Beautiful Village – Inle Lake

Arrived at bus stop at 4 am in Inle Lake. The bus eventually filled up with locals so it became tedious but thankfully I got some rest. The bus driver got a taxi for us, a pickup truck with a tarp over it.. it’s a common form of transportation here, as you’ll usually see a dozen people packed in the back. There was room for 1 in the front, but i decided to take on the adventure and ride in the back like a true peasant into town. It was about a 40 minute ride through the rocky road into town, in the dark. I’ll admit it was kind of spooky but fun.

We tried checking in at Aquarius Inn where LP book recommended but we couldn’t wake anyone up so went to Gypsy Inn, another recommendation and checked in for 5$ a night, in comfy rooms, guesthouse style. I decided not to sleep, so I wandered our new area alone again at sunrise. It is very very village like, with a huge lake that surrounds the area. I watched Monk children walk in a line to the monastery, carrying their black vase, and men setting up shop for their boat business. I strolled through a local market and watched women set up their market.

I got back by 7:30 am where breakfast was served at the hotel, once again, all inclusive: eggs, sweet flour tortilla, plate of mango’s and tea. After breakfast, we hired a guy to take us on his motor boat (wooden canoe style) for 15$ a day split, to visit villages near by. Villages: local market village & souvenir stalls, silk making shop, silver making village, temples, monastery, jumping cat monastery, stopped by for lunch at a burmese restaurant and fell in love with another village child (4 years old) making funny faces at me while playing with rice, my FAVORITE stop: Cigar making village. I bought a box, hopefully it will make it all the way back to the States for you all to try!, and lastly a beautiful 150 year old temple which took 30 minutes to walk up… (im definitely getting a workout here!). At a temple, a guy lured me into buying a wooden sling shot with a pointy beaked wooden bird on top for 2$. He used the line “I know you dont need it, but please buy it to help feed my son.” I hadn’t spent much money on any souvenirs, and was restless so I said ok. I’m auctioning that off when I’m back!! Any bids?!

Most villages took about 20-30 minutes to arrive, so in the mean time on the boat, we passed by floating markets (women in canoes selling things to us.. many babies on there too helping sell), farmers standing on one leg on their canoe, fishing or digging up plants from the water. School children were also being transported to school from the canoe’s. I started to fall asleep on the boat, partially cuz i had barely any rest, partially cuz it was so peaceful!

Got back around 4:30 pm, I knocked out and took a 30 min nap, then ventured off to find a Burmese Shan restaurant (Shan State is where we are). “When In Rome..” Well, when in Burma, do as Burmese do.. and eat as they do!! I stopped by a very modern nice hotel to check beer prices since it was buy 1 get 1 free for later.. The waitor, very sales-ish/business-ish, talked us into eating there. We knew it’d be more expensive than our budget of 2-3$ a meal, but it was AMAZING!! Ended up being about 6$ for each of us, but it was well worth it. I got the braised beef which was soaked in Rice Wine he said for some time, and then slowly cooked in Tomatos, mint leaves and gravy curry.

The waitor was interesting at first, telling us all about his life and learning about ours, but eventually became too much when he asked to take us to the internet cafe after, and then eventually selling his friend to take us on our trek the next day. Without time to think about it, he said that they’d be waiting at 8 am the next morning for us, across the hotel since the hotel doesn’t like outsiders to lead tours. (hmmm we wonder why). We knew for sure to get out of that hotel by 8 am to avoid them!

We got the Mandalay beer (Burmese beer) .. SOOOOOOOOO good!! It’s a light lager. I like.

Got back at 9, showered and passed out with the towel still in my head. When I woke up half hour later, with the light on, turned it off, took off the towel, and finally had my first night’s rest, til 6 am. A solid 9 hours!

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