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I'm an Aussie who likes wandering all over the world but keeps coming back home to paradise and my family. If you are reading this on one of my travel blogs, I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed creating them. If you are reading the Diabetes and weight loss blog - I hope it helps in your battle with the beast. Cheers, Alan

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Kalaw and Nyaung Shwe (Inle Lake) Myanmar

Travel Dates 24th-28th November 2012.
Click on any picture to see a larger version. 

I enjoyed getting away from the cities and tourist towns into the small towns and villages of Thazi and Kalaw. Kalaw is only slightly larger than Thazi but has a lot more hotels and restaurants to choose from for travellers. Despite that it isn't really a "tourist town" like Nyaung U or Nyaung Shwe, where every second person you see is a tourist. Most of the small groups of tourists I encountered in Kalaw were backpackers who use the town as the starting point for a two or three day trek to Nyaung Shwe, or Germans and Dutch on package tours. However, the town is still a local Myanmar centre rather than a tourist town

I will keep this report brief, with just a few words to explain some of the pictures.

After a while I started to believe that there may be a law against wasting space on a pickup. 

And, also after a while, I started to become "pagodaed out". This was one of several in Kalaw.

This is a typical of service in small town Myanmar; a curry in the Nepalese restaurant in Kalaw. All I ordered was the curry and a beer. All the extras came as part of the dish.

What is the difference between a motel and a hotel in Myanmar? Apparently 100%. I booked at the Eastern Paradise Motel by email several months in advance for $15. While I waited to check in the receptionist was advising a lady at the desk that they were booked out, but she could have a room tomorrow in the Hotel for $30 or $35. Note the change of name for extra class. The receptionist agreed to honour my booked price provided I told nobody else.

It was the time of the full moon and many preparations were in full swing for the various festivals occurring for that event. These young men had built several floats; the triple dragon was their biggest and seemed to also be the heaviest.

Sorry about the loss of definition. I think I'll upload movies to youtube in future; I lose too much detail on blogger. 

A Myanmar army truck which appeared to be full of agricultural goods.

I took a taxi from Kalaw to Nyaung Shwe for 35,000 kyats ($42) rather than take the train, because there was still a long cab ride from the nearest rail station to Nyaung Shwe. Taking the car direct saved four or five hours.  En-route I noticed these buildings in the distance; the driver informed me that is the Army hospital; ordinary people are not allowed to use it. A couple of clicks down the road the next picture shows the doctor's quarters.

We slowly descended the mountains from Kalaw until the Heho Valley appeared

This was the most common form of farm transport I saw in Myanmar.

Another Army truck, but this time full of people celebrating the festival of the Full Moon.

As we crossed local boundaries a toll had to be paid.

This is the train heading back towards Kalaw on a rising loop. It had just passed under this bridge before looping back to gain height.

Don't miss your step if you come home in the dark.

Threshing rice the ancient way.

 A timber monastery on the outskirts of Nyaung Shwe.

The nicest hotel I stayed in on my trip was the Amazing in Nyaung Shwe. All mod cons, everything worked, an excellent breakfast and restaurant. Be aware there is no elevator, so if you have mobility problems ask for the ground floor.

Nyaung Shwe is a small town at the northeast corner of Inle lake. It is a small regional centre but has also become a busy tourist town, with many travel agencies, restaurants, hotels and hostels. It is about an hour's ride in one of these longboats to the main destinations of interest on the lake, which I will cover in a later post. Despite that, it is the largest town servicing tourism on the lake.

The trishaw is used for almost any form of passenger and goods carriage in Myanmar.

Young monks heading to the monastery for their meal.

The hotel laundry charges were listed on a form in the closet. I found a travel agent nearby who charged a tenth of the price so I had four days worth of laundry done. It was ready, cleaned and pressed, the next evening. On the following day I noticed this lady hard at work by the murky canal next to the hotel; I suspect she was the one who did my laundry.

This was the best fish meal I have eaten in a very long time. It was served in the hotel restaurant but cooked on a barbecue out the front. Wonderfully  delicious for 4,000 kyats; it appears that is a "special" every Friday.

 My favourite lunch was Shan Soup at this restaurant in the market.

Cheers, Alan

1 comment:

  1. A nice write up, summing up life in Myanmar(Burma).