Wet season on Inle Lake; Nguanshwe

We took an overnight bus from Hsipaw to Nguanshwe. A little different from most other overnight buses, the buses in Myanmar were not sleeper buses, so getting to sleep sitting upright is not ideal. Luckily for me I can usually sleep anywhere, so it wasn’t so bad… the guys took sleeping pills to cope, which you can buy OTC in Asia!

We checked into Gold star guest house and were introduced to the wet season in Asia quite abruptly… I don’t think it stopped raining for more than 20 mins at a time whilst we were here!

After giving up waiting for the rain to stop, the following day we decided to take a boat trip on the lake regardless. Many people live on the lake, either in floating villages or stilted houses. Those on stilts were far more impressive as they had to accommodate high floods in wet season. The season had only just started really, so most of the stilt was on show.
Heading out into the lake through floating villages

It in the centre of the lake I got a great ‘lonely planet picture’!!

Stilted houses
Local shop!!

People use the water ways between the reeds like roads

They even have floating temples on the lake!

Our boat man took us to many businesses and shops, I guess he got commission for any sales, but that’s ok, the trip was super cheap. In the shops the owners usually showed us what they do, with information too, so it was interesting anyway.

First to a reed cotton weaving factory.
Pulling the thread out

Then to a blacksmiths, who made knives and other items.
Tempering the metal
Lots of knives!

A silver smith

A traditional Myanmar cigar shop
We got a free sample here and actually the cigars are delicious, mellow tobacco wrapped in a leaf with corn sheafs as the filter.

Lastly we went to a shop owned by people from a long-neck Karen tribe. Their necklaces are a spiral of thick bronze which gets replaced every year by a longer piece. The process of fitting the necklace can take a full day! They never take it off after this, until one year later when it’s replaced. Incredible. A long neck is a sign of wisdom and beauty, but biologically, their necks are not longer, instead their shoulders are pushed lower.

On the way back it rained heavily with lightning hitting the mountains surrounding the lake
Black clouds…. scary!

The following day it rained heavily continuously… Steve and I visited a massage place down the road to kill some time. The lady who owned the shop was lovely, really friendly. She told us about her plans to start a local food cookery class. We volunteered ourselves to be her guinea pigs in the first class and pledged to go back the following day with Paul and Steffi.
Thae Su’s house!

Chicken curry ingredients
Frying the potatoes for potato curry
Ingredients for Shan sticky noodle soup (my fave)!
Finished product!

The day was great and the weather stayed nice during the cooking!

The Inle Lake area seemed beautiful, unfortunately with all the heavy rain I don’t think we came away with the best impression, as all we could do most of the time was stay inside, mainly in coffee shops and the internet cafe we found. The lake was also quite commercial and touristy, but it was still nice to see and chat to the people.


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