Stops along the way: Anisakan Falls, Pyin Oo Lwin, Nuangkio and Gokteik Viaduct
Day 1: Mandalay to a village 25km from Pyin Oo Lwin.
We did over 2 days (stayed with a local family) but possible to complete the 95k to Pyin Oo Lwin from Mandalay in one day even with the detour onto the smaller road after main climb.
Distance: 61 km
Road: flat until start of major climb on A3 (red) – horrible due to heavy traffic. Road is two way up the mountains which helps and it’s a very manageable incline despite the overall climb, advise to avoid if you have time via longer rd round though. If you do climb via A3, turn off right onto orange rd after summit for roughly 7km and then left onto small white rd leading north through mountains. This road is excellent and only one major climb, really quiet with nice villages and countryside for stops. Avoid the A3 where if you’re not a fan of trucks!
We stayed with a super friendly family in a village where we were well looked after. Here we all are outside the house in the morning.
Spot the smiling westerners!
Day 2: Village to Pyin Oo Lwin via Anisakan Falls
Road: very good apart from when you turn off to the falls which then becomes pretty bumpy for a couple of km. Good rd but steady incline up towards Pyin Oo Lwin.
The waterfall is well worth the visit despite the long walk down and sweaty track back up. We really enjoyed our swim even though it was freezing!
We ate in one of the cafes at the waterfall entrance and Paddy made a new friend – a tame Raven who seem to take a real liking to him!
Back on the road we reached Pyin Oo Lwin at 3.30. We didn’t do much sight seeing in the town the next morning as we wanted to send some post to the two families we have stayed with over the last few days as a thank you.
Day 3: Pyin Oo Lwin to Nuangkio
Road: 25km of down with some great views of the plateau. Passed Peik Chin Myaung Caves at Wet Wun but we decided we didn’t have enough time to visit. Good road, fairly heavy traffic still.
We ended up camping just outside Nuangkio. We had decided we would take the Mandalay-Lashio train from there in the morning as far as Nawngpeng as this way we would experience the famous Gokteik Viaduct and cut out one of the steeper climbs on our journey to Hsipiaw.
Day 4: Nuangkio – Nawngpeng by train.
Nawngpeng – Hsipaw by bike
Distance by bike: 63km
Tickets were 250 kyat each for the train and we paid 300 for the bike! Here are some views from the train journey gulp!
The road from Nawngpeng to Hsipaw is a really great ride. A really nice incline decent pretty much all the way and good road. This means you don’t have to be constantly on your breaks and we completed the ride in just over 3 hours with stops.
A few trucks but we did the majority of the journey on the top ring, had an average speed of 26km/ph and even overtook some trucks along the way! Note there is a 10km incline at the end leading up to Hsipaw.