“Toilet, ” was all I could mutter to the guy who asked me if I was heading to Inle Lake as soon as I disembarked from the pick-up. I’ve been wanting to pee since that stop just outside Aungban. The cold always makes me pee and with the freezing temperature, I was ready to bust my bladder. “No toilet,” he remarked then pointed to a grassy area behind some stalls. I rushed and quickly relieved myself oblivious to some passing people.
I was in Shwengyau, the junction for Ngayungshae in Inle Lake exactly 90 minutes since departing from Kalaw at 6:45.
I had not planned on taking the pick-up but a woman I asked about the small local bus parked by the stop pointed me to it. “To Inle?” I inquired, pointing to the bus. “Taunggyi,” came the answer. I knew that all Taunggyi-bound transport would pass through Shwengyau but the woman didn’t seem to know that. She led me to the pick-up a few meters away. The driver and the conductor assured me they would drop me off at Shwengyau. Fare is 4,000. I huddled with 3 others on one side of the pick-up while another and the conductor took the other. It read freezing cold! The pick-up made a few stops to drop-off and pick-up some packages. It never took more than a few minutes. The drive was mostly downhill and we went quite fast. We passed through a few towns and villages then finally Shwengyau!
After peeing, I took a pick-up for 5,000 (2,000 if I would wait for additional passengers) to take me directly to Joy Hotel.
The trip took less than 30 minutes including stopping by the “gate” to pay the 10,500 kat fee. The hotel is along Jetty Road squeezed in by roadside stalls so it was slow going. Fortunately, there were available rooms as my Agoda reservation was still for the 31st. The standard room I was given was in the newer annex next door. It was spacious and had good comfortably thick mattresses. After the horrible rooms at Golden Lily, it felt 5-star.
Spent the rest of the day just walking around. I like the vibe of the place and I am so glad I came here in advanced.