Inthein

return from inthein, dinner at everest nepali, and a full-body massage :-)

Tuesday, February 24:  We push off from Inthein near 4:00 and begin our hour-plus-long ride back through the canals and villages and eventually across Inle Lake back to Nyaungshwe.

Taking off from Inthein

Taking off from Inthein

The ride back through the canals is at full-throttle, past interesting foliage, huts, and ladies bathing in the water.  We zoom under a huge variety of footbridges.

We find our first signs of civilization back in the villages, which reveal glimpses into the locals’ daily lives.

houses on the shore

houses on the shore

local boy wading

local boy wading

and the boat goes on

and the boat goes on

pagoda

pagoda

a lone man

a lone man

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buildings along the shore

buildings along the shore

maybe a hotel?

maybe a hotel?

blue roof

blue roof

gardens of Inle Lake

gardens of Inle Lake

floating gardens of Inle Lake

floating gardens of Inle Lake

floating gardens

floating gardens

multi-tiered pagoda

multi-tiered pagoda

fishermen

fishermen

going through the villages

going through the villages

village homes

village homes

village homes

village homes

village transport

village transport

village homes

village homes

village life

village life

canals

canals

locals plying the waters

locals plying the waters

local people

local people

I love watching the small families paddling through the canal-streets of the villages in the waning sunlight.

Leaving the villages, we’re back in the midst of the floating gardens, quite pretty as the sun sinks on the horizon.

the floating gardens

the floating gardens

the floating gardens

the floating gardens

the floating gardens

the floating gardens

life in the floating gardens

life in the floating gardens

the floating gardens

the floating gardens

Traffic on the canals seems to be picking up.  It must be rush hour; time to get home for dinner after a hard day’s work on the lake.

local boy paddling

local boy paddling

the floating gardens

the floating gardens

the floating gardens

the floating gardens

Finally we’re back in the middle of the lake, where we can see the fishermen taking advantage of the last hours of daylight.

fishermen on the lake

fishermen on the lake

evening on Inle Lake

evening on Inle Lake

casting nets

casting nets

evening fisherman

evening fisherman

We also pass a number of long-tailed boats filled with tourists.  I wonder where they’re going.  Maybe to one of the fancier hotels on the lake.

tourist boat

tourist boat

Back in Nyaungshwe, I go to dinner at Everest Nepali Restaurant.  It’s very quiet tonight.   I can tell the tourist season in Myanmar is winding down.

Everest Nepali Restaurant

Everest Nepali Restaurant

I have a delicious meal of Paneer Curry, rice, and chapati, with chick peas and pumpkin accompaniments.  Of course, I enjoy a Myanmar beer too. 🙂  All of this for 5,500 kyat, or $5.50.

paneer curry, rice, chapati, chick peas and pumpkin accompaniments

paneer curry, rice, chapati, chick peas and pumpkin accompaniments

As I walk back to my hotel, I pass the pagoda I visited a couple of days ago.

pagoda in Nyaungshwe

pagoda in Nyaungshwe

I also find Lavender Spa & Beauty Center where I drop in for a one-hour Aromatic Therapy full body massage for 15,000 kyat (or around $15).  I’ve had a bad cough since the day I rode the motorbike in Bagan; the cough was brought on by breathing in the dust kicked up by the bike. I still have the cough and a sore throat at this point, so the massage feels wonderfully therapeutic.  I’m nearing the end of my 6-week trip through China and Myanmar, and I think I’m beginning to be worn down by it all.  No matter how I feel, though, I’m still managing to enjoy it all! 🙂

Lavender Spa & Beauty Center

Lavender Spa & Beauty Center

Lavender Spa & Beauty Center

Lavender Spa & Beauty Center

Tomorrow, I’ll be flying to Yangon, but first I’ll visit Pindaya, a most unusual cave. 🙂

Categories: Asia, Everest Nepali Food, Inle Lake, Intha people, Inthein, Lavender Spa & Beauty Center, Myanmar, Nyaungshwe, Shan State, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

the ruined stupas and pagodas of inthein: nyaung ohak & shwe inn thein paya

Tuesday, February 24:  At about 2:30, we finally arrive at Inthein, after our 8km-long cruise through the jungle-like Inn Thein Creek, a narrow canal.  My boat driver drops me without giving much direction, so I’m not exactly sure where to go or what I’m supposed to be looking for.  After wandering aimlessly for a bit, I fall into line with some Australian tourists.  We first stumble upon a group of crumbling stupas, much like those found at the Angkor temples in Cambodia.

The lakeside village of Inthein

The lakeside village of Inthein

The Nyaung Ohak stupas are smothered in greenery, but we can still spy some ornate stucco carvings of animals, devas (types of non-human beings who share the godlike characteristics of being more powerful, longer-lived, and, in general, happier than humans), and chinthe (lion-like creatures that are often seen at the entrances of pagodas and temples in southeast Asia).  Nyaung Ohak translates to “group of banyan trees,” according to Renown Travel.

