Sunday, April 28, 2013

Rivers and Roads

Originally written April 27

After spending several days in Mawlamyine, my Swiss travel mate and I decided our next stop would be the small town of Hpa-An, located just a couple of hours north. It seemed wrong to leave SE Asia without having traveled by slow boat, so that's how I decided to get to Hpa-An. It took much longer than a bus would have, but sailing up the Irrawady River proved to not only be scenic but so relaxing that I fell asleep. Twice.

Rolling on the river

Gorgeous scenery

We spent most of the boat ride waving to people on shore

Rachel the Swiss!

Countless boats and pagodas

Upon arriving in Hpa-An we quickly realized that while it was pleasant enough, the town itself didn't seem to have much to offer in terms of things to see and do. The countryside surrounding it, however, turned out to be quite impressive as Rachel and I discovered when we hired a tuk-tuk the following day.

Our first stop was Kyauk Kan Latt, an oddly-shaped karst rock upon which a small pagoda was built. I've seen a lot of pagodas but none quite like this one!

Pretty unique as far as pagodas go

Fantastic views of surrounding mountains

Adorable young monks

A cheeky chicken

Next, we stopped in a park scattered with 1,121 Buddha statues. Suffice to say it was the most Buddhas I had ever seen at once - and that's really saying something for SE Asia!

Our last stop of the day was at a swimming hole, where hoards of locals were enjoying what for them was probably a warm summer's day (whereas I was trying not to get heatstroke). The water looked a tad iffy so we decided not to swim but we took some pictures of the local kids jumping into the water.

Climbing up the mini-pagoda

Rachel showing the boys their photos

Best of friends

The last couple of days haven't been anything crazy or exciting but that's exactly what has made them so enjoyable.

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