Day 12: A morning tour of Inle Lake before catching a ridiculous amount of flights to get back to New Jersey from Myanmar.
We still had some sights to see on our last day in Myanmar. Up nice and early, we enjoyed the Shan and American breakfast we preordered.
Our driver arrived at 8 a.m. and we started the boat ride to the temples.
The driver took us first to the market used by locals. We were dropped off where we had to walk by the tourist stalls to reach the local market. It was quite interesting to see the items the villagers would buy. There were foods, simple electronics, clothing, bamboo, and tools. Of course there were plenty of tourist stalls even in the local market section.
Back on the boat, we headed for my favorite sight of the lake.
Indein Temple Complex
After a long ride, we finally arrived at a village. Our driver dropped us off at the riverbank and said he would wait there. We weren’t quite sure where to go so we just followed the line of shops, passed a school in session, until we found ourselves at the outskirts of the village where temples laid in ruins.
This site is known to have a thousand stupas from the 17th century. We walked up a hill and a small dog followed us to keep us company. The ruins were totally overgrown and not protected. There was no entrance ticket and no other tourists.
We ventured deeper into the vegetation to explore the ruins until there were no more so we walked back to the road and followed the road up the mountain. We eventually saw that we were parallel to a cover walkway lined with tourist stalls. We went up to the top and found a huge collection of stupas. Some newly renovated in white and gold while others still crumbling. Seemed that they were all going to be repaired which is a shame. The ruins were much more impressive.
At the top of the walkway is a temple with more stupas. There were crews busy restoring the structures as we walked around.
Back through the village, we found our driver and rode to the hotel. We got our bags, checked out of the Paramount and took a long ride back to the town. The drizzling rain made the journey especially solemn.
Journey from Heho to Newark
We paid our driver and the prearranged taxi took us to the airport. Our driver shoving betel nut chews into his mouth reminded me that we still had one to finish, which I tried to appreciate on the way to the airport.
At the airport we had plenty of time and our flight was late. For some reason, almost all the flights are scheduled to arrive and depart the same time.
Soon Mandalay Airways arrived, then Yangon Airways. I walked to the attendant by the door and asked if our flight had arrived. She peaked around the door and said “it’s coming”. I assumed the plane was taxiing in our direction, when all of a sudden it lands right in front of me!
Asian Airways was surprisingly good (their meal even had a tray!) and the only one to offer a one stop flight to Yangon that day. Christina debarked at Mandalay and we said our good byes. Then I continued to Yangon.
The flight was 15 minutes late and I had an international transfer to catch. On touchdown, I jogged over to the international terminal and was right on time to check into the Thai Airways flight to Bangkok.
In Bangkok I had a few hours to relax in a lounge with whisky cokes before my next flight to Stockholm.
With another two hour layover, I had breakfast in an empty lounge before the flight back to Newark.
What an intense and memorable trip to and from Myanmar and Indonesia!