From Hsipaw we took another overnight bus to Nyaungshwe. We were dropped at a highway junction and took a taxi into the town. As always we arrive sometime in the wee hours but our guesthouse lets us in and we’re soon all sorted out and exploring the town.
Nyaungshwe is connected via canal to Inle Lake, one of Myanmar’s top attractions. But unlike Bagan it’s much more laid-back and our guesthouse is in the monastery district, so is quietish with the ringing of bells and the murmur of monks in the background.
Our first day we rent bikes and with a fellow traveler pedaled first to a hot springs for a relaxing dip and then to a village that specializes in yellow pea tofu. Here we watched them make several products, snacked and purchased a few for later.
We then crossed the lake with our bikes on a long-tail. The ride on the other side was lovely with sugarcane fields and waving palms. We stopped at a winery but were disappointed with our Chardonnay tasters. Stick with the beer!
Next day a group of us hired a boat and did an extended tour of the lake. We stopped at villages, a market, pagodas and several craft shops. Mostly though it was the boat ride, seeing the floating gardens, people fishing (check out the unique paddle technique) and villages on stilts that were the most interesting.
We also visited the local market, where Sue held a baby while our fruit was prepped for us.
Lastly we took a tour led by a young man just starting his guiding career. He took us to several nearby villages. At the first we explored a large cave used by Buddhists. We went into several branches and saw where a local king had hidden during the Japanese invasion. We also saw another cave where an elderly monk has been living the past 54 years.
On the way back I was presented some flowers by a couple of young girls, who continued following us, giving us various bits of plantlife.
Leaving Nyaungshwe was hard. It was a relaxed place to be and our guesthouse and its staff were super helpful and friendly.
Like many of my Myanmar posts I’ll have to update this later as there are so many things being left out. Including a photo of my having a beard trim, seated in one of the oldest barber chairs I’ve seen. And, I’ve just got to say, there’s nothing like a cold Myanmar draught after a hot day of cycling, boating or walking!