Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Inle Lake

After Bagan, we took a fun nine-hour day bus to Inle Lake. Inle is beautiful, up in the mountains, with wide valleys. The trek from Inle-Kalaw or vice versa is very popular, but it takes three days and we didn't have the time to spare. I've heard very good things about it though. 

Inle is very touristy. The town on the northern shore - Nguang Shue - is already full of Western restaurants, but the great thing about Burma is there's still no McDonald's or any large Western chain. I think the country will be unrecognisable in ten years if I go back. 

We took a boat trip on our first day there. It cost US$18 to hire it for the day, but the driver just took us to shops and sales-driven 'workshops' that were just souvenir shops on water. It was quite disappointing. 

Having said that, the scenery is beautiful, and you can watch the fishermen balance on their poles in the shallow water and sweep their willow nets under the surface, coming back with fish. It reminded me a lot of Lake Titicaca as well, with the floating houses and children playing in 'rather unsanitary' waterways. 

Ironically, I think that's the most tourist-centric thing I've ever done, and it was in Burma. The undiscovered land. Go now! It's changing rapidly even as we speak. 

From Inle, we took a night bus to Yangon. We went for a VIP bus, which I thought wouldn't mean a thing, but it was very comfortable. Large seats, three to a row, reclining, with a leg support, and they brought water and one lot of snacks round. There was a toilet onboard, which there wasn't on the day bus from Bagan to Inle, but it was hideously cramped. We stopped for food and a toilet break about two hours into the trip, but that was it. Overall a much better experience than I expected from Burma's buses! 

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