Betel is an evergreen Indo-Malayan climbing or trailing shrub (Piper betel), having usually ovate leaves used to wrap betel nuts. In the ancient days, the Myanmar people usually showed their hospitality by serving kunhsay-laphet (betel, tobacco and tea) to the ...
Overview of Sagaing
Set among the mountains of the nation’s Shan State, Nyaung Shwe is best known for being the gateway to Inle Lake. This is the country’s second largest lake and features floating villages, gardens, various tribes nearby and fishermen who row with their legs. It’s a gorgeous area and deserves its distinction as one of Burma’s must-see travel destinations.
The town itself is pleasing too, being quite rustic with a small-town feel, and featuring its own ancient pagodas said to be from the 17th century. Horse-drawn carriages are still a popular means of transportation used by the locals; you’ll have plenty to do in the area, and bikes available for hire will allow you to explore much of the countryside. A large winery, hot spring pools, villages, markets and pagodas are just some of the area’s main attractions.
Many travellers come to Nyaung Shwe from Bagan, one of the country’s other must-see destinations. It’s a 6.5 hour trip, relatively short for this country. Another option for getting here though is via a three-day trek from Kalaw. You’ll get to see several mountain villages, a variety of plants and birds, all set upon the misty blue mountains of the Shan State.
A channel connects Nyaung Shwe to the lake and is a few kilometres in distance. Given its nearness to the lake, an explosion of development in the area is to be expected; we’re told that land prices have skyrocketed. Some new hotels are being built and many of the current ones are conducting renovations. The people of Nyaung Shwe are very hopeful for a coming surge in Burmese tourism. At the moment, 14 resorts are located directly on the lake and developers are pushing for more — something that we hope doesn’t happen.