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Round the World Journey

Myanmar and Laos

MYANMAR | Monday, 11 December 2017 | Views [291]

China Eastern delayed us for 30 mins and worried me with their announcements about turbulence buthe I got to Mandalay safely and quickly. Given I only had a day i booked a driver for the day. The £30 was worather it if a bit rushed. Mandalay is overlooked by a few hills, had stretches of water and is scenic in places but is too busy, dirty and pour to be that scenic. There are ox taxis, woven houses, teak bridges and many, many stupas and temples. The temples aren't that old but house a huge number of religious. Maybe the word is am looking for is characterful. I can see that this once must have been very beautiful indeed. 

It was a short hop by plane to Heho and from there by taxi to Lake Inle although the plane was a bit delayed. The village servicing Inle is a bit scruffy but has some surprisingly good places to eat including the Asiatic pub. My hotel was good bar dodgy Internet connection. The next day I shared a boat trip to Inle proper with a Latvian also called Michael. It took 20 mins to reach the lake proper. There are many connecting waterways. It was interesting to see floating tomato allotments, woven houses on stilts, crafts including weaving by the long necked tribe who wear suffocating gold neck pieces, and old temple. I was a bit less enamoured by the omnipresent markets. I bought an overpriced scarf made it hope by the long necks.

The flight to Yangon was delayed by 2 hours but an afternoon turned out to be enough in this big, busy, surprisingly developed city. I duly visited tourist attraction number 1 the great stupa which had lots of gold but underwhelmed me. I enjoyed seeing several churches including holy trinity Yangon, the Christmas decorations and had the best bowl of ramen I can remember. 

The next days flight to Chang Mai entailed a quicK stopover in Bangkok where they were playing Christmas carols and songs. A 35 dollar visa got me into communist Laos and I found a hotel for the nIghtfield for 10 dollars. I wanted to take a spwedding boat up the Mekong but so many reports cited the danger so I took a minivan instead. It claimed to take 7 hours but in the end took 11 despite just 2 short stops. The winding roads were incredible, rough at times and forever snaking up and down mountains.  Exhausting.

The night market in Luang Prabang was lively with more westerners in town than I have seen all holiday. Thanks to the French there were also fine cakes and pastries on offer. I took a bus to the picturesque waterfall just out of town which was also the home to rescued bears. I have seen plenty of waterfalls but this one with pools at varying levels could have been out of a film set. I also enjoyed the temples in town if not the Ashes in the Aussie Bar. All to do on it was on a plane to Hanoi. Farewell Laos I must return and take that slow boat along the Mekong.



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