Golden Rock and Mawlamyine
The golden rock main attraction was a short walk further up from the cable car stop through a street lined with sellers and people. Every now and then you would get a view of the precariously balanced golden rock, which looks like it's ready to topple off the 1100m tall mountain at any moment. I was a bit underwhelmed by the actual rock, I know it's an important Buddhist pilgrimage which males only can place gold leaf upon but I wasn’t feeling it, but the 360-degree views of the Shan mountains more than made up for it. A highlight was the delight and giggles that came from 2 female Buddhist nuns when I allowed them to take a selfie with me.
The only way back down was getting back into our flat bed buses but this time I choose a back seat on the edge so I could see some of the road in front. It was still a white-knuckle ride but I didn't feel as sick now I could see the turns coming.
Next morning we were moving on to Mawlamyine but the train didn't go into midday so we had a lazy morning at the hotel, then back on a bus and train to watch more of this country’s beautiful countryside go by. This train seemed to go through more little villages that are right next to the tracks which enables all the children to run out and wave to the train (I forever called them the railway children after that) ... This is actually little more than an effective begging method as most people throw food and money out of the window for them to collect, they were very cute and it was very handy way for me to clear out the sweets I’d been carrying about for a while but it was heart-breaking not to be able to please all of them, and some looked disgusted to be given sweets not money.
Darkness started to fall and we finally arrived in Mawlamyine, as our motel was only 10mins away, we staggered off with our backpacks on down the hard shoulder of the busy main road, we were staying at Pinnlon Pan Motel, which is a bit out of the way for the main restaurants and markets but is very handy from the station.
Then up pops this older guy on his motorbike and says he and a friend can get us back on their bikes no problem, and so our first motorbike taxi ride takes place and it was actually a lot less scary than I thought.
For dinner we decided to go to another TripAdvisor recommendation along the river but after arriving it looked so sad and empty we decided against it, this was probably where our evening went a little awry.
I'd spotted a very busy Tiger beer bar a short walk back and convinced Paul that if it was that busy it must be good! It started so well with Tiger beer and a picture menu so the language barrier wasn’t as much of an issue, but after our waiter seemed to have problems with Burmese words and pictures we started to have doubts, still I won 2000 K on the Tiger promotion tombola so it was still good.
My food arrived and whilst bland it was exactly as I’d ordered, Paul who had ordered Deep Fried Chicken was given a bowl of soup! We tried to say this wasn't what we ordered but the waiter was adamant that there was chicken in the soup and hence this was deep fried chicken. After about 2 mins of us being a bit confused a different guy comes out of the kitchen with another huge bowl of soup, he places that in front of us then runs off. By this time, I've finished my plate and Paul hasn't eaten a spoonful of either soups so we again explain the situation but this time just ask for the bill and we will go.
Even after showing them the pictures in the menu we couldn't get them to explain what soups we had been delivered or why the fried chicken wasn’t fried, or anything like the picture. We walked all of 10 steps to the bar next door where Paul managed to get the nicest Thai green curry and surprisingly some cocktails before we caught another two motorbike taxis back to the motel.
Link to Golden Rock and Mawlamyine Photos