After a stunning but exhausting 3-day trek from Kalaw, we finally made it to Nyaungshwe, an adorable little town that sits on the northern end of Inle Lake. As we only had a day and a half there (we wanted to maximize our time in Bagan, our next destination), we had to be selective with our activities. We opted for a winery and a day-long boat tour. Excellent choices!
Miles walked: 10
Miles transported: ~35
Red Mountain Estate Vineyards & Winery
For those of you who have traveled southeast Asia, you very well know that good wine is exceptionally hard to come by in these areas. Luckily, a Frenchman with an expertise in wine-making saw this very serious gap in the Burmese market and came to Nyaungshwe to establish the Red Mountain Estate Vineyards & Winery! Watching the sunset over the vineyards with a bottle (or two) of delicious wine in hand was a pretty epic way to celebrate the completion of our trek:
Enjoyed the sunset with our fellow trek-mates and some new friends:
And finished the night off with an amazing dinner:
Inle Lake Boat Tour
As this is one of the most popular things to do on Inle Lake, Francy and I, along with our trek-mates Frans and Miguel, decided not to question the general tourist consensus and hop on a boat for the day. I know, how “touristy” of us!
And off we went!
Made our way out of the canal, saying goodbye to the little monkitos:
Arrived at the beautiful lake:
And watched the fishermen’s unique fishing style that Inle Lake is so well known for:
This chick was just slapping the water with her paddle over and over again. I’m sure there was a good reason for it, but we weren’t privy to said reason, so to us she just looked like a deranged lunatic:
And these fellas were just collecting a crap-load of seaweed:
Made our way into the canal, winding through the floating villages:
Satellite dishes everywhere. Even the Burmese need to keep up to date with the Kardashians:
Sometimes even risking their lives for it:
First stop – a silver smith workshop!
Where we saw silver smiths in action (and even caved and bought a pair of earrings!!):
Filed back into our boat and continued through the floating villages:
Stopping next at a cigar factory, where they were rolling traditional Burmese cigars called Cheroots. They make them with a variety of flavors, including anise and banana. We got to taste them. They were delicious. We even ended up buying some as presents and souvenirs!
After all the cigar shenanigans, we made our way back to the lake:
And stopped at a nice place on the river (literally) for lunch:
Continued on to see Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda:
And some additional beautiful little pagodas lining the canals:
Stopped by Win Yadanar, a Kayan (Padaung) long-neck tribe:
Samsonite even got to try on some neck rings!
And finally, finished the boat tour with a visit to Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery:
I don’t know why, but this sign amused me:
They wouldn’t let Miguel in with his short shorts, so he tied my jacket around his waist. He’s clearly rockin’ this new fashion:
Hung out outside the monastery for a while, basking in the sunlight and beautiful scenery, before making our way back to Nyaungshwe:
And Even A Craft Brewery??
Not only did Nyaungshwe have a winery, it also boasted a brand new craft brewery, this one founded by an American. So the Frenchman founded a winery and the American founded a brewery – how stereotypical.
As we had time to kill before our night bus to Bagan, we decided to patron said brewery and see if its craft beer lived up to our American standards. It did.