Traveling in different countries brings with it both the expected and, more often than not, unexpected surprises. For us, one of the unexpected things we should have expected was the condition of the airports and airlines.
Although Heho Airport, the closest airport to Inle Lake, Nyuang Shwe and its surroundings, was far and above better than Bagan’s Nyuang U Airport, I didn’t think to take many pictures at Nyuang U as I was trying to figure out how to entertain myself due to a massive flight delay.
Clearly time well spent.
Anyway, I was much better prepared at Heho. Heho is located fairly far from Nyuang Shwe, and if you’re staying even further out, like on the other side of the lake as we were, you’ll have quite a trip in front of you (by taxi and boat) once you land.
Also all visitors will be assessed a fee of about $15 upon arrival to the Inle Lake region (this is not assessed at the airport, but on the main road that you’ll likely take with a taxi or bus).
The airport itself has a bit more going on than Bagan, with several shops both before and after check in and security (which is a joke- you can bring water bottles, coffees, pretty much anything in and out of the security checkpoint with you).
Wondering what time it is elsewhere in the world, at home perhaps? Look no further than above the two departure gates, which lead directly to the tarmac.
(The times weren’t right though, so don’t count on that to make necessary phone calls or set your watch to.)
One word of advice: pay VERY close attention to the departure times, as they are not so much announced as posted on papers in front of the departure gates, and since delays happen VERY often, you really need to pay attention to make sure your flight isn’t boarding without you. (Our flight from Ngapali to Yangon was even moved forward several hours, and luckily our hotel told us, or I’m not really sure how we would have known!)
The planes themselves are very small- I have never been on a propeller plane before! And as I mentioned, you can walk right out on the tarmac to board and deplane, and your suitcases and brought to and from the airport by porters.
My advice: bring your own snacks, bottled water (since you can bring it through security) and something to entertain you, as more than likely your flight will be delayed and you’ll be waiting a few hours. Just make sure to wait near the boarding signs so you can keep up when they write new information about departure times.