The attractive lakeside town of Meiktila (မိတၳီလာ), on the crossroads between Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan and Inle Lake, is a busy little trade centre with plenty of locals in uniform from the air-force bases outside town. Legend goes that King Anawrahta, founder of Bagan, had a pond here broadened into the current lake that looms west of town. When the king asked if the lake extended all the way to Mt Popa, the report came back: ‘Lord, it doesn’t go that far’.
For visitors, Meiktila is a lively city that makes for a fine pit stop when travelling between Nay Pyi Taw and Bagan. While sights are few, the intriguing lakefront and buzzing teahouses just off the main road through town are fine places to soak up the energy of this little-visited crossroads.