We swapped our bikes for boats for a day on Inlay Lake, an impressive sight as we started out in the thick early morning fog. There were fishermen using a leg-rowing technique, farmers who have made the seaweed into floating gardens for vegetable production and weavers using lotus-fiber to create some fine scarfs. Myanmar people seem to be quite resourceful in using what they have to make the most of it. I guess living under self-imposed isolation for decades can engender that.
From there we rode back over the Shan Hills down to the brand new capital city of Nay Pyi Taw, which is covered in concrete, from the roads to the grandiose lotus flower sculptures in the roundabouts. In front of the parliament house is a 20 lane road. Yes, 10 lanes each way. And it was empty. But on the 2 lane roads, traffic was packed 😉
It was a straight shot south to Yangon, or Rangoon as it was known earlier, the biggest city of Myanmar and motorcycles are banned from entering the city. We parked outside the city limits and took a drive to the grandest pagoda of them all, Shwedagon. It is said to have started out in the time of the Buddha, 6th century BC, and has slowly grown over the years to now be 100 m tall. And it’s covered in gold. They say now it probably has about a 100 tons of gold, which has been donated by the people of this country. That says something about their real wealth. We ended the night with some BBQ on Nineteenth Street, a popular eating joint in Chinatown and got a flavor of the old Rangoon.
Leg rowing on Inlay Lake
Lotus-fiber scarf on Inlay Lake
Empty concrete roads of Nay Pyi Taw
Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon
19th Street Yangon Chinatown