On the third day, we made a trip to visit the local market at Nam Pan village. Similar to the other local Burmese markets that I have visited, this too was bustling and thriving with activity. Locals were selling a wide variety of goods ranging from electronics to dried goods to clothing. There was even a barber shop and I was really tempted to get myself a Burmese haircut. One interesting local snack that I tried at the market was the bamboo sticky rice that were kept within bamboo cylinders. At first sight, I did not think that these cylinders that they were selling contained anything edible. Thus, I was left pleasantly surprised when I found out that these bamboo cylinders could be broken apart and inside them were tasty sticky rice. There were both the sweet sticky rice and the normal one with peanuts, and my personal favourite was the sweet version.
We then took a boat to visit a bamboo workshop where we saw numerous creative handicrafts made solely out of bamboo. One particular handicraft that stood out was a bamboo cricket which could seemingly defy gravity as it was able to balance perfectly just by placing its tiny head on my finger. Other than simply viewing these intricate handicrafts, we learnt that if tourists wanted, they could also participate in hands-on activities by making simple bamboo handicrafts to bring back as precious souvenirs.
Our next stop was the Red Mountain Vineyard. With the place perched atop the hill overlooking Inle Lake and the surrounding vineyard, it was the perfect place to enjoy a scrumptious meal while sipping fine wine that originated from the Vineyard itself. I was thus able to sit back and just soak in the beautiful natural surroundings while enjoying my lunch. We were still too early but we heard that it was the perfect place to catch the sunset, and I certainly hope to be back one day to witness it personally.
It was then time to head to our next stop, the rustic town of Pindaya. The drive there was especially scenic, and you could see the beautiful Shan State in its full glory. With the vast mountainous terrain and blooming cherry blossom trees, it was a spectacular sight. We stopped the car midway to take a closer look, and we could see villagers attending to their crops from a distance. Looking at them diligently going about their chores, I couldn’t help wondering how drastically different their lives were as compared to city dwellers like us.
It was not long before we arrived at Pindaya and to wrap up the day, we decided to visit the impressive Shwe Oo Min Cave. This was a cave located rather high up the hills and it was filled with more than 8,000 Buddha images of different materials and sizes. Wandering around the cave, I noticed that it was akin to a maze and Buddha images were seemingly placed on every possible empty spot in the cave. Thus, this really showed the devotion that the Buddhist pilgrims had towards their religion. After the visit, rather than taking the car back down, we decided to make the trek down instead. And I would highly recommend doing this as there would be so much more to see. For instance, we saw many interesting things such as tea leaf plants, a monastery and even some locals engaging in a game of Burmese Cane ball. And with the cooling weather, our 45 minutes’ trek down to our hotel certainly felt much shorter.