Pontoon is the greatest new addition to Hsipaw. While I'm a huge fan of immersing oneself in cultures that one travels to, I have my weaknesses, and at the top of that list is espresso. After living in Burma for over a year, I visited Pontoon and got the best hit of espresso and muffins I've ever had in the eastern hemisphere. Maureen is the cafe's refreshingly conversive and very informative proprietor. She used to run the Black House Coffee shop, which is now practically defunct due to its current owner's negligence and lack of business acumen. Her new place is lovely as it can be in a beautiful teak house with a pleasant garden out back, a big, shiny new espresso machine and great muffins made by her lovely, local ladies who are sweet and helpful to boot. Do give this place a visit when you're in Hsipaw. It's on Pontoon Street on the right, leaving the main street and walking toward the river, where you can rent a boat for a few hours.
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