Night Bus to Nyaungshwe by Inle Lake

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Travel Day 1160 – Hsipaw to Nyaungshwe, MYANMAR

No matter how hard I tried, the unavoidable had to happen again and I found myself once more in a terrible night bus…

Yadana Man Aung Paya in Nyaungshwe, Myanmar

Yadana Man Aung Paya, Nyaungshwe

So far the longer I had been travelling over the years, the more I learned to take care of myself. That meant instead of always going for the very cheapest option available, I had learned to make a logical comparison between price and comfort and to sometimes rather opt for the comfortable solution. This was especially true when it came to basic night busses in which I could never find a comfortable position to sit for long enough to actually get some rest or sleep. The result was always a wasted night and day…

Unfortunately the train system in Myanmar had proven already to be the worst in the world and the long distance busses were only driving through the night. So after my unpleasant bus experience from Yangon to the Temple Ruins in Bagan, I found myself once more left with no other choice but to catch an overnight bus from Hsipaw to Nyangshwe. And of course all my worst fears became reality again as the bus was completely packed with people, smelling badly of diesel fumes and cooled down so much that I had to wear all my clothes…

Broken-down Night Bus on the way to Nyaungshwe, Myanmar

Broken-down Night Bus to Nyaungshwe

On top of that the bus kept breaking down every so often and we would sit sometimes for hours just waiting until it was fixed and able to drive again. Luckily in those breaks I could go down to the belly of the bus and find some more clothes in the bottom of my backpack until I was wearing two sweaters, long pants, two pairs of warm socks, my sleeping bag and a warm hat. The fact that I couldn’t stretch out on my seat only added to the experience, as did the multiple food stops throughout the night until we finally arrived completely wasted in Nyaungshwe by Inle Lake…

Well, actually Nyaungshwe was still far away from the lake and the street crossing where the bus dropped us off, in turn appeared to be still very far away from Nyaungshwe. So in our wasted and only half awake state of mind we had to haggle to get a trishaw into town. The overpriced rate we ended up paying to really reach this small town was the first indication for how touristic Nyaungshwe actually was and the 10 dollar tourist tax we were forced to pay at the city gates was the second one…

Boats for Tourist Tours on Inle Lake, Myanmar

Boats for Tourist Tours on Inle Lake

The third indication for how touristic this popular base for visiting Inle Lake was, was then the seemingly endless hunt for an affordable place to stay. All the prices in the book had at least tripled since the time of writing and before I was even able to take a rest I had already made up my mind that this was by far the worst place I had visited in Myanmar. Especially after coming from some nice villages, everything in Nyaungshwe felt just simply ruined by tourism and not really authentic anymore…

Luckily I found eventually another traveler who offered to share a room for a reasonable price and once I took a rest, things looked slightly better again. I even went for a walk and visited the beautiful Yadana Man Aung Paya and some Buddhist monasteries. But the fact that everything was so expensive and that every other person on the streets was either a tourist or a boat driver trying to sell an expensive tour on Inle Lake still let me think that Nyaungshwe was certainly my least favorite place in Myanmar…

Find all Nyaungshwe photos here.

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