On Day 2, I joined a tour with 6 other travellers to Ogre Island (Bilu Kyun - 32 km long &16 km wide). It's over an hour boat ride to the island, which has 200,000 inhabitants and foreigners are prohibited from spending the night. We explored the island for 6 hours visiting the local workshops with no pressure to buy, and we only saw 4 other tourists besides our group. I imagine this is how Inle Lake used to be, except on land.
Throughout the day, we came across the following:
* Toddy - fermented palm 'juice' has roughly 4% alcohol
* Palm Sugar production
* Road paving where women contributed to the hard labor
& tar was burned by the side of the road
* Straw hat production
* Outdoor 'pool' where I swam in my clothes like a local!
* Afternoon tea & palm sugar candy break while getting our faces painted with the local Burmese makeup, thanaka, made from bark.
* Rubber band production
* Rice flour batter fried bananas
* Wood carving (canes, pipes, etc) workshop
* Off-roading in the Tuk Tuk with a brief moment of getting stuck in the fields
* Ox and cart
* Father and son fishingRiverside sunset & BBQ
NEXT STOP: Ferry to Hpa'an