My adventure in Myanmar begins in Yangon. My German friend, Sandra, and I made it on our flight safe.
When we landed, everything went smooth at immigration. While waiting in line we ended up meeting a couple more people we would end up hanging out with occasionally on the trip. In the baggage claim area, there were about six of us all-hanging out and waiting to use the ATM. None of us knew what to expect and because of that we sort of became instant travel companions. I joined three others in the group, Ann-Sophie, Sabine, and Helen in a cab that took us to our hostels. Sandra had to hang back and wait for her sister’s plane to arrive and then they were going to stay at the apartment of a friend of Sandra’s, who she had met in Lombok, Indonesia.
After Sabine and Helen got settled in to their hostels, we joined each other for dinner for local food at sort of a night market food area. Our hostels were pretty close together and were close by Sule Pagoda. We had dumplings and chicken on a stick for dinner and planned to meet up the next morning for some sightseeing.
At 9:30 the next morning we met and went for a little local breakfast. Helen and I had a noodle and dumpling soup. Both of us found it to be very tasty! From there we wondered around to a number of temples and parks throughout the day. In order of the picture, we saw the Karaweik Palace, the laying Buddha at Chaukhtatgyi Buddha Temple, the sitting Buddha at Ngahtatkyi Pagoda Temple, and the iconic Shwedagon Pagoda. I had tried meeting up with Sandra all day too, but there wasn’t a point we were able to connect.
The next day I joined Sandra’s crew and we met up at a market and then grabbed the city train to get to the neighborhood they were staying at. From there, we took a cab to the bus station and hopped on a night bus to Inle Lake.
The night bus to Inle Lake was extremely bumpy! None of us got any great sleep and when we arrived near the town, we just got dropped off to then get shuffled on to the back of a sort of pick-up truck with benches and a roof. This early in the morning, it was cold. Fortunately, we had some long pants on and winter jackets from the extremely cold air-conditioned bus, but I was feeling bad for the guy that only had a pair of running shorts and a t-shirt on.
After about a 10-15 km ride to town, we decided to walk to the hostel we booked instead of paying more for a short taxi ride. Maybe 15-20 minutes later, after arriving, Helen and Sabine walked past our hostel. We all decided to meet for coffee once we got checked in to our respective places. As we drank our coffees and tried planning the days adventure, we all decided to rent some bikes and follow a road around one part of the lake, which also involved a boat ride and a stop at a winery. We planned the bike ride in a way that we could enjoy the wine tasting at the end of the trip. We all pretty much agreed that the wine was not that good, but alcohol is alcohol and the scenery was great. After the bike ride, we all freshened up and met at an Indian restaurant for some food before calling it a night.
The next morning, Sandra, the girls, and I went on a boat ride for the day on Inle Lake. The other girls went on a separate trip. One of the problems is that only 5 people are allowed per boat, but it all worked out. I was able to see jewelry weaving, cloth weaving, tobacco rolling, fishing, etc. on the trip. Even though I know it is all just set up for show for tourists, I enjoyed my time on the boat with the sun on my face and wind blowing through my hair.
After we got back, we got ready to take the night bus to Bagan. Helen and Sabine decided to stay longer in Mandalay to do a two-day trek. Before we headed off we ran into them and was able to say our goodbyes. Off to Bagan we go!!
The bus ride to Bagan was just a bad as the one to Inle Lake. The only difference was we were more prepared for it. One nice thing about taking this night bus was that we were able to catch the sunrise. We hired a driver to take us to our hotel, then take us to the sunrise spot, and bring us back. It was a bit pricy I thought, but I wasn’t to bothered by it because this is going to be the most expensive place overall in Myanmar, I think.
After we finished our sunset viewing, we got some breakfast, went for coffee, and then bounced around from temple to temple in the area on electric scooters until sunset.
I really enjoyed my time here and the only thing that sort of malfunctioned was my iPhone. A whole batch of photos just came out with just a grey screen. Hopefully I can find a solution to save the lost photos.
The next day we took a day bus to Mandalay where Sandra and the girls went to the Mandalay airport to catch a flight to Thailand and I went a hostel in Mandalay called Four Rivers B&B. Very nice place, but the showers were colder than cold. Definitely going to make sure the next place I book has hot showers!
Recap… up to now!
I’d have to say I had a really good time with Sandra and company. They really made this part of my trip a blast and even though we flew through Myanmar pretty quick, it flowed with the way I like to travel. I originally was going to join them on their trip to Thailand and Laos, but the Gibbons Experience (a 2 day one night treetop living adventure) was fully booked and I would not have been able to join. I do hope to meet up with them again. Next time maybe somewhere in Europe or their home, Germany. Thanks for the amazing time ladies!!!!