When we arrived at Heho airport we were surprised to learn that Inle Lake was actually an hour and twenty minutes away (poor research on our part I must say). We embarked on the journey via taxi – a very expensive one. Regardless of the first hiccups, we found Inle Lake to be breathtakingly beautiful.
Once at our hotel, the Novotel, we booked a sunset boat ride. As we explored the lake, we noticed the local fishermen known for rowing their boats with their legs as they try to catch fish with seemingly large traps. Sure, these guys posed for us a bit in exchange for small tip, but their presence, combined with the magic scenery, made our day.
Shortly after, we visited Mian Thauk, the local village, all on water and primitive looking, but well worth the visit. You can have a beer at the local bar, which is basically a wooden platform on top of bamboo pillars.
We ended our boat ride on the lake, watching what was one of the most beautiful sunsets we’ve ever seen. If you want to keep exploring the lake you can take a day tour with various stops along the way (shops, markets, villages, etc.), but a sunset trip might be perfect if you’re crunched for time.
The next day we debated whether we should stay on the lake and relax, or visit a strange collection of stupas known by the name of Kakku about 3 hours away from the lake. Six hours in a car sounded intense, but we discovered a shorter way via Google maps. Everyone was hesitant to take us that way, but our adventurer side kicked in and we convinced a local to take us. To say that the terrain was unfriendly is an understatement, but after only one hour and 15 minutes we arrived. Kakku was well worth it. Over 2,000 stupas and Buddhist monks visiting them with some Burmese people. We were the only Westerners there. It was an amazing, off the beaten path experience. We took the long way back (our driver insisted on this) and passed by the city of Taunggyi, where we bought some local cheroots, a.k.a cigars, and made it back to the Novotel for an afternoon of R&R.
I have to add, the massage I got at the hotel was probably one of the most amazing I’ve ever had, if not the best. Random, right?