some fries and enjoyed a delicious home made lemon iced tea.  We are extremely excited tomorrow for our train journey over the viaduct. 

Posted by Chelsandliam 21:21 Archived in Myanmar Tagged myanmar lwin oo pyin

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Hi you two. Your journey to Pyin Oo Lwin sounded really horrific, so sorry to here you have been ill xxx. Its a good job you are in a nice guest house to recover. Your day in the gardens sounds lovely and relaxing (could do with a spot of that) lol
Love and hugs
xxxxxxxxx mum & dad xxxxxxxxxx

by Bev

So sorry you have both been ill but think you have been lucky not to have had any tummy upsets before.The gardens look super it must have been a refreshing change spending time there,glad your digs are good you deserve it.The photos are good .Lots of love Nan and Granddad xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

by Nan and Granddad

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