Myanmar getaway – day 5. Inle Lake (On the Lake)

I know the post is delayed, been caught up in other things to press the post button…

Early day today… wanted to head off to the lake before the sun came up and made everything unbearable.. even on the lake….  a day hire of a traditional boat costs around USD 15-18 depending on the ‘package’ you choose but generally includes the hotspots.. which would be

  • The moving market which changes location every day (5 days a week)
  • The floating gardens
  • Silverwork, weaving, and handicraft villages
  • The Kayan people or the ‘Long-neck’ ladies of Myanmar
  • Jumping cat monastery
  • and general riding around the lake watching the fisherfolk do their thing

Although some locations such as the workshops feel like obvious tourist traps, it seems like its locally and community owned, so if you want to help out the community it might be good to spend a little money there as a little will go a long way.

lunch on the river is a must, its an experience to dock to a restaurant hut on the lake and have a great lunch with a good view and then head off on the boat again.

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The view from our lunch stop… not too shabby

tomorrow, its back to yangon, and heading off early morning back to KL and onwards to Male’.

Related : Myanmar getaway – day 5. Inle Lake (Nyaung Shwe)

https://noodlydoodly.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/myanmar-getaway-day-5-inle-lake-nyaung-shwe/#post-107850007

Myanmar getaway – day 5. Inle Lake (Nyaung Shwe)

Flew in from Bagan today to Heho airport, another small airport, got sorted using the stickers as mentioned in the previous post. few interesting points…

  • boarding passes were un-named, and no seats were allocated. free seating option! this was a first for me at least!
  • AirKBZ 248 we were on does a circuit route Yangon-Bagan-Heho-Yangon…   you are visiting and you want to fly to these destinations might be a good route to take as it helps avoid multiple hops most flights here have. but i’m sure there’s other alternatives.. air KBZ was what we chose.
  • the entrance zone ticket costs USD10  or EUR 10… which isn’t exactly the same exchange rate, but not too far off.. pay with whatever makes you happy.. this ticket is purchased on the way to inle at a checkpoint…

we are staying in Nyaung Shwe, a tiny township north of inle lake, it feels primary like a guest house town with tons of guesthouses/hotels and a bunch of restaurants around… but feels a bit more remote than bagan even..

this time we chose to rent proper bikes and explore…  tip.. get a mountain bike with the gear switching ability, its amazing how useful it is under the changing conditions of the road, you will be glad you did.

the town is small, surrounded by canals of water and paddyfields… which contribute to a great panoramic view. the bike ride was breathtaking as we crossed paddyfields, into tiny villages, and through the bamboo plantations… totally worth the physical effort.

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the rain was unexpected for us at least, bagan was having such a dry and hot weather…. we were unprepared.

but the kindness of the locals was amazing, twice we were stranded in the rain and both times we were invited into the homes of the locals to get out of the rain and they tried to make conversation as much as they could, offered us tea.. to complete strangers from a foriegn land… and to be honest i’ve been seeing this trend everywhere here.. its people are just so friendly and genuinely curious.

Food

food today was interesting. lunch was at a small italian sorta place called the star flower, surprisingly they did have their own wood fired oven for pizzas and fresh basil growing outside. they even showed us their oven with a lot of pride. the pizza’s were good! specially the one with the fresh pesto… and their milkshakes and lassi was pretty darn good too.. creamy and full of flavour.

for dinner we went to another lonely planet recommended local food place called the Lin Htet…  had a mix of local curries and rice with the accompaniments that come along with a traditional meal such as soups, anchovies, pickles etc… kinda reminds me of a thali meal from india.. as far as the concept goes. food is good here and the price is reasonable too.. under USD 3 for a full meal without drinks. looks like the LP recommendation is working, whole bunch of backpackers/foreigners show up here.

Tomorrow is the day for the lake🙂 ..

