Pindaya Caves and Inle Lake: Sunday 24th February 2008

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Up early again, though getting later each day Mimi met us and took us to the airport. We passed many monks along the way doing their morning alms collection.

The flight to Heho only took 20 minutes, and we were met inside the airport by Meo (though not quite sure if that is her name, let alone spelt correctly!). She helped us collect our bags and took us outside to meet our guide Phyo (pronounced Peo, rhymes with Joe) and our driver Boney. We had an interesting and long drive through the countryside, including a stop in a small village at a roadside café where we had chick pea fritters. A little chicken clucked around under our tables eating up the dropped crumbs.

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We continued to Pindaya Caves; the lift today wasn’t working due to power problems so we walked up the stairs past the prince battling a huge spider to save some maidens.

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The limestone cavern is filled with 8,000 mostly gilded Buddha statues, lining the windy maze of paths throughout the cave.

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Lunch was a traditional Shan state meal in a restaurant by the lake side. We then returned by road to Heho, passing women in the fields winnowing the wheat, and arriving late afternoon at Nyuang Shwe where we started our boat ride to Inle Lake. We road on a long boat down the river into the lake, passing many fishermen using nets, traps and rowing their boats in the traditional way using their leg. Our long boat brought us to our hotel perched on stilts in the middle of the lake and said our goodnight to Phyo.

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There was no internet tonight, so after watching the sunset, updating the diary and a huge dinner of lake fish and other dishes we retired for the evening.