We didn’t realise at the time but this was part of Inle Lake, we had arrived!
There were a few more inclines on day 3, but nothing too intense and we were not rushing, in fact, it felt like a slow walk. Day 3 saw more ‘civilisation’ and less nature. We passed by a monastery and stopped to watch the young monks play football outside. There was more of a road now and at times we would be walking through construction sites where they were working to make the road better. I say construction sites very loosely, it was mainly women laying stone on the floor with their hands!
We were also seeing more and more tourists, it seems there was just one path that everyone takes to Inle Lake from here. At our first proper rest stop, a hut-like-shop selling the usual snacks, we were joined by herds of other tourists who were not doing the trek by foot but on the back of a pick-up truck!
We arrived at the checkpoint where we had to pay our entrance fee at what felt like lunchtime. Then it was a quick stop for lunch in the only ‘restaurant’ around with what seemed like every other person that had just completed the trek (based on how dirty we all looked). Taking off our hiking shoes at this point felt SO good, although the hike hadn’t felt intense at all, my feet were tired and had worked hard.
A short walk brought us to a cute tiny village/collection of houses on stilts, we followed a stream that quickly turned into a canal, we didn’t realise at the time but this was part of Inle Lake, we had arrived!
Our guide directed us to a small wooden boat and we bundled in. This one of my favourite parts of the trek, the first impression of Inle lake. The journey started floating through a tiny channel at the beginning, going slowly past the floating gardens, then suddenly, the vast lake opened up in front of us, gorgeous! The deep blue beautiful lake that i had dreamed about, and it was just huge! Becuase we had started quite south of the lake and were being dropped off at the very north where the town of Nyaung Shwe (pronounced Nwang Shway), is with all its budget accommodations we had a great opportunity to watch the comings and goings and life on the lake as we plodded past the other boats. The scenery was spectacular, I was so excited to finally be here.
We reached the small town of Nyaung Shwe by late afternoon, the guide came with us and walked each group to their preferred guesthouses in order to make sure that our luggage had also arrived safely, that was a nice touch. It had been a great trek, with good people, I had reached my dream destination, and was happy, for now. Read more about what then happened at Inle Lake here.
The trek wasn’t half as hard or strenuous as I thought it would be. The mountains are more hills and there are only a few inclines and even then they weren’t overly steep. There is A LOT of walking involved, hours each day, but at a relaxed pace.
Nature is not the main focus here, although the scenery on the way is pretty. It is more of a cultural trek, seeing how people live in rural Myanmar, it was an interesting insight. The homestays were a nice experience, if we had got to interact and chat with the families more that would have been a bonus, but eating the local food and showering outdoors was great! MMmmm that peanut curry was good!