Visit to Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda
We visited Phaung Daw Oo, one of the most important religious sites in the Shan State. The pagoda sanctifies five golden Buddha images. The images were hidden in a cave near the lake and not rediscovered until centuries later. The Buddha effigies have been so completely covered in gold leaf by worshippers that they have taken on a completely different shape altogether. Only men are allowed to place the gold leaf on the Buddhas. They are said to be extremely heavy.
We arrived at the pagoda and it was very crowded. I think this was our last pagoda visit. There was a fee to take photos so I opted not to take any. We walked around and looked at old photos on the wall. It showed what the Buddhas looked like before they were wrapped in gold leaf. It was more interesting outside the pagoda where they were selling souvenirs. One man was using a razor blade to make very artistic pictures of Inle Lake scenes. I bought the one he was working on.
This is the picture I bought made with a razor blade. As we returned to the boat, we saw a group of ducks paddling around the boats and a bunch of pigeons enjoying a snack on a wall sloping down into the water. We settled back into the boat and our guide suggested we go to lunch. We went to a restaurant called the Golden Moon.
Time for Lunch
We ordered a variety of foods on the waiter’s recommendations. The salad dish I had of potatoes and tomatoes was absolutely delicious. It arrived first and I ate so much of it that I hardly had room for the interesting fish dish. Shawn got his usual fried rice plate. I tried to get the recipe for the salad but instead got a photo of the restaurant owners and chef.
Silver Artisans at Work
After leaving the restaurant we went to a silversmith workshop. The artisans were busy working with small beads, wire, chains and small lengths of hammered silver to craft earrings, bracelets, and necklaces.
From the silver workshop, we went to a large building which housed many things to buy. It was probably the best shop for buying crafted items that we saw. The big plus was being able to take photos of the women who worked there. These ladies are members of the Kayan long neck tribe which is the oldest tribe in Myanmar.
It was a great place to shop!. So many things to see and buy. I bought some silver earrings for my daughter and several things for my sisters. This was our last Inle Lake stop.
We started our trip back across the lake making a short side trip to get a better look at some of the floating gardens. I tried to take photos but it was difficult to see the separate plants.
We docked and left the boat. The car was waiting to take us to the airport. It was time to put our cameras away and relax for the next hour and a half until we arrived at the airport.
We arrived at the airport in good time. It was such a small airport so nothing much to see or buy. We finally boarded our plane to Yangon and the flight took about an hour. We had a driver waiting for us and this time our ride to the hotel was relatively short. The hotel desk staff seemed to remember us and were very kind and quickly checked us in. They treated us to a bottle of wine and snacks which was a very nice surprise. We had to reorganize our packing for the flight home and needless to say, we were too tired to go out to eat so we had some dinner brought to our room.
The next morning our driver was right on time. We sadly said goodbye to our lovely hotel and were soon driving to the airport. The Yangon Airport is quite large and we enjoyed looking at all the souvenirs from Myanmar and taking our time getting to our gate. The flight left pretty much on time.
We had a layover of seven hours in Taiwan. I had organized with my student’s parents to meet them during the layover. I didn’t realize we would have to be in immigration for so long. There were huge lines. My friends had called so I knew they were waiting for us. Finally, after an hour and a half, we got through immigration with no problems. We didn’t need a visa to get into the country just our return tickets. We met up with our friends right away and it was good to see them. We did get to see the very modern Taipei as we drove to the center of the city to have dinner at the W Hotel. We had a wonderful Chinese meal and enjoyed a variety of dishes. It was a great layover and it was worth going through immigration. We got back to the airport in plenty of time and had no difficulties boarding the plane for our onward trip to Los Angeles and then our final ride to San Diego.
Just a few thoughts about our trip: Shawn and I enjoyed traveling up the Irrawaddy River from Yangon to Mandalay. The Sanctuary Ananda was a great riverboat with a very friendly and accommodating staff. From our very knowledgeable guide and hard working cruise director to the extremely friendly wait staff, everyone worked diligently to make the journey successful.
Although there was a small group of guests, it was difficult to get to know the other passengers. Once we were in our excursion groups, we stayed in the same group throughout the whole trip. I think it would have been fun to change up the groups. It would have been nice to have some kind of interactive activities with the other passengers. We did have activities but most were lectures or entertainments to watch. The boat lacked gym facilities and instead had a spa which I felt was as expensive as spas in San Diego. We liked most of the excursions but didn’t realize at first that when the boat docked, we could get off and wander around on our own. I wish that had been explained to us when we boarded. All in all, as we look back, we felt it was a good trip and we had a lot of great photographic moments.
Our excursion to Inle Lake was a wonderful ending and we were very happy with our guide and the time we spent there.
I appreciate everyone who has taken the time to read through my blog and view my photos. Thanks so much for your support!
I will leave you with the famous lines from Kipling’s poem that motivated my desire to travel to Myanmar (Burma).
Come you back to Mandalay,
Where the old Flotilla lay:
Can’t you ‘ear their paddles chunkin’ from Rangoon to Mandalay
On the “river” to Mandalay
Where the flyin’ fishes play,
An’ the dawn comes up like thunder outer China ‘crost the Bay!