14 December 2014

Travelling Gypsy Life Entry 35

After a fair few months of not writing anything on my blog I thought it about time I update my average of five readers on what I’ve been up to (even though my mum is already aware by email…) The summer was highly uneventful, therefore I left my blog be as all I did was work at a pub and a restaurant, go running, watch a lot of TV, drink tea with my sister and plan my next gypsy life.

Therefore, Welcome to travelling gypsy life chapter 4!

Liz and I met about three weeks to carry out a South-East Asian backpacking trip, then my plan is to join her in Australia and perhaps get a working holiday visa. So far on our trip we’ve completed a sixteen day stint in Myanmar which is where I begin this post...I first arrived on Monday the 24th of November. Even though November/December is Myanmar’s coldest season, I was still sweating like a bitch. Liz and I met in Yangon which is the previous capital of the country, and the main entrance and exit point for the country. Yangon itself was a bit of a disappointment and I could say that you could even fly in and travel straight back out. A very busy city with a lot of street sellers and not a great deal to do for tourists. However, Liz and I got to couchsurf there which was really good and our host was a fantastic person to meet! Plus his apartment was huge.

After Yangon we took a night bus to Bagan. We missed the night bus but our taxi driver literally flagged it down on the duel carriage way and we got on successfully! We didn’t ask the guy to do this but it is in the Burmese’s people good nature to help you as much as possible, and the guy was highly confused when we gave him a tip. Bagan was a beautiful place and mirrors the same awes of Angkor Wat. A lot of pagodas and temples to see which are very popular during sunrise and sunset. We hired bikes for the day and cycled to capture sunrise and sunset and to travel around for the day. Bagan is quite touristy (well touristy for Myanmar) there’s a ton of restaurants and bars and plenty of places to stay.

 After Bagan we caught the bus to Mandalay. I really liked Mandalay and I thought it was a much better city to visit then Yangon. There are a lot of ‘factory’ shops there such as how they make Gold Leaf, how they make and carve Jade, how they make silk scarves and longyis and how they carve wood sculptures and displays. The places were really good and they let you take a ton of pics and ask questions and there was never any pressure to buy anything. Mandalay also has a huge palace which we didn’t bother to go into as palaces and temples in general bore us after a bit, as let’s face it they’re all the same. But we did take a tour around the nearby villages of Amarapura, Sagaing Hill and Innwa, which was okay but not something I’d massively recommend.

The next day we took a local pick-up to Pyin O Lwin. The pick-up was a lot of fun and super cheap and the women on board were amazed by suntan lotion and I think they thought it was some kind of whitening cream as they wondered why we were so pale… Pyin O Lwin was where George Orwell first started in Burma and its more in the mountains so much cooler than the other cities. There were ton of British colonial houses and a really nice botanical garden and waterfall. But it did get pretty chilly at night so much so that I didn’t sleep, there’s just no pleasing me.

After Pyin O Lwin we caught the death railway! Pretty much a railway that goes over Gokteik Viaduct which is crazy skinny and tall. The trains were pretty poor condition compared to the buses but not as cold, as the buses were pumping out their air con to a cold 8°c! Anyway, the train went to His-paw which is a town really good for trekking. We went on a three day/two night trek with a local guide and four French people just a bit older than us. This was a really good experience as the local guide told us tons about Myanmar and all of the local villages and the local village people we stayed with. Plus they only eat vegetarian food, as meat is really expensive, and it was the best but cheapest food we’d had since we arrived in Myanmar. After three days of trekking and being completely filthy, we returned back to His-paw, showered and then got what was supposed to be a 14 hour night bus to Innlay, but they turned out to be 22 hours which no one explained the reasoning behind…

We didn’t have too much time in Innlay but enough to take a boat tour around the huge lake and see the main sights. Innlay is like Bagan in terms of tourism. Plenty of different restaurants and lots of places to stay. We then caught a night bus back to Yangon for our flight out to Thailand. The worst night bus of my life, throwing up every thirty minutes and no idea why. I’d say I felt sorry for the people sat around me but I was too busy feeling sorry for myself. Poor, pale me.

Right now I’m in Koh Tao, Thailand. We landed here last Tuesday and I’d say we’re going to be in Thailand for about a month. We’re a bit too relaxed when it comes to planning, as we don’t really decide where to go next until a day before. I wanted to do a lot of Couchsurfing here but in Myanmar there weren’t really any hosts apart from Yangon, and we did couchsurf there. And in Thailand two days notice doesn’t seem to be enough for most people…
I’ll update you on Thailand later on when I’ve found another bar overlooking the ocean where I can type away. Jealous? Don’t be jealous by how pale and sweaty I am and how heavy my backpack is. Contact lens solution takes up a lot of room…

Peace out homeslices x

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