the best kept secret in Inle Lake

I was told by the staff at the bungalows where we were staying that everyone who visits Inle Lake should visit the Red Mountain Estate Vineyard for a view of the town. We had rented bikes for the day, and so I told Luke about the vineyard and began mapping out how to cycle there using trusty the Maps.Me app.

Luke, being Luke, began reading the reviews on Tripadvisor when he stumbled upon a true gem. Apparently, there was a restaurant not far from the winery that had a better view, better food, and was better value for money. Neither of us is a wine connoisseur, so rather than spending the money to drink our dinner, we opted to try Bamboo Hut. 

What a treasure it was. 

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It's no secret to those who have read this blog and the posts about Myanmar written so far that the country was not among my favourites. Something I read on various blogs and travel sites was how good Burmese food is. Followers of this blog also know that I have a serious knack for finding fantastic food spots. Despite my detective skills and everything I read, we never found food that blew us away. But our experience at Bamboo Hut did. 

When we set out on our bikes, the perfectly blue sky rapidly started to change. The clouds rolled in and it began to pour right as we reached the middle part of our bike ride where you can either decide to head back to the comforts of your accommodation or brave being soaked in a public place with a white shirt on. 

We choose the latter. 

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I started to freeze on the gravel road, pushing my bike up steep inclines, getting eaten by savage mosquitos. My bra would have been visible to anyone passing us, though there was no one on the abandoned backroad. Luke kept encouraging me whilst protecting our camera gear and passports. He repeatedly said, "What's a little adventure without some rain?!" 

It was the first time in our friendship that I was not the positive one. That day I had felt dehydrated and dirty, my shoes had given me painful blisters, and I had had enough of the Burmese heat. Also, I hadn't eaten anything of substance and had finally turned into a gremlin. Luke clearly felt me turn from my idealistic, perky self and was picking up where my energy lacked. 

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When we finally arrived to Bamboo Hut, we parked our bikes. We were the only people there. A young woman brought us out blankets to keep us warm. She gave us mosquito spray, lit a candle for the table, and presented us with freshly brewed green tea and onion crackers.

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Suddenly, my mood began to shift. The view from the restaurant overlooked a dragon fruit farm. The sun was setting and the rain continued, but it was so peaceful. The menu didn't have fantastic many vegetarian options, but it did have a few. We each ordered and in no time our food was brought out. It was a serious feast. 

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We had one of those quality Luke and Tara talks. The ones we have where we talk about figuring life out, sorting out where each of us is going next and talking about the pipe dream of starting our own NGO. We must have been there for a few hours. 

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That night, despite the rain and the bugs and biking back in total darkness down roads we had no business being on, it felt like a real adventure. I was thankful for Bamboo Hut and the woman who wiped off our wet bike seats and for the good food and for having the place to ourselves and for good company. Myanmar finally lived up to the hype that night.

And I felt happy to be there.