Related : Day 4 – Bagan :https://noodlydoodly.wordpress.com/2015/05/12/myanmar-getaway-day-4-bagan-exploration/#post-107849973

Myanmar getaway – day 4.Bagan exploration

Managed to get a proper nights sleep… and a good thing too.. a jam packed day… Hotel’s breakfast was pretty darn good. international spread with a few local items thrown in as well.. wasn’t disappointed… i must say lonely planet advice on this hotel (Aye Yar River view hotel) was good but their pricing was way higher than what we got it for… we almost managed to get it half the price than on the lonely planet guide.

grabbed a couple of e-bikes, strange pricing tho… in a 2 seater bike if one rider is there they charge the same as they would do for a 1 seater. but if a passenger is there. the price doubles… oh well.. i guess its for a rider not per bike… we paid USD 8 per rider for 8 hrs.. could have probably got it cheaper if we hunted around but it was more convenient and we get to start our exploration immediately.

as for the pagodas and temples… you really had to be there to understand the beauty of the place.. no photos could really describe it… but its still better than words so here’s a bunch of photos…

This view was surreal..

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The Vast expanse covered with temples and ruins..

Food:

We tried to stick to local food, with a slip up here an there.. but really the local food is very yummy, specially if you like the food around the region.. most seem to be a fusion of thai, indian, and other south and south east asian cuisine… but in a unique way.. not too spicy..  lunch was at a lovely place called black bamboo in Nyaung-U and we drove to new bagan our trusted little e-scooties to have dinner at a hidden little place called sunset garden. would recommend to try the set menu’s there.. seems to offer a better value than picking individual items, if you have a party of 3-4. Both places were on the lonely planet guide… 

Bagan was great! but tomorrow early morning after breakfast we head off to inle lake!

related:

Day 3 – Bagan : https://noodlydoodly.wordpress.com/2015/05/11/myanmar-getaway-day-3-bagan/

Myanmar getaway – day 3.Bagan

Update 1

Another early day. flight to bagan is at 8am, had to leave the hotel at around 6 to make it to the flight.. the lack of sleep and rest is getting to us…

check-in was easy.. no luggage belts and such.. we handed over our check-in luggage to the counter and a couple of guys came an took them away.. gave us some stickers to stick to our shirts for identification at the gate.. i guess it helps with the language barrier and to ensure people don’t get on the wrong flights…

however the local airlines seemed very efficient, whisking us away on a bus to the plane.. and leaving the tarmac full 15 mins before the scheduled flight time…  this was def a first.. we were warned about the quality of the airlines but the one we chose (Air KBZ) didn’t seem too bad…

Bagan Airport(Nyaung U) is as expected a tiny one, luggage was brought in by hand and  luggage tags checked and we were able to claim and move out… had to buy the Bagan Archaeological Zone pass for USD 20 from the airport. this pass gives us access to the area’s pagodas/temples etc. went out took a taxi for USD 6 to our hotel in old bagan… pretty hassle free.

Hotel turned out to be a pleasant surprise.. seemed like we got a very good deal and ended up in a pretty high end one for a lowish price… was nice.. decided to make this a day for recuperation since we really needed to pay our rest and sleep debt. exploring for later in the day.

Update 2

For lunch tried a Myanmar themed set.. was yummy reminded me of thai, indian sort of fusion… not bad at all.. not spicy.. mild balanced flavours.

Explore time… the area is huge.. so exploring on foot was out of the question. we rented some e-bikes which are easy to use and allowed us to do whatever we wanted on our own time… looks cute..

Had to turn in relatively early… was exhausted.. and tomorrow is a big day! proper exploration of the area…

related:

Day 2 : https://noodlydoodly.wordpress.com/2015/05/10/myanmar-getaway-day-2-yangonfor-di/

Myanmar getaway – day 2.Yangon

Update 1

Day 2. Waking up is hard… specially if you wake up at 3 am and all the sleep You had in the last 2 days amount to less than 5 hrs combined… But we’re off to yangon! so Yay!

way too early for this..

tired but excited!

