Backpacking through Myanmar [part 3 of 3]

In the same way part 2 ended, part 3 will begin; fishermen (at display). One in colour, and one silhouette.

Myanmar #059

Myanmar #060

Inle Lake is one of the many must-sees of Myanmar; a great lake with magnificent “floating” settlements (on bamboo poles). Beautiful, really.

Small boats are the essential tool for the locals to get around here, as witnessed in the coming pictures.

Inle Lake

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Our first stop for the day was an open-spaced culture/festival/pseudo-temple place, whose entrance can be seen above. We sat down and our guide taught us about a special festival dish called “sticky rice”, which we also got to taste. Beside us, a drowsy cat enjoyed the warm sunlight that shone down at it through some cracks in the ceiling.

The multi-purpose temple was connected to a small, (but long) market by a tunnel of sorts, which we traversed to get to our transport, waiting on the other side. It made for a cool photo at least.

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Here is a picture of our guide and skipper for the day. Being a tour guide seemed to be a a high-status occupation here. She spoke understandable English, which made her stand out from the other guides we had (yeah, lol).

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While the houses are on poles, the wide-stretching gardens are certainly not. They float and can carry the weight of roughly a person per 5-10 meters (especially when they are small..). Below, three girls can be seen harvesting (not quite sure what exactly), while chatting and smiling happily.

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The roads are obviously water-ways:

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Nest stop was the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, a temple known for its “five small gilded images of Buddha, which have been covered in gold leaf to the point that their original forms cannot be seen“. Popular attraction. NB: males only as witnessed by the sign below! A fun aspect of the Burmese written language, is that it does not need spaces between words.

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Time had come to find some food, and we left for Grandma’s Kitchen. Maybe it’s her in the window, – who knows? The only thing we know for sure is that we got severe food poisoning, which kept us in bed the entire next day. Maybe grandma didn’t like us 😛

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The final stop for the day was the house where the guide lived. She first showed us the cigarette-making facility next-door, where several older woman (with extraordinary fingerspitzengefühl) cut, filled and rolled cigarettes at an insane pace! Then we got to try out the highly traditional facial make-up. “Now you become pretty, haha”, she told me after painting me with Thanaka. I am not so sure I would call it an improvement though haha..

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On our way home, the (morning?) fog were mostly gone and the slightly warmer afternoon light made for new photographic opportunities of the fishermen.

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Myanmar #076

As previously mentioned, the next day came and went without us ever leaving the hotel room out of fear of vomiting and/or something worse. A painful day. Moving on. The next morning, we had plans to explore the area by ourselves, and we started out carefully in the city centre.

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Later, we visited a vineyard where we ordered well-cooked food and drank “Aha” and “Power Peace” water. Very watery water. The best water.

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That was the last of the images from Inle Lake. The same evening, we travelled by bus down to Yangon; our final city to visit on this trip. It is a large city, and the most “city-like” city we had seen to date in Myanmar.

The first day were spent exploring by foot – and Jørgen got to know a local taxi driver quite well (transcription from video):
– [Jørgen] Do you have a wife?
– [Sjåfør ] Yes
– [Jørgen] What is her name?
– [Sjåfør ] Yes
– [Jørgen ]Do you have a kid?
– [Sjåfør ] Yes
– [Jørgen] What is his name?
– [Sjåfør ] Yes
– [Håkon] Jeg tror ikke du når helt igjennom til ham xD (ENG: I don’t think you quite get through to him xD)

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The next day, we were again ready for an excursion – this time to the Golden Rock! On our way there we came across a small village focused solely around (the many ways of)  preparing Cobra Head Fish for eating.

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To get to the Golden Rock, you get “loaded” on repurposed trucks that can drive “vertically” up the mountain side. This is really, really fun, and an experience you should not leave Myanmar without!

We unfortunately arrived at a time of reconstruction, and so the rock were covered up. Not quite sure why an actual rock would need cosmetic treatment, but hey, we got to drive the trucks!

Another bonus with the trip was the deeply interesting items for sale at the top of the mountain. Like a toy replica of RPG-7. I can almost hear the commercial “…spend some quality time with your kid, with this ultra-realistic rocket-propelled grenade launcher!!”. 

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We stayed the night in a bungalow near the foot of the mountain. The next morning, we got to see how rubber is made from a sticky white liquid that is harvested from trees. Then we drove off to get a fresh watermelon before entering some of  the largest pagodas in the country.

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Because we like trains just as much as Sheldon, we decided to try out the Burmese railways on our way back. That was a slow, but bumpy ride I can tell you. Glorious!

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In the evening we celebrated (and mourned) that the epic journey was coming to an end. The next day consisted mainly of transportation, so I leave you with one last image from a book store in Yangon – try to spot the easter egg!

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We had one day in Bangkok before departing separate ways. The most memorable image from this day is this mugshot taken at an escape-room establishment.

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….and this, this is a hotel. Not our hotel, but the hotel: Sky Bar at Lebua, State Tower (maybe known to some from Hangover 2).

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Martin & Jørgen, – thanks for a great journey; exploration of unknown territory (*cough*) with many intense moments, sunsets and stomach pain. Where to next??

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Author: Håkon Treider

Enthusiastic photographer with a Master's degree in computational physics

4 thoughts on “Backpacking through Myanmar [part 3 of 3]”

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