Sunday, 7 May 2017

On to Inle Lake

Events of Sunday 7th May 2017

I slept well at Hotel Kalaw Hill Lodge, took an early breakfast and then, as the day before, had to borrow their tiny battery-powered modem before I could attach to the internet. I was not being picked up until noon but, rather than relaxing, I used the morning to produce a review of the previous days events.

The reason for the late start? I'd determined to make another journey by train. In 2016, I'd travelled from Thazi to Kalaw by train, as described here. This time, I'd arranged to start the journey at Kalaw and travel to Shwe Nyaung, about a three and a half hour journey (by car, we would have covered the distance in less than half the time).

We drove to the station and waited for the train which, not unusually, was late.

Rather late, my train arrives at Kalaw.

Thandar Oo travelled with me on the journey and our car and driver went on ahead with the luggage. I took lots of pictures of railways, the scenery and people. Our first stop was at Aung Ban, which I'd visited four days previously by car, on our way from Heho Airport to Loikaw. Our general heading continued East-North-East but to maintain reasonable gradients for the steam locomotives for which the line was designed in the 1920s, we twisted and turned as we made our way through the hills. Eventually, we passed close to the end of Runway 36 at Heho airport and stopped at Heho Station at an elevation of 3858 feet above sea level (about four hundred feet lower than Kalaw Station).

Heho Station.

Numerous vendors walked along the platform looking for customers on the train for their various foodstuffs. Thandar Oo purchased potatoes from an elderly woman.

Kalaw - Shwe Naung by train: Buying potatoes at Heho Station.

We then came to my reason for choosing this journey: to lose height rapidly, the railway takes a descending single spiral and crosses under the high level line at the Ba Wa Sam Sa Ra Bridge.

Kalaw - Shwe Naung by train: View looking back, immediately after passing over the Ba Wa Sam Sa Ra Bridge at high level.

With plenty of braking to control our speed, the train then descended the spiral and passed under the bridge we'd crossed over around three minutes earlier.

Kalaw - Shwe Naung by train: View looking ahead, immediately before passing under the Ba Wa Sam Sa Ra Bridge at low level.

Around half an hour later, we arrived at Shwe Nyaung station. At some point, there will no doubt be a more technical commentary for those interested in railways.

I was quite tired after the train journey but our car was waiting so we set off for Nyaung Shwe (yes, same words, opposite order). The developments to encourage tourism in the almost nine years since I last visited the area were quite noticeable. At Nyaung Shwe, Thandar Oo and I boarded a boat with my luggage (which was covered in a waterproof sheet to protect it from spray) to take us to my hotel - the Villa Inle Resort and Spa. Then I realised that the boats I'd admired at Phe Khong the previous day were actually the 'standard' design used around Inle Lake.

To Villa Inle Resort by boat: View passing a heavily-loaded cargo boat.

The boat must have taken about 30 minutes to reach my destination as the sun set in the west and the heat of the day abated. My arrival at Inle Lake almost 8 years ago is described here and you can find all my posts on that trip to the Far East here.

My personal, large, wooden villa at the Villa Inle Resort and Spa this time was very luxurious and I'd have happily stayed longer than the two nights arranged.

My accommodation at Villa Inle Resort and Spa

Related Posts on this Website

Next Post describing this trip.
All Burma-2017 Trip posts.

My Pictures

Where necessary, clicking on an image above will display an 'uncropped' view or, alternately, pictures from may be selected, viewed or downloaded, in various sizes, from the albums listed:-
Kalaw Hill Lodge.
Around Kalaw (pictures from 2016 and 2017).
Kalaw - Shwe Naung by train.
Shwe Naung to Villa Inle Resort by car and boat.
Villa Inle Resort and Spa.

[Links to pictures added 17-Aug-2017: Text amended and pictures added 2-Sep-2017]