Pyin U Lwin is all about rest and relaxation. On my 6th day journey through Myanmar, I decided that it was the perfect day to turn-off the alarm clock and stay tucked under the sheets a bit longer than usual. Letting the cool climate dictate when I should be up and about. But that plan partly failed as I was already up by 7am. Good thing I was excited to explore Pyin U Lwin, a town which is still part of Mandalay Division is characterized by its strong British influence found almost 3500ft above sea level at the Shan State Highlands.
“Why am I hiking when I had little sleep?” were my thoughts as we descend a steep dirt trail. We were headed to Anisakan Falls, one of the sites in my list of places to visit in Pyin U Lwin. But what was most bewildering are the 3 girls joining the hike aside from my motorbike driver that I hired. I don’t remember hiring guides or porters at that little shop at the trail jump-off earlier.
From the warm and earthly environs of Bagan, Pyin U Lwin was a pleasant change. As soon as I got out of the train station, I hired and hopped on a motorbike to take me to my first choice of accommodation. Immediately the cool air, the sight of pine trees and the British-influenced neighbourhood reinvigorated my spirit. It was until it worried me that a lot of accommodations are fully booked. Dahlia hotel was fully booked and the also the nearby areas. I was worried for a while but it was a blessing in disguise as I wound up staying in Grace Hotel 1.
I thought the train was finally moving after at least an hour of waiting, but it was just my consciousness, slipping and sliding in two worlds. My reality blurred from fatigue and lack of sleep as I lean on the side of an open train window in the cart, oblivious of the passing crowd and vendors at the station. I am going to Pyin U Lwin (pyuu-lin), a cool scenic hill town, east of Mandalay, straight from an almost 8 hour overnight bus journey from Bagan. But I was awake the full day before and the bus ride didn’t offer a chance to sleep. It was already 15 minutes past 6am when the train finally rolled on the tracks. That’s already 2 hours late from its original time of departure. But I was just relieved the 4-hour train journey had started.