Monday, June 20, 2011

Inle Lake, Myanmar

After spending 2 days in Bagan visiting the pagodas, our tour guard picked us from our hotel to the airport to continue our tour to Lake Inle the next morning.  It took us about an hour from Bagan airport to Heho airport .  From the airport we have to travel by van(1 hour drive) to the jetty before we can board the passenger  boat into Lake Inle.
Heho Airport
We board the passenger boat at the jetty, a boat can only seated with 6 people including the captain of the boat.

 This is one of the passenger boat going round the Inle Lake.
On the way to our hotel , we can see fishermen doing their catch in the lake.  To our knowledge, the fishermen in Inle Lake are the only fishermen  who use their ankles to row their boats while doing their fishing. This is the unique feature in Inle Lake.

Farmers scooping weeds from the lake for their farming. The weed as fertilizer for the farms.

Floating farms.  Another unique feature here.  According to our tour guard, the local here will cut a big piece of land from the side of the lake and drag it to the lake and do floating farming.  They have to use long bamboo sticks to stuck the piece of land into the shallow lake to prevent the land being float away.

Tomatoes are the most common vegetables planted in the floating farm, followed by cucumber, chili and local vegetables.

Floating houses and farms.

Our tour to Inle Lake include visit to some of the local cottage industries.  This is the traditional silk weaving.

Have anyone ever see tread make from lotus stem?  WE are really amazed to see this happening in front of our eyes. This lady use a knife to cut the stem of a lotus, twist a little and lightly pull, we can see the tiny silk like string being pull out. She will roll a few pull together to form tread. They will mix with silk to make their local costume.

The lotus tread

After the silk and lotus , we proceed to see the boat making.  At the same time we were able to see the traditional way of sawing wood.

On the road , we can see taxi station, bus station and railway station, but here we can see only boat station.

The next visit was the iron smith. They still using the olden way to make knifes and cutters.

Long necked women in Lake Inle.  There are only 5 such ladies left here.  They are the same as those we found in Nothern Chiangmei in Thailand.

After saying goodbye to the long necked women, we proceed to see the primitive way of melting silver and made into various silver wares and jewelery.

Finally, we were able to check into the hotel,Golden Island Cottage after completing our tour in Inle Lake. It was almost 5pm when we landed in the floating hotel.  There are 13 such hotels in this lake,according to our tour guard. All these hotels are very special because they are built in the lake but not on an in of land.

The environment is clean and the air is so quite.. so peaceful.

This is one of the twin sharing cottage.  The beds were attached with mosquito net because there are many insects at night.  The place is so natural that the hotel do not install any fans or conditionals.  The electricity will cut off at 12 midnight.

The beautiful sunset at the hotel.

We spent a night in Lake Inle and really enjoyed the real quietness of this place.  We found that the people here are so humble and contented with what they have and their daily routines.  People here are mostly farmers and fishermen and some of the local cottage industries.
After a quite and good night rest, we were pick up by the boat at 7.30am after breakfast to proceed to the jetty(1 hour ride) to catch the van to the airport(1 hour drive) to fly back to Yangon. Upon arriver , we were pick up by my brother;s driver to check into City Golf Resort for our last night stay here.  After our rest, the driver came and send us to a restaurant to have dinner with my brother and family.
After our final packing the next morning, the driver came with my sister-in-law to send us to the airport to catch our flight home.  Finally we touch Malaysian ground at about 4,30pm.
It was a very interesting tour, from the busy city to a poor country side,the people in the country sides are very innocent and pure and poor,and the gap between the very rich and the poor is very big, just like many other countries in the world.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A trip to Myanmar(burma)

Its been a long time since I am in this blog after Chinese New year.  Was busy and travelling.  This time make a trip to visit my brother and sis-in-law in Yangon. My son and 2 other friends came along with me.
We flew from Klia direct to Yangon, the flight took about 2 and 1/2 to reach our destination.  The time different in Yangon and back home is 11/2 hr behind time.  This is the end of winter and we can fill the heat once we were out of the airport.  Myanmar has 3 seasons, winter(Oct to Feb),summer(mar to jun) and raining season(July to Sept).  The temperature can go as high as 38 or even 40 degree F .  During our stay for 6 days we experience the temp between 19 to 38 degree F.  Morning is very cool will its hot like oven in the afternoon, the air con in the bus or car can't even cool down the temperature in the vehicles.
We were welcome by my sis-in-law's sister (winsome) at the airport as my sis_in-law(Judith) was busy with her meeting.  Once were at Judith's house, she got to photostat our passport to report to the police station, this the procedure if any visiting relatives are stay with the locals.  Unfortunately, the police station called and said we were not allow to stay with them!  So we have to move to hotel.  Judith manages to book us into City Golf Resort near the airport for only US28 per night under cooperate rate.
After settling down , Judith arrange with her driver to take us for gems stone shopping in Scott market, May & Mark and Gem museum.

My friends, Evelyn and Emily bought the most of the gems, but I don't fancy all these, finally they bought Sapphire, ruby and some jades too. real shopping. We brought not enough cash(all in USD), we have to loan from my brother. The business man in Myanmar don't accept credit cards.
The next day, we went to visit the famous Shwedagon Pagoda, it seem they placed the biggest diamond on top of the highest point of the pagoda. I can't see it even watch by the telescope provided, but other said they can see the sparkle sometimes depend on the sunlight shine from which directions.

From Yangon , we joined a local to Bagan and Lake Inle.  We flew to Bagan airport by focus airplane. This is my first flight in my life in this type of plane.

 A simple and small airport of Bagan
The first pagoda that we visit in Bagan, there are more then 2000 various sizes of pagodas in Bagan.  There is a saying if any tourist do not visit Bagan just like he/she never been to Myanmar.

some of the smaller pagodas.

A visit to the local market.  Can see all the organic vegetables.

Palm sugar

Local grown onions

Organic carrots

Unbleached cooking oil

Ladies making fermented tea, one of the appetizer before meals

Lots of river fishes from the river

All the big fishes

Using traditional weighing machine

Smallest egg plants i have ever seen

Dried fresh fishes(not salted fish)

Some more pagodas that go back to as early as 11th century, some of the pagodas were so strong that they can survive during the last 2 earthquakes.

Watching sun set on top of one of the pagodas.

We had 2 nights stay in this chalet, very comfortable and beautiful

Sun set by the riverside at our chalet.  Our next destination will be Lake Inle. I will continue in the next blog.