Here is part two of Pete’s epic Myanmar adventure and we promise you it is just as thrilling as Part 1. Sit back, get yourself a cuppa and enjoy.
Day 4: Kalaw
We set off early in our bus to Kalaw. The views on route of the open plains and picturesque mountains were enough to keep me awake throughout the entire journey. Once we arrived we commenced on another mini adventure round the town. We got lost in markets of clothing and handmade jewellery, there was so much to look at you could be in the markets for hours! We then climbed to the highest point of the town which had an amazing birds-eye view of the surrounding area.
Day 5: Kalaw continued
The next morning we awoke early for our trek through the tea leaf fields. Stocked with water and breakfast in our bellies, we arrived at our starting point and were greeted by one of the locals. He introduced us to the town and the produce the villagers’ farmed: Ginger, Avocado, Tea Leaves and Tangerines. We then ventured from the village to the fields along narrow pathways with outstanding views of the green natural landscape that surrounded us.
Once we reached the highest point of our trek we looked down and saw the spectacle of tea leaves below us. These were actual PG Tips at its most basic form – who would have thought they grew in such a magnificent place? Whilst trekking we met several farmers speaking in their local tongue, it was so interesting to see how they lived and worked amongst this beautiful land. Every time we passed by a local we would greet each other with Mingalabar and smile.
After several chants from Jungle Book and snapping enough profile pictures to last a life time, we had reached our destination – Shan Village. We were welcomed into a homestay like restaurant and served crunchy warm crisps, cabbage noodle soup, a tasty stir fry and obviously, tea. As the massive pot brewed at the centre of the table there was a sense of accomplishment (plus a relief to our slightly sore feet). Our lingo had upgraded by this point, to which we left their abode with a ‘Chezubah’ (Thank you). There was no doubting this place was enchanted and untouched by tourism and we all felt slightly smug that we were experiencing such raw unspoiled beauty.
Day 6: Inle
We all had that feeling that the good times were coming to an end when we arrived at our final destination for the last two nights of the trip. More comfortable in our Myanmar surroundings we passed the locals like we had lived there for years, asking for the local super market, where’s good to eat or just saying ‘Mingalabar’ to every person we passed.
With locally crafted multi-coloured hats secured on our heads protecting us from the midday sun, we headed off on a longtail boat trip. We set out into Inle Lake surrounded by fishermen, houses on stilts and other long boats flying across the calm water. Our first stop was a gigantic Pagoda, nestled on the banks of the lake. We removed our footwear, wrapped our longi (local cloth) across our waists and tiptoed across the scolding tiles and marvelled at the elaborate temple.
Next we visited a workshop in a stilt house across the lake and watched several elderly women hand craft delicate materials and laced garments. I remember being hypnotized by their accuracy and speed of the threads looping one by one. We then saw a team of Blacksmiths batter smouldering metal into carving knives and Samurai swords!
Day 7: Inle Continued
SO our great adventure had come to the end and it was time for a lot of us to head back home, or for the lucky ones another exotic destination. Our final supper and farewells was an emotional affair where we spoke vividly of the amazing experiences we’d all been through together. Every family, restaurant, temple and beer station could not have tried harder to accommodate every one of us. A beautiful country enhanced by the love of the Burmese villagers.
I’ll see you again one day Myanmar. I hope you stay exactly how you are, but, until then, I say ‘CHEZUBAH’!