CULTURAL IMMERSION AT INLEAn overnight bus ride from Yangon brought me to Nyaung Shwe in the Shan State of Myanmar. After the hustle and bustle of the city, it felt great to be in the Burmese countryside. I had two full days at hand, so I decided to explore the countryside on the first day and floating villages on the second day.I set off on a day hike with my local guide. We walked through villages, corn fields, and tobacco farms, while she told me more about herself and the region. She was chatty and loved her paan, while I loved her company.The highlight of the morning was stopping for a home-cooked meal at one of the villages. Our host was a former teacher at the village school. She whipped up the most delicious meal with instant noodles and fresh vegetables from her farm. It was like nothing I’ve had before, and it felt wonderful to sit in her kitchen and spend time with her.I loosely knew what my itinerary would be like at Nyaung Shwe and Inle, but I never imagined stumbling upon a horse farm, a coffee bar, and a vineyard! All within walking distance from each other, with equally stunning views of the sunset.
This is one of the most famous places to visit in Myanmar and the gateway to the beautiful Inle Lake. Surrounded by floating villages and monasteries, the memories of floating on this mountain lake will always be special.
Nyangshwe is a small touristy town north of the Inle Lake. There isn't much to do here in terms of sight seeing (except a few pagodas), so the main essence of this town can be experienced by just roaming around the streets and interacting with the locals. On our way from the Heho Airport (traveling via plane), we visited a paper factory and the Shwe Yan Pyay, a teak wood monastery built in the early 19th century. The amazing oval windows and the richly decorated mosaics and Golden ornaments make this monastery stand out among the rest.