Update 2

Yangon airport it relatively small compared to other hubs in the region.. but thats no surprise. we had the e-visa papers so getting through immigration was easy and no hassles… changed money to the kyat from the airport which the lonely planet suggested had the best rates.. and strangely it seems to be the case…

Raniya’s friend Bon, arranged for transport and we met up with him and his family at his place…after a lovely breakfast at Bon’s place we dropped our bags off at the hotel and headed to Shwedagon Pagoda… “Shwedagon Pagoda was constructed more than 2,600 years ago, making it the oldest Buddhist stupa in the world” says wikipedia… so yes.. its gold.. so much gold.. so much glare.. hurts the eyes to even look.. but really an amazing place…

Tip : you have to remove all footware including socks to enter any of these pagoda’s/temples . it’s not a fun thing to walk around on a scorching hot surface baking under a 40 degree sun… maybe try to time your visits earlier in the morning or later during the day during the hot days… your feet might thank you for it… although inaz says this is purely a mind over matter issue… 

was so dehydrated by the time we were done with the pagoda’s we decided to break for lunch… went to a lovely spot called my garden.. think we overdid it with food…

after lunch we hit the bogyoke market, a colonial style building / area with tiny shops and cobblestoned streets with a variety of jewelry,fabric,clothes,handiwork,antique stores amongst others.

for dinner we went to my garden restaurant again…. the same place were we had lunch.. with bon and family… live music… great atmosphere… brilliant company… and most importantly good food… was a great way to end the night…

related  : https://noodlydoodly.wordpress.com/2015/05/09/myanmar-getaway-day-1-prep/

Myanmar getaway – day 1.Prep

I haven’t yet so far used my blog for anything other than tech related stuff but I’ve been traveling a lot recently and for some reason I haven’t been documenting any of it. And so why not… Something to look back at and maybe it will even help out someone later on..   Thoughts / suggestions are welcome of coz..

Day1 – male to KL

Update 1

Needed one day to hang out in KL, buy some much needed travel gear for the Myanmar leg of the journey which starts tomorrow early morning.

Managed to stuff all my stuff including travel tech into my workhorse.. The osprey atmos 65.

the atmos 65.. lots of room .. extremely comfortable on the back

This bag has been brilliant on so many trips. Local and overseas. But it’s drawback is that since it’s a hiking backpack it’s not the most ideal for airplane travel and is not carry on Size

So gonna replace it with something more suitable. Going out to look for one in a bit.

Update 2

Found a couple bags that looks pretty good. The osprey farpoint 40 which I’ve been looking at for a while which is also carry on compliant. And the osprey daylight daypack for well.. Daypack use..  I should be set for travel luggage with this trio… Yes a fan of osprey. Great products.. Will put some pics up a bit later. Way too tired. Almost 48 hours without sleep…

Early flight tomorrow to yangon. Have to wake up around 3 am ish…

related : https://noodlydoodly.wordpress.com/2015/05/10/myanmar-getaway-day-2-yangonfor-di/

My thoughts on Amazon Kindle Unlimited

kindle unlimtied

So i signed up just a few days back for the kindle unlimited trial account. I’d like to share my thoughts on the experience. first off i am a paying amazon prime customer, and by having that  i do get access to ‘borrow’ one book a month from their significant library. but its kind of restricted to my kindle device, yes..an actual kindle, prime customers cant use the prime libarary to borrow on an app on lets say the iPad or an Android device.

Kindle unlimited by comparison allows you to borrow up to 10 books at a time from their library of what looks pretty similar to the prime lending library, i don’t know if its the same or not.. Amazon does say 600,000 + titles but yeah 10 books at a time. and it does not have the limitation on the iPad or Android as Prime does. It also does not seem to restrict checking out books you already read or restricting how many books per month etc. Not that i’ve noticed anyway.

Borrowing a book seems pretty straightforward enough, Store on website, iPad and kindle itself seems easy enough..

