Let’s start here: Inle Lake is one of the most beautiful and unique places I’ve ever been.
Where else can you see entire villages built on stilts, acres of floating gardens on top of water hyacinth bunches, local fisherman on tiny boats balancing on one foot while rowing with the other? These unique cultural attributes combined with the stunning setting of Myanmar’s second biggest lake, glassy and blue against a backdrop of misty mountains make Inle Lake an absolutely unforgettable spot.
I loved exploring the area around Nuang-Shwe, the town we were based in for our four days on the lake, by motor boat, canoe and on foot. We visited artisans and craftsmen in the lakeside villages, including silk and lotus weavers, silversmiths, blacksmiths and cheroot (small cigar) rollers, and stopped at a monastery and temple along the way. I even managed a trip to a local winery with some of the group! (Because of course.)
The only bad news: most of my group got pretty sick while in Myanmar. It started with food poisoning from a restaurant in Kalaw and then plagued us for the rest of the trip. I managed to avoid the worst of it, but the same could not be said of my travel companions. Before I came to Asia, I never imagined I would say the words, “I cannot WAIT to get back to the luxury of Bangkok!” When I finally made it back to Thailand on Thursday, I was so thrilled to be able to eat at chain restaurants and shop at modern grocery stores without worrying about contaminated food.
But don’t let that deter you – Myanmar is a gorgeous country that should be visited soon. I can’t imagine that it will keep it’s same identity and charm as more and more travelers flood into the country and Western businesses start to develop there. Get to Myanmar, and get there now!
Have a great week everyone!