I left off my first post in Mandalay, and from there Braydon and I booked tickets through our hotel on to Nyaung Shwe, the town near Inle Lake. I was told it would be a taxi, and would that be alright?
I said that would be fine, it ended up costing $25 each there, which was more-or-less the same price that the bus would have been (if there had been any leaving that day) so there we go.
Well it turned out that our taxi was some kind of Camry out of the ‘80s, with only 2 working windows and no air-conditioning. And 5 people in the car. And it was an 8-hour drive. And it was 45 C.
So 8 brutally sweaty hours later we arrived in Nyang Shwe.
We arrived in the evening, and after a much-needed shower we went in search of food. Just around the corner from our guesthouse was a little shop that boasted the “only Indian food in Inle” which sounded fantastic. And fantastic it was. We wound up eating there three more times it was so delicious. We also found puppies nearby, which was a bonus.
While in Inle we took a couple of much needed rest days—we’d been busting through Myanmar pretty quickly. We also rented bicycles from our guesthouse and did a little bike tour around the lake, consisting of biking up the road on one side of the lake, then paying a local a few dollars to take us and our bikes across the lake and biking back on the other side. It was a great way to see the scenery, though it was insanely hot in the afternoon. But all’s well that ends well, particularly when it ends with a trip up to a vineyard.
The next day we did the almost-mandatory boat trip around the lake—and I’ll say that it did not disappoint. We went out from 12:45pm to sunset and had a chance to see how the local people build their houses and shops on the lake, as well as find some handicrafts and watch how local products are made.
Kyaikhtiyo (Golden Rock).
Having a life-long curiosity about religions and their major centres, Golden Rock was definitely somewhere I had to see on this trip.
Well after a hellish night bus of switchbacks through the mountains, and a 4 hour ride in the back of a pick-up truck—which we managed to fit 19 people plus four huge propane tanks into—we arrived in the extremely hot town of Kyaikhtiyo, at the base of the road to Golden Rock.
I would say that getting up to Golden Rock is half the fun of the experience. I had heard about the hold-on-for-dear-life truck rides up the hills and was looking forward to the entertainment. Well it turns out the trucks they use are refitted dump-trucks with benches in the back, and they hold roughly 42 people (not including children). We managed to snag the very back seats on one truck for the ride up, and I will say that I was glad I had the back rail to hold onto. Those trucks don’t always slow for corners. The scenery on the way up, however, was incredibly breathtaking.
The truck took us up to the top unloading zone (there’s an earlier one, and you walk the last 45 minutes, but it was way to hot for that) and walked the roughly 10 minutes to the top. The rest speaks for itself through photos.
And so ends my time in the beautiful country of Myanmar. I absolutely fell in love with the country during my stay, the people are incredibly friendly, the history is rich, and the sites are stunning. If you’re looking for more information about Myanmar I recommend watching They Call it Myanmar: Lifting the Curtain, a documentary about Myanmar.