There’s a bus that leaves Bagan at 8pm and arrives at Nyaungshwe at 4 in the morning, and if anything says “this bus timetable was designed by someone on the spectrum” it’s that the average of those times is midnight. It’s a nice balance, see? Four hours either side.
If you’re smart and booked your bus ticket at Ostello Bello Bagan, and are super-smart and are also staying at Ostello Bello Nyaungshwe, they’ll give you (a) a beer voucher and (b) maybe a bed on the roof when you arrive at 4am, which is a Very Silly Time.
Nyaungshwe is a small town best known for being the way to get to Inle Lake, and that’s just about it. It’s a crossroads. There are four banks, none of which accepted my card. It’s good for three days, I guess.
The lake itself, Inle lake – which is stunning and shallow and quite beautiful. You can go and see the sunrise if you choose, which you shouldn’t because – as previously noted – this happens every day and is Very Early Indeed.
There are fisherman who fish with cones instead of rods, which doesn’t seem like it should work all that well but it looks pretty and after all what do I even know about fishing? Bollocks all, is the answer. Nothing. Cracking to watch them balance on the back end of the boat, though.
Our boat left at 11am – a time in the morning with two numbers in it, which is when the morning really ought to begin. We were done by two, including the enforced tourism at the silver factory and the umbrella shop and the ladies with very long necks who you probably shouldn’t gawk at too much.
And guess what? At lunch we saw the sorry fools who had been on the goddamned boat for nine goddamned hours which, if nothing else, is a testament to the actual value of money. Sure, you’re paying less per boat-hour, but how long do you want to be on a lake anyway?
Nice places to eat and drink:
Try the potato curry at Inle Palace, which is made of bamboo and has a clock with the numbers in the Burmese script.
The one owl grill has ace burgers if you’re in need of a western fix, and the beer cocktails are kinda delicious, too.
Chillax is great for nibbles and coffee shakes during the day, and the owners might be tempted to stay open a little later at night… but generally speaking, like all Burmese towns, Nyaungshwe shuts at around 10pm.
There’s the winery, which has a lovely view. The wine, though. Ever had a glass of Burmese Cabernet? Ever wonder why not?
Ostello Bello, again. It’s not the only game in town and there are plenty of very nice people staying in very nice Other Hostels, but they all seemed to end up at OB for rooftop beers. It’s still expensive, though, so probably tough if you’re on a budget.
Go to Venus Massage and have an old Burmese woman beat the living shit out of you for an hour. Honestly it was two weeks ago and the bruises are still there. My friend got the new girl but apparently mine was sweating buckets. Ace.