Nyaung Ohak

Nyaung Ohak

Nyaung Ohak

Nyaung Ohak

Buddha at Nyaung Ohak

Buddha at Nyaung Ohak

Nyaung Ohak

Nyaung Ohak

detail at Nyaung Ohak

detail at Nyaung Ohak

Nyaung Ohak

Nyaung Ohak

Nyaung Ohak

Nyaung Ohak

Nyaung Ohak

Nyaung Ohak

tree growing out of Nyaung Ohak

tree growing out of Nyaung Ohak

Nyaung Ohak

Nyaung Ohak

Nyaung Ohak

Nyaung Ohak

I make a restroom stop at this cinderblock building with a corrugated metal roof.  From the outside, it doesn’t look like much, but it’s actually quite civilized and upscale.  Inside it has full (& clean) Western toilets with bidets!  This is a rare thing to find in most of Asia.  Myanmar never ceases to surprise me.

stylish toilets

stylish toilets

I climb up what seems like an endless (700m) covered walkway.  The local vendors are lounging about with their souvenirs.  There isn’t much business today and many of them are napping.

covered stairway to Shwe Inn Thein Paya

covered stairway to Shwe Inn Thein Paya

At the top of the covered stairway, I find Shwe Inn Thein Paya, a complex of 1,054 weather-beaten zedi (stupas).  Most of them were constructed in the 17th and 18th centuries, according to Lonely Planet Myanmar.

Shwe Inn Thein Paya

Shwe Inn Thein Paya

I am awestruck by this place with all of its stoic and leaning and ruined zedi.

Shwe Inn Thein Paya

Shwe Inn Thein Paya

Shwe Inn Thein Paya

Shwe Inn Thein Paya

Shwe Inn Thein Paya

Shwe Inn Thein Paya

Shwe Inn Thein Paya

Shwe Inn Thein Paya

Shwe Inn Thein Paya

Shwe Inn Thein Paya

Shwe Inn Thein Paya

Shwe Inn Thein Paya

chicken figure (?) Shwe Inn Thein Paya

chicken figure (?) Shwe Inn Thein Paya

Buddha at Shwe Inn Thein Paya

Buddha at Shwe Inn Thein Paya

Shwe Inn Thein Paya

Shwe Inn Thein Paya

Shwe Inn Thein Paya

Shwe Inn Thein Paya

Shwe Inn Thein Paya

Shwe Inn Thein Paya

the glowing Shwe Inn Thein Paya

the glowing Shwe Inn Thein Paya

Shwe Inn Thein Paya

Shwe Inn Thein Paya

Shwe Inn Thein Paya

Shwe Inn Thein Paya

Shwe Inn Thein Paya

Shwe Inn Thein Paya

Shwe Inn Thein Paya

Shwe Inn Thein Paya

On my return down the long walkway, I buy a few things from the souvenir stalls:  an enamel tray, cotton pants, a royal blue striped scarf, an enamel jewelry box and a Buddha head.  When I try to buy the Buddha head for 15,000 kyat, one corner of my bill is ripped and the vendor doesn’t want to take it.  I am willing to walk away from the sale, so, after much hemming and hawing, she goes ahead and takes my money. Little do I know how much trouble this Buddha head will cause me later.

By nearly 4:00, I’m back at the creek and ready to board my boat.

back to the boat

back to the boat

ready to board

ready to board

Back on the creek again, we begin our long journey back to Nyaungshwe.

 

Categories: Asia, Burma, Inthein, Myanmar, Nyaung Ohak, Shan State, Shwe Inn Thein Paya, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

a boat ride to inthein: inle lake scenes and intha fishermen

Tuesday, February 24:  At 1:00, after a busy morning in Nyaungshwe, I hire another long-tail boat to take me to Inthein.  To get there, we head south from Nyaungshwe, through the middle of Inle Lake, then into a narrow foliage-choked canal on the southwest corner of the lake.

me back in the long-tail boat

me back in the long-tail boat

In the wide part of the lake, my boat driver, who is kind and noble, takes me up close to some of the famous Intha fishermen who are famous for their technique of leg-rowing — in which one leg is wrapped around the paddle to move the blade through the water in a figure-8 motion.  Getting close to the fishermen makes for some interesting iconic photos.

Intha fisherman on Inle Lake

Intha fisherman on Inle Lake

locals on Inle Lake

locals on Inle Lake

Intha fisherman

Intha fisherman

Intha fisherman

Intha fisherman

Intha fisherman

Intha fisherman

Intha fisherman

Intha fisherman

Intha fisherman

Intha fisherman

Intha fisherman

Intha fisherman

Intha fisherman

Intha fisherman

fisherman on Inle Lake

fisherman on Inle Lake

flock of birds

flock of birds

along the route

along the route

villages on the way to Inthein

villages on the way to Inthein

villages along the route

villages along the route

more floating gardens

more floating gardens

As we enter the canal, we are surrounded once again by the floating gardens and the stilt-house villages.

villages near Inthein

villages near Inthein

We even pass a congregation of golden stupas along the way.

shoreline stupas

shoreline stupas

houses along the route

houses along the route

villages on the way to Inthein

villages on the way to Inthein

local homes

local homes

local houses

local houses

lakeshore homes

lakeshore homes

Welcome

“Warmly Welcome”

We pass under numerous little footbridges along the way.

bridges along the canal

bridges along the canal

Much of the time, we are in the wild, with jungle-like tropical foliage on each side of the winding canal.  Lonely Planet Myanmar describes the trip as having an Apocolypse Now ambience; I’ve even heard the trip compared to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. This might be the case on a cloudy day, but today, it’s sunny and warm and utterly delightful.

going under a bridge

going under a bridge

Myanmar Beer

Myanmar Beer

At about 2:30, after an hour and half in the boat, we arrive at a number of ruined stupas, where I get out of the boat to explore and come back with a bag full of souvenirs! 🙂

 

Categories: Asia, Inle Lake, Intha people, Inthein, Myanmar, Shan State, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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