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Paul & Luiza´s World Tour

Myanmar - Inle Lake

MYANMAR | Sunday, 9 October 2011 | Views [1024]

Destination – Myanmar – Inle Lake – It’s a lake with a lot of water around it

We leave Bagan after four days and take a car with a driver to Inle Lake. It’s a bit expensive (USD $150, ouch!!!) but sometimes we just like to do it in style. The car is far from new but the driver is nice and the 9 hour road trip is just fantastic. This time we came prepared bringing bags of sweets, pens and little notebooks to distribute to the kids and to young monks holding out their little bowls in the villages along the road. What a great day. We arrived at the Aung Mingalar Hotel, completely wet as a huge monsoon shower is pouring down. The hotel is nice and the next morning we go out and everywhere is heavily flooded. There’s more rain on the way, so, another day for books and movies. The rain finally stops the following day and we can go out exploring the surroundings. We also find an amazing restaurant and keep going back there for both lunch and dinner, better Thai food then we got in Bangkok.

The next morning we get up at 5.30am as we were told there is a boat procession to take a Buddha image from one monastery to another and it only happens once a year. Yet again the lucky bunnies are at the right place at the right time. We get a “boat with a driver” just for us and combine the procession with our boat exploration of Inle Lake. The lake is really beautiful and peaceful, even the weather decides to cooperate and we have another wonderful sightseeing day. We follow the procession and visit monasteries and floating villages taking some great pics. The kids here are so cute, we can’t stop taking photos of them, it’s like Tibet all over again. We also buy some stuff from the little shops at the main monasteries, in our frugal attempt to support the informal economy. Besides boating around the lake, there’s not a lot to do in Inle for us. The town is not particularly pleasant and the mud and potholes everywhere don’t really help. It’s time to move on.

After 4 days in Inle we catch an awful 15 hour bus ride back to Yangon. We check into the very nice East Hotel, a bit above our budget but we are in desperate need of a bit of luxury. The first thing we do in Yangon is to change our ticket as we decide to go back to Bangkok two weeks before planned. Only then do we go for some souvenir shopping at the markets. Answering my earlier question, have we gone too soft in South East Asia or is Myanmar really a tough country to travel?? Myanmar is really tough. Everything is difficult and even simple things the tourist takes for granted, like transport and accommodation and food are hard to negotiate and never quite what you expect. It’s not cheap and even when you pay a lot you still can’t get what you want. It’s tiresome and stressful and we can’t wait to be back in laid-back Bangkok.  It might be easier for other people but we really feel for the locals and it’s all too sad and miserable. Don’t get us wrong, the people are really lovely and there are amazing things and places to see, however the lack of infrastructure and the lack of understanding for what the tourists need is a problem. Maybe after the change of government and the end of sanctions things will be a bit easier for travelers and of course for the people of Myanmar. It’s revolting how the stupid bastards can make such lovely people live in the most abject poverty and lack of freedom. Myanmar wins, off we go! At the airport we meet another couple who also changed their tickets to come back home earlier. Another friend of ours also did the same just a few weeks ago, so after all, we are not that soft. The End!


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