Inle Lake / Pindaya, Myanmar

Unfortunately we both seem to have got some sort of food poisoning in Mandalay, and were pretty sick by the time we got to Inle lake, so the first few days were spent mostly in bed. Thank goodness for Cipro, which our doctor recommended bring along, but in fact is very easy to get here. After taking Cipro for 3 days we were feeling good again.

Inle is very picturesque, the villages around the lake that are all built on the water are really interesting, and the market the rotates between 5 lakeside villages is really good. You can hire a boat for a full day to take you around the lake for about $15.

Unfortunately February is the month they burn the fields after harvest (mostly sugar cane and corn), so the air is thick with smoke, which you’ll see in many of the photos. We were told that December and January is the best time to visit.

Photos from Inle Lake are here.

Then on to Pindaya, a small town about 1.5 hours away, and famous for its Buddha Cave, which was very interesting, but the spider was pretty silly. Check out the photos.

We stayed in a nice hotel that was completely empty the first night besides us. The hotel staff was super helpful and friendly, and they even had free mountain bikes and free laundry service. Hotels in Myanmar are a bit nicer than other places in SE Asia. Small guest houses are less common, and medium size hotels (20-30 rooms) are the norm. They are a step up from similarly priced (around $25/night) places in Thailand or Cambodia: e.g.: each bed has 2-3 pillows, and there is central hot water rather than tiny on-demand units. However the wifi is pretty awful in Myanmar compared to most other places in SE Asia.

I also went to the nearby town of Kalaw for a 1 day bicycle trek (31 miles, 4100ft of hill climbing), which was good to help me get back in shape after being sick. Kalaw also has a pretty cool Buddha cave, but not as good as Pindaya.

Photos from Pindaya are here and Kalaw here.

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