Inle lake

We did the last piece of the "Burma Big 4", Inle lake (after Rangoon, Mandalay and Bagan). I have not heard of this lake before, but it is just amazing. However, it was a nightmare to get there - 320 km for 12 hours drive. Very hot, very dusty and VERY bumpy. We felt all sick, but finally nobody vomited, although absolutely all the travel stories I read about long bus rides in this country included passengers throwing up. The roads  - if we can talk about roads at all as such - are in terrible condition.

We had a gorgeous day around the lake. Sometimes just everything is perfect - you sit in a comfortable chair in a nice little boat (only four passengers each, with soft padded chairs!), perfect blue sky, green water, thatched houses, photogenic fishermen with nets, waving kids, etc. It just could have not been better, must have been one of my best travel days in my life. This place could make fortunes for tourism, but luckily, it does not, still not many people visit.

We stopped by some little villages, pagodas, paper factories, markets, it was an easy relaxed day.


Finally we stopped by a monastery, where monks who must have felt a bit bored, trained cats as circus lions to jump over small rings.

Next day we had a free day again, in the morning I visited the local market to do some shopping (lots of cheap local statutes, paintings, etc), and of course, taking photos of locals.

In the afternoon we hired a boat with two other passengers and went for another trip on the lake to visit some very old temples overgrown by vegetation.

I am very happy with the pace of this tour. As at each place in the country we spent several nights and always had a free day, it just did not feel like a group tour at all. Maybe also because we were only 12 of us in the group. It felt more like a backpacking trip with good friends - such a difference to my recent trip to China.

We then flew back to the capital and had our final group dinner. Most people will fly home tomorrow morning and I should as well as only had 10 days of holiday. But as I could not get a flight back home earlier than Thursday, I "have to" stay another few days.  

I decided to fly to the beach and stay in a posh bungalow. I have not spent 3 consecutive days at a seaside for 16 years... last time I was in 1990 in Rhodes with my greatest love ever (or so far?), Bertram. Since then, I just tick one country after the other, and no relaxation whatsoever - so I deserve a break.

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