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Initially John and I only planned on staying in this small town right at Inle Lake for only one night. However we noticed quite fast that the 3 day trek from Kalaw to get here had cost us way more energy than first thought. After a warm shower we finally felt clean again and decided to spend our afternoon by cycling around town and tanning next to the pool which was unfortunately closed. In the evening we sat down in a cute restaurant we found to enjoy a propper meal during candle light before falling into bed.
The next morning started not as planned. Well, does it ever while backpacking? We had to move to another hotel because for some reason it wasn’t possible to extend our stay unless we paid tripple the price. Some other things had to be organized as well: firstly we had to find a place to go to next, we still had no clue where to book bus tickets to and secondly, we wanted to join a cooking class which we also hadn’t booked yet. Another hotel was found quite easily and only a few hundred meters away. After moving there we cycled down the main street hoping to find a place to book our bus tickets. Faster than thought we had two tickets booked for Hsipaw the next morning. Now only the cooking class was left and unfortunately most of them had started early in the morning already. The nice women that sold us our bus tickets told us about a place just up the road which apparently had afternoon classes as well. Of course we didn’t find it but after turning a few times, we ended up at another place: Y Win Cooking Class. The best thing that could have possibly happened to us. With a big smile on her face Win already greeted us from the driveway. We quickly agreed on 6 meals we wanted to learn how to cook and right after we were already following her motorbike with our bicycles to the local market.
Pretty sure that we would have been completely lost without her, she showed us around, let us try all kinds of fruits and patiently answered all our questions. It was only noon and we were supposed to meet again in the evening but Win insisted on cooking lunch for us after asking her for a restaurant. So, again we were following her on our bicycles only this time back to her place where we enjoyed a super yummy rice dish. With full tummies we cycled back to our hotel with a little stop at a cafe.
We didn’t have much time to relax before Win and her dad were waiting in front of the hotel with their car. They drove us to her brothers place where everything was prepared already. We cut veggies and fruits, learnt how to drown literally everything in a bunch of oil and prepare delicious vegetarian curries. While cooking, her whole family was watching us, or more like watching John practicing his kitchen skills and laughing about me. At least they were all fans of my dimples. Anyway, we enjoyed a beautiful evening together and ate delicious food (lots of it!). Win even took the time to sit down with us and dictate all ingredients so that I could write down the recipies. When we woke up the next morning she even had snacks for us delivered to the hotel for our bus ride! How cool is that! Hommade white and black sticky rice and some sort of tea leaves salad. We couldn’t have left Nyaungshwe any happier!
THINGS TO DO IN NYAUNGSHWE
Boat trip: A boat trip is ususally included when getting here from Kalaw via trekking. Otherwise you should definetly book one! See the floating gardens and the local fishermen.
Bicycle tour: Yes, we are fans of cycling.. I guess it’s in our North German DNA. Easiest way to get around town and a good way to explore the lake and even the winyards that are not too far from Nyaungshwe (yes, there are wine tastings…).
Cooking class: Even for people that haven’t even owned a kitchen in the last few years like me definetly worth trying! There are many different cooking classes, most of them starting with market visits early in the morning. I can recommend Y Win Cooking Class where we’ve had a blast. She is absolutly amazing and even prepared a completly vegetarian cooking class for us.
Gym: If you eat as much as we do and try to stay in shape try the local gym here. People are super friendly and it only costs 2000 Kyatts per day. They have all kinds of equippment and even a seperate room with a big mirror perfect for practicing Yoga. You can easily find the Gym on Google or MapsMe.
HOW TO GET THERE
Buses are leaving from all bigger towns towards Inle Lake. However I can’t recommend enough to get there by trekking from Kalaw!
WHERE TO STAY
We stayed at WeStay which was alright. The rooms were massive and really clean. They even had a pool and a breakfast buffet. Apart from that a brand new hostel had just openend which looked like a great place for solo travellers, it’s called BaobaBed.