Saturday, June 29, 2013

Day 5: Beautiful Inle (Inlay) Lake

16 May 2013 (Thursday)

The boatman (or rather boy) came to fetch us at Remember Inn. We left for the jetty at 7:30 a.m. on foot. The weather was mildly hot. Rain could be expected. Tropical storm Mahasen would be making landfall over Bangladesh today and its effect would be felt around here.

The boat boy leading the way
At a small shop near the jetty, he bought a big container of fuel and brought it to his long boat
Click to enlarge Inle Lake map obtained from Remember Inn
The route to Thaung Tho Market and Thaung Tho Pagoda was on the right and the return route on the left. Names in block letters were waypoints where we stopped. Click to enlarge.
The boat left the jetty at 7:55 a.m.

At 10:12 a.m. we reached the river mouth of Inle Lake
The scenery I was hopping to find did not materialise. I had wanted to see clear blue sky casting mirror images of the houses on stilts in calm water. It was too much to hope for. The lake and canal were choppy. The sky was for most part cloudy. Nevertheless, at certain parts of the lake, it was so picturesque. The eyes could see a vast expanse of beautiful scenery but the camera could only capture a small section of it. It was really beautiful and amazing.

He was not rowing with his leg

Reaching the end of our journey to Thaung Tho Pagoda and Market. This was our first and farthest stop from Nyaungshwe. From there, we would return and stop at other places of interest

At 9:54 a.m., we landed at the bank and walked to Thaung Tho Market

Most of the vendors had left ... it was only 10:00 a.m. and the market was already at the end of market day. If I had known that the market was closing this early, I would not have bothered coming here. It was 35 kilometres away from Nyaungshwe jetty based on my Garmin eTrex reading

Thaung Tho Pagoda was just a short walk away from the market
The lions guarding the old entrance to Thaung Tho Pagoda
Inside Thaung Tho Pagoda
Stupas at Thaung Tho Pagoda
On the way back, the weather was not kind to us. It was the effect of tropical storm Mahasen. In the distant, rain could be seen falling. We had no choice but to cancel the visit to Indein Pagoda, one of the places I have come to see at Inle Lake. I was sure that this was an excuse given by the boatman because he seemed reluctant to bring us there. Earlier, just as we were departing Nice Restaurant where we had lunch for our next intended destination of Indein Pagoda, he explained through a restaurant staff that the distant to Indein Pagoda was not far but it would take one hour one way to walk there from the jetty or two hours to and fro. I was disappointed.

At 10:50 a.m., we left Thaung Tho Market

12:10 p.m., we had lunch at Nice Restaurant
View from Nice Restaurant
View from Nice Restaurant

1:05 p.m., we arrived at Paung Daw Oo Pagoda

Strange scripts is written above the Bamar scripts
 At our last stop at the Jumping Cat Monastery (the formal name is Nga Phe Chaung Monastery), heavy rain came. As shoes were not allowed into the monastery, I had left them in the boat. Just as a boy was passing me my shoes, they dropped into the lake.

At 2:05 p.m., we arrived at Jumping Cat Monastery or formally known as Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

The cats have decided to stop jumping for the tourists. They must be fed up with the inconsiderate tourists.
Fortunately, the rain lasted a short time only. It was during the rain that I saw how beautiful the scenery was at one end of the monastery where the two rows of souvenir stalls stood. The two girls were able to return to Nyaungshwe well in time to catch their bus to Yangon at 6:30 p.m.

Rain, rain, go away ...
At 2:45 p.m., we left Nga Phe Chaung Monastery back to Nyaungshwe

The scenery at Inle Lake is changing. It will only accelerate. With more income, it can only be expected that the local people will want to build better homes, instead of building houses using woven bamboo and leaves. Houses with zinc roofing have already made their appearances and it wouldn't be long before the traditional houses disappear for good. Visit Myanmar before it turns into another Sarawak with no traditional longhouses left.

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