July 19, 2012
Once we were back in Nyaungshwe we checked into our very budget hotel, The Aquarius, and rented bicycles from a shop two doors down. We bicycled around to the East side of Inle Lake. Our destination was Kaung Daing Village, which is famous for hot springs and making tofu from yellow split peas. We decided to skip the hot spring and just check out the tofu making.
The bike ride took about 45 minutes. The first part of the road, heading toward the mountain, was very bumpy, since it was made of dirt with rocks stuck into the dirt. It had also been raining, so the road was muddy. This was the most difficult part of the ride, as it was up hill.
Notice the two ceramic containers in the above photo. You will fine them everywhere in Myanmar. They are water jugs for locals to drink. The top is just a ceramic or plastic plate with a cup sitting on top of that. The locals can drink this water with no problem, but for foreigners, you are better off carrying your bottled water as your stomach probably can’t handle it. The water is replenished by locals, as a way to earn good karma.
As soon as we reached the point in the road where it turned left at the base of the mountain, the road was paved and a much smoother ride.
Kaung Daing Village was a bit difficult to find, as it was not marked. We passed the Hot Springs and kept riding. Then we asked a passerby on a motorbike, who gave us vague directions. About 5 or 10 minutes past the Pristine Lotus, which is a very fancy resort hotel, we came to Kaung Daing Village.
We expected a demonstration set up for tourist. But instead, we only found a neighborhood with people preparing tofu and other foods in their yards. We wandered around and saw people drying peas and other things on the ground and cooking them in huge woks.
It started pouring rain as we left the village and we took shelter in a local restaurant that served good Shan noodles. We ate well for 1200 Kyat (about $1.5 USD) and the locals were very happy and curious to serve us.
We only recommend visiting Kaung Daing Village if you have extra time in the Inle Lake area. It’s not really worth adding a day for.