Next stop was Inle Lake, scenic picturesque and definitely hard to beat. The daily life in and around the lake is in abundance: the people and the fishermen and their modes of transport and their distinctive cones shaped fishing nets are a photographers paradise. We spent a whole day on the lake and surrounding area and were astounded at the beauty and rawness of Inle. It’s like stepping into a whole different time that you just would not find anywhere else on earth. It’s beautiful; the people are delightful, welcoming and full of life and joy. They invite you to into their homes and offer tea and treats just to chat.
A quick stop in Yangon before we headed in the other direction we visited the worlds largest Pagoda, Shewdegon. It was a full moon this night, so the place was filled with monks and locals there to celebrate the change of the Lunar months.
From here we headed along the coast and then over the mountains to Hapa Ann - another gorgeous region totally different to Bagan and Inle, far removed from today’s busy world. it’s extremely cultural and has only welcomed visitors for a few years. Hapa Ann Lodge is luxurious without being over the top, comfortable and welcoming, the food is top class, and the property is run by a French chef that spent many years working at the Stoke House here in Melbourne and his lovely wife. The food was equally delightful as the lodge. It was one of my favourite places on our 16 day journey.
Golden Rock is beyond comprehension. It’s a massive rock perched high in the mountains, where the clouds were within reach. It was a journey to get there that included a bus ride, and a ride in the back of a specially designed truck up the extremely steep mountain that took an exhilarating 45 minutes up the winding road. Once there we were bathed in clouds as we descended the truck. A little disappointed thinking it might rain, we continued our 20 minute walk up the top of the hill to the monastery but as we arrived at Golden Rock, the clouds parted and we got a breathtaking view of the shining rock. It was worth the scary ride up the side of the mountain and the hike up the hill just for this view.
We stayed the night in the mountain top hotel and I looked out over beautiful hills and rainbows that covered the sky - it was stunning.
Finally we headed back to Yangon, and it was exciting; magnificent hotels, historic buildings, food that was beyond delicious and again the very welcoming smiles and friendly faces of the locals. Some of the most interesting venues were tucked away in old buildings down little tiny roads, so unless you had a local guide you would never find them. A tuk tuk progressive dinner was a great option and it was an excellent way to spend our last night in Myanmar and end our wonderful adventure.
Myanmar certainly leaves an impression on you and I would visit again – there is so much to explore!