First impressions as we landed at Yangon was a) the heat which was a sweltering 37C ,and b) the strange mix of a modern city alongside corrugated roofed houses with mud floors and the very faded elegance of colonial houses that are still used as government offices although they have fallen into disrepair. Then add in incredibly elegant people, heaps of pavement stalls and gridlocked traffic and you get the picture. Yangon is a fascinating, bustling, noisy mix of tradition meets modernity, and given all the construction that is happening will be a changed place in 10 years time.
We went to Marhagandaryone Monastery with its 1,400 monks all lunching at 10.30am ( they are up early!). This is their last meal of the day, unless they are very young in which case they eat 3 meals. The monks spend a few hours each day carrying a large pot around the local houses and seeking food donations, so they end up with a pot full of a weird mix of unhealthy biscuits.
The next day we left with just a small rucksack each, picked up our guide I town and set off on our two day trek over the hills to Inle Lake.
Inle Lake was hot after the cool of the hill station at Kalow, But we were met by a boat which took us and our luggage on a gloriously cool 45 minute trip up to the north of the lake to our lake side hotel – a fabulous way to travel. We stayed at the Inle Lake Resort Hotel in a stilted house overlooking the lake. Delicious food, relaxing massages and of course delightful people.