Surprising Things to do Around Inle Lake, Myanmar (Burma)
My most eloquent post title yet, don't you think? After our epic fail in Bagan, documented here, we were keen not to fall into the 'night bus = missing a precious day of travel' trap. .
Whilst we didn't get a lovely JJ Express bus this time, we did end up in Nyaung Shwe itself (home to Inle) as opposed to the junction before where we'd heard a lot of buses will drop you off. So far, so good.
A 1000 Kyat ride later and we checked into our (pre booked) guesthouse, the very highly rated Aquarius. Nice, clean and spacious with a few quirky little touches for the communal areas.
Straight off the bat, I will say that you should definitely rent bicycles. The town, like most of Myanmar is pretty and really pleasant to cycle around. Traffics not too crazy either.....although there are a lot of horse and carts knocking about so keep your eyes peeled!
As you may have noticed from our posts thus fair (which you can read here & here) we found Myanmar incredibly pricey. Therefore we wanted a good deal for our Inle Lake trip so got straight on the case and haggled hard. We got what we thought was a sweet deal at 20,000 kyat (£12) for a full day on the lake taking in a bespoke itinerary including, but not limited to, the jumping cats (I'll explain later), floating gardens and traditional floating village the Lonely Planet recommended.
Boat making, Inle Lake, Myanmar.
No jumping cats, just cuddling cats, Myanmar.
Now we are not stupid. We've been to Asia before, and we've been travelling for 5 months now. Somehow though, it's always the way that you get conned when you're least expecting it. Damn!
The trip was a huge disappointment, and mostly because everything was so inauthentic. We we were made a lot of promises that were not fulfilled, such as seeing cats who've been trained by monks to jump through hoops -- have you ever heard of a better thing to see?! know it's only money, and a relatively small amount too (£12) however I really do take umbrage at outright lies -- especially about jumping cats! For shame.
All was not lost in Nyaung Shwe however. Here are a couple of things we highly recommend you do, and eat....and drink whilst in Nyaung Shwe that don't involve Inle Lake.
1) Grab a bicycle and explore. It will set you back about 1000 Kyat for a day ($1/£3).
2) Have fried rice here. Amazing. (1,500 Kyat).
Sin Yaw, Inle Lake, Myanmar.
3) Head to the rink next to Min Min restaurant and enjoy some retro rollerblading/skating to the tune of Taylor Swift. (Skate hire 1,000 Kyat for an hour).
Betti kicking ass on the Rollerskating Rink, Myanmar.
4) Cycle up to the Red mountain Winery and have a tasting with an epic view. (2,000 Kyat each for 4 different wines).
Red Mountain Winery, Myanmar.
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