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Published: October 29th 2017
Sunset over the lake
the ride from jetties in Nyaungshwe to Golden Island Cottages in Nampan took about an hour
I am not sure what time we arrived at Shwenyaung but it was 7:30 at the cottage on the lake. The taxi to the jetty in town was about half hour then it was an hour to the far south in an open boat with little wooden armchairs for seats. For approximately half the distance the sun was going down then we arrived in darkness. I have already spent an hour admiring the room. It is actually a chalet on stilts over the water.
I get the feeling that Myanmar has so much variety that you would never be able to know it as a country, just one small part. Now that travelers are going into new areas it would be interesting to see if they are different again from the familiar ones.
28th October A day on the lake
To see this incredible place I had a guide and chose to visit the weaving village In Phaw Kone, Nampan fishing village, Maing Thauk mini U-Bein bridge, experienced a ride round the village with a lady foot paddling. However, the floating market was at Ywama and no longer floats due to the drop in the lake's water level. Apart
Golden Island Cottages
having arrived in the dark it was lovely to see the morning sunrise
from a small area it was full of souvenirs for tourists.
My guide arrived by boat about 15 minutes before 9 and I had already prepared by packing my suitcase and having my breakfast.
Jo (Kyaw) had a plan to see famous monasteries and Pagodas around the lake but I was more interested in seeing local life. I told him the places I would like to go and he said because I was skipping so many that we would be finished by 1. That would be fine for me as again I was up early to see sunrise.
We started at the village of In Phaw Kone where the people weave Lotus threads, silk and cotton into scarves, jackets and Longii. Their biggest Market is Japan and understandably the cost is high for example a scarf is about £ 20. Many local people greeted Joe and I thought it was because he is known as a guide. However his father comes from the village and everyone remembers Joe as a child. They invited me to join them for morning tea. Of course I did sit down and drink with them. They were also very interested to know about
Sunrise at GIC
all around my cottage was a beautiful glow with the light changing hues quite quickly
my life and found it very funny when I said my husband would be taking a tea break at this time.
Next stop was the Ywama Village Market I was lucky that the 5-day Market was on today. However I was disappointed to see that most of it is tourist tat. Also it used to be a floating Market going around to different villages every 5 days, now this one is on land because the lake level has dropped so much. Joe spoke with some of the vendors he knew and the only part I was interested to see, the local market, was packing away when we got there. The village people hire boats to bring them from their village with all their goods and then take them all home again ready for the next day's market.
We then went to Grandma's Kitchen which was a private home used by Khiri to provide Shan noodles, fried tofu, drinks and fruit to people on guided trips.
After lunch I reminded Joe that a slow and steady trip was fine for me and we went to the temple where the big leg rowing Festival is held over 18 days culminating on the
18th of October. The Buddhas from that Temple are paraded around the lake stopping nights in different villages and three in the main town. It must be an incredible sight. In 1965 there were 5 Buddhas on the boat and as they left the pagoda they tipped over and fell into the water, the fifth one was not recovered for some time. Apparently it was not found with the other four but the next day it appeared on the podium with them so from that time it has become an extremely sacred Temple to visit. It is very recent for a legend and when they took the five in 1968 again a storm blew up and it was dangerous. Since then only four Buddhas are paraded and men visiting the temple put gold leaf on these. Now they just look like blobs. I asked Joe if he does that and he said about 3 times a year.
Our last stop was at Maing Thouk, the village joined to the land by a long wooden bridge. My lady paddled the boat between the houses and gardens whilst I sat in the bottom admiring the view. What a lazy day I had
out on the water.
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