We caught an overnight bus to Inle Lake (technically a bus to Shwenyaung then a taxi to Nyaungshwe -8,000K for everyone). Awful TV on all night, crying children (OK – one child that wouldn’t settle for an hour or so, mainly due to it’s mother being violently travel sick). A note on overnight bus travel in Myanmar: every 3 hours or so, the bus will stop for about half an hour for a toilet/food break. Make your decision if you want to get off the bus, or stay on, as the driver disappears pretty quickly and locks the door, which is a great idea from a security point of view, but not so great if you wake up halfway through to discover yourself alone on a blacked out bus with a full bladder, unable to get out!
Holy Moley it was cold!! (6 degrees at 6am which felt much much colder in flip flops!!).
The Princess Garden Hotel ($31 for a double with ensuite) allowed us to check in immediately at 06:30, and we went straight to bed until the sun came up!
Hired bikes from the hotel and cycled to some hot springs (an interesting choice in 30 degree heat!), which was a nice spot for the first beer of the day. A boat ride across the lake followed, then up the east side to the Red Mountain vineyard for lunch, wine tasting, and simply fabulous views.
Myanmar curries for dinner in a sweet cafe/stall on the side of the market which resulted in the obligatory can of coke on the way home and the conclusion that you might as well just go to the Indian next door, although the fried samosas and veggie fritter type snacks were delicious.
Why had people warned us that the complementary breakfasts in Myanmar were a bit on the rubbish side of life? 4 courses of fruit, pancakes, eggs and toast later…
The day was spent on an incredible boat trip around the lake – and an opportunity to wonder about responsible tourism. Stopped off at a silversmith, a half tourist/half local market (which rotates through the 5 villages on the shores of the lake), some very old pagodas, another lunch in an obviously tourists only restaurant, a hand weavers, a blacksmith, then to jumping cat monastery. A highlight was half an hour watching some fishermen catching fish (!) with nets and spears.