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.
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)
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.
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 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.
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..
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!
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.
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…