13.03.2013 - 14.03.2013 35 °C
We had another very slow day yesterday as we knew we had a very long journey to Inle lake. We booked the bus yesterday and it left Hsipaw at 3.30pm, we were not due to arrive in Inle until 5.00am.
We made it through breakfast and went back to the room, we didn’t need to check out until noon so we relaxed, and slowly packed. Once we had checked out we decided to get some lunch so we would not need to eat again until we arrived. We went to the Chinese restaurant we visited on the first night, Chelsea ordered the same as before pork and rice and Liam ordered a Thai soup. Both were delicious and both were giant portions so we did not finish. We ate slowly though and managed to pass another hour on before paying up and making our way back. We sat in a common area in our guesthouse until it was nearly time for our pick up and we went and got the obligatory bus supplies, crisps and water. Chelsea has stumbled upon pizza flavoured crisps that are now her favourite thing in Asia. She says we have to buy them at every opportunity. At least this time she actually waited until we were on the bus to eat them.
Our pick up collected us at 2.30pm and took us to the ‘bus station’, it was a table at the side of the road with pictures of buses. On the plus side it was smack next to a bar so we went and had a couple of beers whilst we waited for the bus to turn up. It was of course late, several big new coaches came and left, none of which was ours, then a slightly dilapidated old bus came into sight and we knew it was here. We took our seats and were immediately impressed as for the first time we were provided with a little pillow. This made sleeping on the bus a lot more comfortable, even with less than ideal leg room. The air con was constantly on full blast so it was freezing. Even the locals were cold and all had extra layers in hand luggage, we don’t understand why if everyone is cold and knows it is going to be cold they just can’t turn it off. It is so cold some locals bring woolly hats and gloves….
The journey itself was one of the better ones we have had. We made use of the light and read for the first few hours. When it became dark we were amazed that the overhead lights worked, again a first of our overnight journeys. We had a toilet break in a little town in the middle of nowhere and at about 9.30 tried to get some sleep. We both managed on and off to sleep through the rest of the journey which is a pleasant change, normally Chelsea is fast on and Liam is constantly moving trying to get comfortable until he gives up.
We arrived just outside Inle Lake in Shwenyaung a little after 5am. We had to get off here and get a taxi to the town of Nyaungshwe where ours and most of the guesthouses for Inle are. The taxi took around 20 minutes and we shared with other tourists and paid 2000kyat per person. We then had to pay the Inle Lake entry fee of $5 each at the entrance to Nyaungshwe. We were dropped off at our guesthouse first and then had the biggest shock of the night. Our room was ready. We would not have to sleep in the lobby or on the roof or in a staff members room, we could go straight to our bed. It remains to be seen if we will have to pay for an extra night. We are not sure how it works as we are booked in from the night of the 14th and turned up and 5.30am on the 14th.
After some much needed sleep, and a shower, by the time we were ready to go out it was almost midday. We had a small walk around the area our hotel and called at a little café for some lunch. It was a very small place with half a dozen tables, and we ordered a fish cake salad. At first they said they could not do it but then they said if we were prepared to wait it is ok. We had no plans for the rest of the day so we ordered a couple of drinks a waited. The wait was not very long at all and the salad was delicious. Fresh vegetables and fish cakes covered in coriander, lime and chilli dressing. Chelsea started to have bad headache and was still tired from our overnight journey so we came back to the room.
Our room is large with an attached bathroom and plenty of furniture but it needs some TLC. The wallpaper is coming off the walls and there is a fridge which is seriously rank and a TV that has no channels and will not tune in. It is clean though for the most part so we cannot complain.
We were ready to go out again around 3.30pm. We went a little further afield this time, exploring the remnants of todays market, a couple of souvenir shops and then called at a café for a chocolate milkshake. The town of Nyaungshwe seems nice from our first impressions, it is not very big but we like that and there are plenty of restaurants and cafes to spend a couple of hours in.
We decided to return to the place we had dinner for lunch as it was so nice earlier. This time we ordered the curry they do, beef with potato and chicken with potato. Unfortunately it was disappointing compared to our dinner and lacked much flavour.
Tomorrow we have booked a boat trip on Inle lake, there are lots to see and the boat will take us around the main sights. We have arranged it through our hotel so that other guests can also book on so it lowers the cost per person as you just pay the flat fee of 18000 kyat for the boat. We are both looking forward to this and just need to get some rest for our 8am start.