Our time at Mandalay finally came to an end and we boarded a plane to Heho. Our guide warmly welcomed us at the airport and immediately, I told her if I don't want to go to Pindaya, what are my options. Pindaya is mainly famous for its limestone caves called Pindaya Caves where thousands of Buddha images have been consecrated for worship over the centuries... I can't see how this would impress me after being disappointed at the Pyin Oo Lwin cave...
|small but currently renovating|
|local craft stop on the way to town|
|girls making paper from pulp|
|the friendly and funny shop owner|
|no law on child labor here|
|the blooming Phoenix tree|
|wonder what he's doing|
|an unknown temple we randomly stopped at|
After some discussion, we decided to go to a local vineyard (Red Mountain Estate) - YAY!!! Since we had extra time, we had more time to explore on our way and our guide also took us to the Nyaung Shwe market for a look-around. We picked up quite a bit of snacks and we had a picnic style lunch at the winery.
|pretty minority girl|
|selling Shan rice|
|selling Shan tofu|
|a variety of beans|
|colorful baskets, perfect for picnics|
|avocado larger than my hand|
|biking around town|
|cooking asphalt to pave roads|
Although the wine itself wasn't impressive (the chardonnay was just okay), I loved the view from the vineyard. In fact, I heard there are two vineyards in the area, the other being owned and operated by a German entrepreneur, the Aythaya Vineyard. Maybe the other winery would have offered better wines? Either way, I am just glad we didn't go to Pindaya. Our guide finally said during lunch that the roads to Pindaya are rough and bumpy and it's just another caves filled with thousands of Buddha statues...
|doesn't this look like the beginning scene of "Lunar - the Silver Star Story"?|
|wine tasting @ 3,000 kyats|
Chardonnay is extra
After lunch, we took a speed boat to our hotel at Inle, the Golden Island Cottages. It almost looked like a resort you only see at Bora Bora or Maldives. When we arrived, we were warmly welcomed by a crew of hotel staff. Since we got there earlier than expected, we were able to spend more time at the cottages. I love this place!!! We lounged at the balcony and observed the locals, some of them were catching fish, others were taking a swim, or just enjoying themselves. There was this kid with his sister singing and jumping on their boat. I can't understand what he was singing but I know that he sounded happy and content. Their family probably have their own worries just like the rest of us, but life is so much simpler and happiness seemed easier to reach here.
|our cool captain and smily guide|
|The famed Intha one-legged rower|
|the picture didn't do the lake justice, it so much prettier there|
|love the fuchsia umbrellas|
|warmly welcomed by the hotel staff|
|perfect way to spend an afternoon|
Since there is no transportation after night-fall, we ate at the hotel. It was quite pricey, and we expected better quality. To our disappointment, the fish was stale. Unbelievable! How could the hotel serve stale food to their customers when there are plenty of fish in the lake and the lake is just below us, notwithstanding the fact that they were also charging us a premium???
|picturesque, almost unreal|
|looks good but the fish is staled - yes, even when there were fresh fish just beneath us in the lake!|
everything else was good otherwise
|imagine walking 8 minutes on this bridge,|
only it's lizard infested... ~~>.<~~