Luckily enough Ryan felt better the next day and we were able to explore Inle Lake. We got some bikes from the shop next door and started to ride west. We have heard of some hot springs, which would be worth a visit. As it was stinky hot we couldn’t imagine this being a good idea, but thought to give it a go. The springs turned out to be a spa with a $10 entry, so we skipped it and took a boat to the other side of the lake. We had a lovely lunch with a Danish couple we had met twice previously.
Afterwards we stopped at a winery on top of the hills and had a great wine tasting for $2. The wine was surprisingly good and the scenery was beautiful, but Ryan didn’t feel 100% well, so we went back to the hotel for some more washing for me and another nap for him.
For the next day we had booked a boat for exploring the lake a bit more. We meet our guide early in the morning and started the tour. It was a bit foggy and cold at the start, but seeing the scenery on the lake was beautiful. The local fishermen were already out trying to make a catch. They are famous for rowing with their legs while fishing. They also use a technique slapping a big stick on the water, so that the fish swims up in their nets.
Our first stop was a local handicraft market were we purchased some Christmas presents, before visiting some more villages surrounding the lake. We visited silver shops, weaving companies, cigar factories and lots more. It was a bit annoying that they expect you to buy something everywhere but we still got some nice souvenirs to decent prices.
The main attraction is just seeing how life is happening in and around Inle Lake. People washing, driving their boats, bringing kids to school and do their gardening.
We had a lovely lunch on the lake and visited some more Pagodas and monasteries. Our highlight was definitely the sunset on the lake. We met a traditional fishermen and he posed for some pictures with his gear while the sun slowly went down over the mountains. A great ending to our last full day at Inle Lake.
We had the bus booked for the next afternoon and did some more cycling till after lunch.
We got picked up at 6pm for our 12 hour ride back to Yangon. The bus was surprisingly comfortable with big soft seats that declined quit well, pillows and blankets. Fortunately they turned off the TV at 11 and we all got some sleep. I have heard horrible stories about bus trips in Burma. It was scary to get up the mountains and drive them down in the pitch dark with trucks coming up the whole way, but still doable.
Burma was great and we loved every second of our trip. If you plan to go, do it now. There are still not that many tourists and you can enjoy some authenticity.
Now the bags are packed again and we are ready for our next destination… Cambodia.