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Published: December 12th 2018
This morning I woke up to the sunshine coming through into our room. We opened the curtains to see the view and went back to bed with tea to enjoy it. Despite the good weather forecast it wasn’t long before the mists descended over the hills and the clouds got worse. We went to enjoy a very good breakfast instead.
Having splashed out on quite an expensive hotel it had a swimming pool I had been planning on using. Despite the clouds it wasn’t that cold so I went for a swim anyway - it was rather bracing and definitely not sunbathing weather but I enjoyed it anyway.
I then used the outside shower in our room which was quite a fun experience.
Packed up we checked out and got in the boat back to Nyaung Shwe and our cheaper hotel there. En route we asked to be shown some of the sights. The hotels prices weren’t much different to what we were quoted by the boat men in Nyaungshwe.
Our first stop was a silver smiths in Ywama. It was really interesting seeing how they get silver from the alloy and then work with it. You then get
ushered into their shop which is full of beautiful but very expensive items.
From here we went to see the Kayang women with neck rings and long necks. I found this a little disappointing - again we were dropped off at a shop and there were 2 women with neck rings sitting waiting for tourists (and their dollars). I couldn’t see any other women with the rings walking around the village. It felt all a little too set up and forced.
Next to the shop we were dropped off was another shop making parasols and paper - again I found watching how they did this interesting. The paper is made from Mulberry tree bark and decorated with flowers.
As I got back in our boat we were joined by a women selling a variety of local items from her boat. As we motored off she held on showing us different items! I ended up buying a pretty pair of Shan design earrings.
We then went to see the Nge Hpe Chaung monastery, famous as the jumping cat monastery. Sadly for us the monk that trained the cats passed away and they no longer have jumping cats. The monastery is
pretty enough to wonder around though and I was pleased to see plenty of happy cats still around, dozing in the sun.
Our final stop before heading back to Nyaungshwe was the floating gardens. The plants we saw were all tomato plants which were interesting to see. It’s a clever way of farming but is largely responsible for the reduction in the lake size by over 30% since the 1930s so its environmental impact is significant.
Back in Nyaung Shwe we found some lunch in a small restaurant which was surprisingly good. We had Shan noodles and were given dried peas as a starter and oranges for desert free of charge! (Our meal & colas for both of us cost about £2.50!).
We then checked into our hotel - it’s very new and shiny. This afternoon it decided to rain again so we wondered around Nyaungshwe trying to avoid the showers. It’s a small town but clearly relies completely on tourism - every building is a hotel, restaurant, spa or travel agents.
After trying to find somewhere to watch the sun set we wondered off for some dinner. Failing to find the night markets we ended up having
fab cocktails and dim sum.
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