Give the notorious floating markets of Inle Lake a pass, unless you enjoy being endlessly harassed by aggressive touts and have a desire to be shaken out of your unstable skiff and dumped in the lake. Instead, venture a little further afield to the Alodaw Pauk Pagoda on the edge of Nampan Village, where a weekly market brings together local hill tribe villagers to swap wares, buy and sell fresh produce and other foods, and chat about the week that was.
Alodaw and the equally alluring Augban Market offer glimpses at everyday Burmese life that are at once thrilling and fleeting. Locals are generally friendly, and keen to show off their wares; buy yourself a bag of seaweed crisps, or go full local with a bit of pungent, ubiquitous betel nut – just don’t blame us when your mouth turns red and you crack your teeth.
Pack plenty of extra camera memory; this is one of the most unique destinations in South East Asia.