inle: a day on the lake & a beautiful winery

My last stop in Myanmar (before heading back to the airport in Yangon) was Inle Lake, and it was unlike anywhere I’ve seen. The lake is massive, and scattered with entire stilted villages and markets. Fishermen dot the lake, maneuvering an oar with one leg while balancing with the other, arms preoccupied with various types of nets. I spent a full day out in a 5 person boat with some people from the hostel, visiting weaving factories, a blacksmith, and markets. We stopped for lunch at a friendly family’s house. It was delicious. After applying thanaka on our faces, we went for a canoe ride, luckily with a local woman to help steer us and keep us from tipping over. We all got to try rolling a traditional banana leaf cigar. We walked across a mini u-bein bridge. It was a fun, exhausting day. But well worth it, even if just for the sake of admiring these quaint floating villages.

The town we stayed in was called Nyaung Shwe, and is home to Red Mountain Winery – probably the best wine I’ve had in the last 5 months. They offer a tasting of 4 wines for about $5, as well as tasty food and dessert. Not to mention amazing views for sunset. I went twice.

The town itself is somewhat touristy, with travel agents on every corner and lots of western food places. But it’s cute, and easy to get around on bicycle. The real attraction is the lake, and as with most things in Myanmar, making it out for sunrise is definitely worth it 🙂

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