I can't believe this post took so long to complete! :P The past half a year into my job just took up so much time and energy plus the ongoing wedding preparations that has recently ended.
Anyway, I have decided to share my wonderful travelling experience in Myanmar because it was unexpectedly pleasant and i would have loved to stay longer if i could.
It was an 8 days trip. Itinerary breakdown as follows:
1. Arrive in Yangon (celebrated my birthday there!)
2. Flight to Ngapali beach x 2 days (would have extended it!)
3. Flight back to Yangon (unfortuantely, no straight lfights from beach to inle lake)
4. Flight to Inle lake (we extended our stay by 1 night!)
5. Flight back to Yangon.
I arrived in Yangon on my birthday! My lovely 'now husband' brought me to this place called Belmond Governor's Residence
for a romantic birthday dinner!
It was really dark when we got there or rather i suspected that's the look they were going for.
It really is a gorgeous gorgeous place in the day though!
Plus, the rooms look amazing too! I already told him i wanted to stay here the next time we came to yangon. :D
See what i mean??
The food was pretty awesome too.
Shall we take a moment to appreciate my outfit? :D
The next day, we set off for our next destination Ngapali beach. Here's the classic old school domestic airport where check in counters are literally pop up booths. The domestic plane we took was also using propeller engine blades instead of the newer turbo ones.
And we arrive in paradise!
I'm so glad i ended up picking this accomodation: The Residence by Sandoway which offers standalone beach front rooms facing the sea.
I mean just look at these gorgeous pics of the property! And I'm happy to say that the actual location did not disappoint.
I wanted an upper floor room at first, but they gave us a ground floor room instead which ended up even better with easy access to the beach. I'll let the videos do the talking! It was literally an open door to beach paradise.
My own pictures of the property. The entire room and toilet is rather spacious and despite having a mosquito net, we didn't face any trouble with the bugs, though it is advisable to burn the mosquito coils and keep the balcony doors closed at night.
The best part of it is the quiet and peaceful beach! This is of course since ngapali beach is not as well known as the neighbouring Indonesian and Thai beaches like Bali and Phuket so you don't get that many tourists yet.
Breakfast had to be taken at the next resort which is a 10min walk away, so we had a lovely walk by the empty beach every morning.
There are also not as many facilities and activities available, this is really the place to go if you want to just chill and do nothing!
That night, there was a heavy thunderstorm and wow the sound of the raging sea and deafening thunder was rather scary. Oddly enough, it was also therapeutic at the same time, lying on a nice bed with your loved one, while it was pouring outside, feeling so close to nature.. You get the drift.
Despite the seemingly developed tourist resorts, we wanted to explore the rest of Ngapali and so we did by bicycle.
These were the real living quarters of the Ngapali people, where it was really hot and humid, with soil and grass as their ground floor pavements. We also watched how a group of kids hung around by their wooden houses, playing with a bottle cap as their only source of entertainment. We always found it extremely fulfilling to have explored real homes and not just the beautified version of tourism areas.
Another interesting experience we had was to have dinner at the Pleasant View Islet Restaurant.
It's set on on a rocky islet at the beach’s southern end, and depending on the time of the day, the tide rises and you may have to wade through knee-deep surf to get to it, or catch the free boat service at high tide.
If i remembered correctly, the sun sets pretty early around 6pm, and we made a last minute reservation to have dinner around 7pm.
It's a lovely place to catch the sunset but unfortunately we didn't have time after spending a whole day at the beach.
By the time we reached, it was pitch dark, the restaurant was clearly out of reach now with the high tide and we did not know about the free boat service.
Apparently, this "boat service" came in the form of a man-made raft manually pulled by these workers!
I got a shock and i mean.. poor fellas! Chew tipped them, but honestly.. where were they gonna keep the money with their bodies fully submerged in water?
Anyways, it was really dark as you can see from these pictures. Food was average, and unfortunately, i actually fell sick after having the strawberry milkshake which was super duper sweet, giving me a nasty sore throat the next day.
On the last evening, i clearly camwhored, and we caught the beautiful sunset at its best.. with me in the picture!
I mean, how gorgeous is this picture?? (no pun intended) I'll definitely be framing this one up. Oh, and if you wanted to know, this black swimsuit is from Victoria's Secret, it's one of my all time favourite buys from their Sale. :D
I was very very sad to leave Ngapali Beach, but it was only the beginning of a great holiday, as we approached Inle Lake next.
Ngapali has the best plane viewing airport, with the sun, sun and sea. On the second floor, you can view the planes flying in, and it's a great way to spot if your flight is actually here!
Watch your plane fly in, absolutely no barriers.
There was no direct flight from Ngapali to Inle Lake, so we had to land back in Yangon before taking the next domestic flight to inle lake.
Inle Lake was wow. Even though it's hard to get to, after the flight, you have to take a 2-3 hours car journey to the jetty, followed by a 1 hour boat ride to the resort. It's a little bit like travelling to Boracay.
On our car journey there, we caught this seemingly religious festive display along the road, I'm still not sure what it's called.
After what felt like ages, we finally reached the jetty! The lake was completely dark and the boatmen used a small directional light to pave the way for the boat. They were also going at a high speed so the ride was rather enjoyable with the cool wind.
Okay so here's the thing, we had to shift into 2 different hotels over a span of 3 days because I made a mistake with the dates and underbooked the accomodation for 1 night! :x
The 2nd hotel was so popular they were full, (you'll see why) so we had to stay at another hotel for 1 night. Call me blur but after that experience, I'm very careful with travel dates now!
When i woke up in the morning, i was in awe. This is the view from Sky Lake Inle Resort. It was beautiful!
Breakfast was very pleasant that morning, we were the only ones in the restaurant as the tour groups had probably left for their programs. It was also the earliest time we ever had breakfast on a holiday, as it ends at 9.30am.
Being terrible morning people, we had to force ourselves up because how else were we gonna get food surrounded by a lake? haha.
The next morning, we shifted to the 2nd hotel! This was the popular fully booked hotel.
We booked a Villa at the Inle Resort and Spa, and the stay was phenomenal. The view speaks for itself.
That evening, we went for an easy leisure boat ride through the floating houses and watch fishermen do their thing!
Early next morning, we went for a full day boat tour, you can book a boatman for the whole day and they will take you through the different floating markets, floating houses, and even lunch on a floating restaurant. I've never felt so far from land on a holiday ever.
The morning breeze is rather cold on the lake since you're on a speed boat, so jacket and sunscreen is a must, plus it can get pretty hot during the 2nd part of the day. We visited an endless sea of pagodas and no shoes are allowed in the holy premise, so you have to walk barefooted on the scalding floor! haha.
We ended our tour with a visit to the nearby monastery, on an ultra bumpy truck ride. It made me appreciate Singapore roads so much more!
On the last day, i simply could not bear to leave. :( Just look at this view. Pictures don't do enough justice.
We sat at the balcony terrace waiting for our boat to arrive and this view will always be etched in my mind.
Visit Ngapali Beach and Inle Lake if you can! You certainly won't regret it. ;)
Next Stop, Spain!