Similarly to most other tourists when I visited Inle Lake in Myanmar, I chose to stay in the small village of Nyaungshwe. There are plenty of restaurants, shops, cafes and a few bars to split your time between. The main attraction is the fantastic boat trip on the lake, but there are several other activities available to make this a perfect place to spend at least a few days. One of my favourites was a visit to the Red Mountain Vineyard Estate, approximately 10 minutes out of the town.
It is best to ask your hotel about transport to the vineyard and back as they will be able to arrange this for you and recommend the best time to go to catch the beautiful sunset. I stayed at 81 Hotel Inlay who were extremely accommodating and arranged all of our trips at reasonable prices.
Red Mountain Vineyard
The two vineyards were established in 2002 and produce the grape varieties used to make the wine selection available to sample. They initially produced 1,000 bottles of red and white wine in 2006, which had increased to 120,000 bottles by 2012! Currently there are a range of red, white and fortified wines that you taste at their lovely cafe overlooking one of the vineyards and the Nyaungshwe scenery.
Visiting at sunset, provides the ideal time to sit back and relax. It can get busy, so we were advised by our hotel to leave at 4pm to get a good table outside. (A taxi both ways arranged by the hotel cost US$15). The hotel also offered bikes and it is about a 30-45minute ride, however riding back in the dark after a bottle of wine may not be a good idea!
Wine tasting options include 4 wines for 3000MMK (approx. £2!) which includes a Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat sec, Shiraz Temparillo and a late harvest (semi-sweet). The taster is a great way to decide which wine you will enjoy the most and the staff are great at making recommendations. Following the tasting I chose to enjoy a bottle of the fortified Muscat, as I tend to prefer the sweeter varieties.
Bottles start at 13000MMK (£7) up to 32000MMK for a Chardonnay. You can also buy most wines by the glass and food is available. I was extremely happy to have arranged a visit for sunset to enjoy some delicious wine (something I had missed through the rest of Asia) and a spectacular view!
This newly opened has a lot of potential to be a big highlight of the limited nightlife in the village.
One of the main attractions of the pub is it’s lovely rooftop terrace, another perfect place to watch the sunset, as well as outside and inside dining areas. The food menu is extensive; they had recently launched a pizza selection, which is now available for delivery as well! At the time I only had snacks, but they were delicious and between 2000-4000 MMK (£1 – £2.50).
A variety of cocktails are available and a mixture of local draught beers start from 1200 MMK. A particular favourite is the ABC Black Stout you’ll see advertised in the airports, but at 8.3% ABV be warned you can’t drink too many of those in one evening!
A special draw, that made me feel at home was a free pool table and the most enthusiastic pool commentator in all of Myanmar! He was great fun and would shout zero whenever you missed! Although the thumbs up when you did sink a ball made up for it!
Date of Travel: March 2016