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Photo Jul 21, 21 36 45

 

Whispersync for Voice

This is also an ‘unlimited’ option and included as part of your kindle unlimited subscription, i imagine the voice enabled titles do count towards your 10 book at once limit, but really its no big deal, its just easy to switch between reading and listening if you like audiobooks. the good thing about this option is that this is a proper narration. not the robotic dictation in previous kindles. Amazon does say its audible narration so no complaints there. Only problem is a minority by comparision (7000+) of the books are enabled for voice so don’t have too high an expectation

 

Audible Trial

You do get a 3 month trial to full audible services, which is basically 1 book credit per month for 3 months. this in itself is not a bad deal at all, there are no restrictions on any books that you can purchase using these credits and i assume they are yours to keep in your audible account. Audible may be owned by Amazon but it’s a different account separate from the kindle unlimited subscription. My audiobook choice for this month “Seriously…I’m Kidding” by Ellen DeGeneres, she narrates it and it’s hilarious! and yes i do love audiobooks.

 

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So.. is it worth it?

Personally for me … a resounding YES!, and YES even though currently the major publishers may not be on board, that doesn’t negate the fact that it still does offer some really good books in the library. and $ 9.99 a month is really just a coffee or a price of a single book that you give up to get access to a lot more of good books at your fingertips. If you do read, and love to read i don’t see how you can go wrong with this.

Yes i do wish this was included in my prime subscription which i already pay to amazon, but really this still is a great value.

And if you are someone who loves dead trees, move on, it’s time, i tried to hold on to that, but nothing can beat the convenience of ebooks.

 

 

Hello WordPress!

Posterous Shutdown

After  while away from blogging.. (again)…  and since posterous decided they had to dissapear. i decided it was time to move… well forced to….🙂

so yes. hello wordpress. i hope i can blog once in a while…

iPhone 4S I’ve got a confession to make…I’m thinking of leaving you for Galaxy Note.

Inline image 1

I’ve decided it’s time to move to a new platform… specifically the samsung galaxy note why?I currently have the latest and greatest phone from Apple. the iPhone 4S… so why the move… the iphone has a better camera, it’s got siri, its got an awesome app store and lets not forget the investment in apps over the years. i have been using iPhones since the 3G faithfully through 3GS, 4 and 4S now… why?

I’m in love with the huge screen of the samsung galaxy note. i know this is the very reason why a lot of people hate this device. like its clearly ridiculous to hold up such a huge device up to your ear… and lets not forget how hard it would be to put it into your pockets… but for me the screen is the sole reason why i would consider moving…  i’m not really drawn towards the smaller screen siblings of the note such as the Galaxy S II or other HTC android devices…

i had a lot of hands on time with the device as a few friends of mine are using it now… and they have a lot of praise for the device… granted that they are mostly techy ppl who know how to handle a device and they do less talking and more browsing, email, chatting and other tabletty stuff (for lack of a better word) than phone stuff on the device.. and i’m kinda one of them..

anyways.. will have the ‘phablet’ in my hands in a few days… should be able to see if i can bend the device to my will… with android should be easier…… will keep the blog updated with my thoughts… my first real android device… but i’m no stranger to android in my line of work🙂

Testing out Netflix Streaming on 1mbps ROL connection

Follows on from my previous post which covers my new ROL connection…

 

been wanting to test out netflix from Maldives for a while but i was hesitant to pay for an account before i knew it would work.. as luck would have it Fizan (@fizaen) was wanting to see if it work out as well and was kind enough to let me test out on his account. thanks for that!

 

points of note:
1- you do need to have VPN access to a US server or another country where netflix has services..otherwise it wont work. .. i used a US account.
2- could not try out HD.. as HD requires a higher bandwidth than what i have… i could only test out SD.

 

 

 

as you can see it works generally good, i did a lot of intentional seeking and that does require some buffer time but once it starts its smooth and does not stop for buffering… Netflix is decent enough to use here. sorry about no audio and not so awesome quality video.. was in a rush and didn’t have time to get a good capture software.. but i’m sure you get the idea…

 

Netflix

 

Bandwidth requirement generally hovered around 1.3mbps to 1.9mbps for SD video’s…. but i’m not sure u can manage with a fixed 1mbps package.. the bursting on this package sure does help.