Inle Lake and Our Trip to Mr Min’s Cookery School, Myanmar.

Well that was an interesting flight!

Yangon to Heho…


After a few hours delay in a lovelydomestic airport lounge, we were finally airborne on what can only be described as a rather shoddy 1970 propeller plane and stuck together with bits of tape and carpeted walls as soundproofing.


So we think we have seats together, C & D but as it turns out there was no B or E. Instead Steve gets to sit next to a very skinny white person who says nothing the whole flight and just nibbles the ham off the top of a strange tasting bread bun that is our free in flight meal. Deb on the other hand gets a rather portly older bloke who spends his time ogling scantily clad women on his phone, invading her space bubble and making the worst chewing, grunting and coughing sounds whilst eating until he’s asleep then he’s snoring. Oh, I didn’t mention that he takes a call on his mobile as we taxi down the runway.. AND not forgetting reads a paper that takes both seats.


Then we land, PHEW. Where’s our lift? Due to the delays the hotel rearranged the taxi for later. 3 hours later than after we arrive? Luckily the airport staff help us and call the hotel and within 10 minutes we are on route.


Steve had concerns over the 2 star hotel Debs had booked but we arrive to a super little place about 15 mins walk from town. Hotel Brillant was appropriately named and a brilliant place to stay. It was valentines days on the day we arrived, a lovely start to our stay.


You could even borrow free bicycles to cycle to town and a bus would drive you down to the village in the evening and collect you later. Much much better than the photos on the website and there was a small traditional shan restaurant just over the road where we had a couple of good meals.


Next day we spend walking to town and going to a cool local market where we pick up some traditional masks and Deb grabs some amazingly priced silk fabric. Myanmar local markets are nothing like the others we have been too. Real hand made tools, reed products, betel leaves and fish so fresh it is still wiggling whilst being chopped up!


We find a local cafe and go super safe with cans of coke and straws. So many tourists get ill here that we are on constant safety watch wiping everything as we go, super hand washing as the money is so so dirty. Right down to hand sanitising the phone and camera every so often with cotton buds.


Off out tonight to watch a film made by an ex monk all about how the monks of the area live. If you find yourself in Lake Inle, the film shown at a restaurant/art gallery called French Touch is free and a great way to learn about a local monks life. We get the lift down by the hotel and after the film finishes our car doesn’t arrive so we have to wander back whilst trying to evade the wild dogs and just as we get close to the hotel a car stops and says hotel brilliant? Better late than never?

Time to head to bed and be up bright and early for our cooking class at Mr Min’s.


Our lift arrives on time and it’s off to the market to go buy the ingredients. Fresh food in abundance due to the banks of the lake. We ask loads of questions about the foods we don’t recognise.

Then off on a boat to speed along to our class in one of the floating villages. AMAZING!!


The setting was fabulous and we even go and ride around the local village. No tourists here!


May and Yin help us produce 10 local shan dishes. Everything from

Sticky rice crackers
Tufo crackers
Spring onion tempura
Vegetable soup
Chicken curry
Fish curry
Tealeaf salad.. Just the best!
Green tomatoe salad
Potatoe rice
Fried broccoli
Shan tofu curry
Snow pea salad
Avocado salad

It’s such a shame that in just two years the water has become unusable and many boats now have engines. Where they used to run on solar power they now have electricity. Who knows how this will look in 5 years time. Hopefully not like Cambodia and Bangkok.


The guys did a great job and we cooked up a treat to eat on the amazing decking and chatted about everything from floating garden construction to real life living in Myanmar as a local. Once we were all finished we got a floating village tour through the local village in a little wooden canoe. Trying to watch Deb wobble her way in was quite a site to behold and Steve really loved his new hat!


Eventually we had to return to the main land but not until we had managed to secure a day out on the lake with May’s brother in law in his boat.


No dinner tonight as we were well and truly stuffed full and had to have an early night ready for the boat in the morning. Deb had made her own itinerary to ensure we got to do what we wanted and not the usual tourist/boatman commission stops and again do things in the opposite order to all the standard tour operators so we get more time by ourselves.

Live Happy

Debs and Steve


Yes, We Finally Get Ourselves to Yangon!

After the interconnecting flight from Hue to Ho Chi Minh City then reclaim of bags to recheck back in to get to Bangkok we arrive at our hotel.


Really nice place and only £25 per person per night with a lovely roof top pool, bar and good location.

It’s just a couple of nights before to make sure we made our connecting flight to Myanmar. We spend the next day in the markets exploring the biggest wholesale/retail market in Asia. Strangest place, you can’t try anything on, not even just pop it over the top of your clothes and there are no refunds. Needless to say we didn’t buy anything.


What we also didn’t realise was that it was Makha Bucha Day. This meant that on this Saturday night in Bangkok that no one could serve alcohol, so no roof top bar for us. After going out we return to our room to raid the minibar of the sad 2 cans of beer and end up paying nearly £10.00!


Next morning we treat ourselves to the luxury of a hotel buffet breakfast and over stuff on western food to the point we both feel like we are going to explode, then off to the airport to depart to Yangon.


Nikki our daughter is ready and waiting to greet us in arrivals in a lovely new airport and getting through immigration with our e-visa was a breeze! The immigration officers were just so pleasant too. We head off in a random taxi with a space saver wheel and a driver chewing away at a betel leaf and spitting red saliva out the window.
Betel is a leaf that a lot of people chew. When you chew it your mouth goes red and produces lots of saliva, it’s got something in it that keeps you awake. Taxi drivers all seem to use it and you can see the big red spit spats all over the pavements.


We spend the evening at the Green Elephant eating a couple of delicious currys, coconut rice, lentil rice and soya crackers.


Next day Nikki is at work and we go and explore the Shwedagon Pagoda. We flag a taxi and for a sum of £1.20 we are dropped off at the north entrance. This pagoda is huge, you have to take your shoes off at the entrance and put them in a bag or pay for a locker, luckily we had a bag! It’s not cheap to get in currently $5 each but so worth it. You learn so much about the place and the Myanmar way of life. They even have 8 days in a week, Wednesday becomes Wednesday AM until 18:00 then it’s PM until midnight.


After a very hot few hours we then go and meet Nikki at the international school she works in and have a look around before wandering off into rush hour for a Burmese cooking course that was recommended to us.


We walk around and eventually find a rather spurious tower block in what we thought was an”interesting” area, ask some locals if we are in the right location and then up in a very dodgy lift to the 12th floor. Eventually we find the flat which has an amazing view of the Shwedagon Pagoda. The moral of the story, never judge a book by it’s cover!


We spend the evening being shown a select of meals to cook and learning about how life has changed in the last 17 years in Yangon. We sit around a table in the kitchen trying them all. In true standard fashion Steve scoffs the lot, smiling away and Deb has to pick through and force it down. Deb really is not an Asian food fan and it may even seem to now have turned into a bit of a food phobia.


Deep fried anything from spider, sparrow to chicken head is fine, put a bowl of mixed up noodle floating in liquid and Deb really can’t do it!

Time to get to bed ready for an early start to get ourselves over to Inle Lake.

Live Happy
Debs and Steve