Fisherman on Inle Lake in Myanmar.

Inle Lake in Myanmar.

Hiring a boat for a few hours and going off looking round parts of the beautiful Inle Lake - visiting Pagodas and looking at the lakeside villages.

Inle Lake is a freshwater lake situated within the Shan Hills - with an area of around 50 square miles it is the second largest lake in Myanmar. Reflections of Stilt Houses at Inle Lake in Myanmar.The lake is 13.5 miles long and 7 miles wide (if you count the channels) and it's level changes by as much 5 feet during the monsoon season.
A long-tail boat trip onto Inle Lake to look at the villages, floating gardens and stilt houses is one of the reasons for visiting this part of Myanmar. The nearest town to the lake is at Nyaung Shwe which is a little to the north of Inle Lake and connected to it by a 3.5 mile feeder arm.
Hiring a boat trip onto the lake is simple - most Nyaung Shwe hotels etc. will offer this and also expect to be approached by locals on bikes and motorbikes who will stop and try and get you to take their trip. This however is not perhaps the cheapest option - in practice these offers will be somewhat more expensive than going for Plan B. This is that you just wander down to where most of the boats are moored along the road by Tiek Nan Bridge. Lots of boat owners around means competition for your business so a little bartering can save quite a few USD. Although they have set trips you can indicate how you want the trip to be and what you want to do - and how fast you want them to go.
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Inle Lake canal dredger. fishing from long-tail boats on Inle Lake. Inle Bo Teh moored on Inle Lake. Floating house on the Nyaung Channel to Inle Lake.
Fisherman and villagers on the lake move their long-tailed boats around by standing up and controlling the paddle with their right leg and curling their ankle and foot round the oar.
In the middle of the lake their is a former Government Guest House called the Inle Bo Tem which is sat there quite forlornly since it's now disused. It was probably used as a fairly luxurious holiday location by politicians and of course the Burmese military elite during the old days of dictatorship in Burma.
Bamboo poles holding a Floating Garden on Inle Lake. Stilt House building on Inle Lake. Maintaining an Inle floating garden. Long tail boats awaiting customers on Inle Lake in Myanmar.
The Lakes main attractions are certainly the beautiful stilt houses, floating gardens and fields and just watching the various boats and so on. The floating gardens are unique to the Intha Tribe who live around the lake - they make the gardens by using weed and comost to form a large floating layer which is then planted with vegetables and sometimes fruit. Large long bamboo poles are used to secure the gardens to the lake bottom and are adjusted according to the water level. Smaller poles are used for support. Gaps between the gardens form small channels which enable the farmers to get around and maintain their floating gardens using narrow boats.
Inle Lake canal junction. Inle Lake side canals and gardens. Inle Lake floating farm or garden in Myanmar. Inle Lake - one of the villagers looms.
Inpawkhon Village at Inle Lake. At this stilt village you can watch the art of silk weaving by extracting fibres from lotus stems. The process of doing this is demonstrated and is very interesting in how they extract the strans from the flowers. There are a couple of looms in action showing the end process. There are also quite a few silversmiths which can be visited as part of the trip - again there are regular demonstrations of their art and you can of course buy items from them if you wish.
A silk loom on a stilt house at Inle Lake. Inle Lake floating Post Office - Myanmar. Green Chilli floating restaurant on Inle Lake. Fairly modern looking Inle Lake stilt houses.
Inle Lake stilthouse. Stilt house beside Inle Lake, Myanmar. Inle Lake village with it's stilt houses. Inle Lake stilt houses. Inle stilt houses. Inle Lake stilt houses. Inle Lake stilthouses. Inle Lake stilt house.
There are a large variety of differently shaped and designed stilt houses situated around the lake. These are often situated within fully fledged villages so that as well as for living accommodation there are also shops, perhaps a post office, cafes and restaurants - some of the larger villages also offer accommodation.
Inle Lake stilthouses. Inle Lake stilt houses. Lake stilthouses. Old Inle Lake stilt houses.

Stopping off on your Inle Lake boat trip at Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda.

The Phaung Daw Oo Paya is Inle Lake's main and most important Pagoda and is really busy with tourist visits as well as by the Burmese - you have to remove your shoes immediately you leave the boat. The Pagoda contains the five sacred Buddha images four of which are used during the Phaung Daw Oo Festival. The images are placed within the Karaweik and then onto the gilded Royal Barge and the barge is towed around the Lake visiting several villages. The Festival takes place at the start of the Buddhist Thadingyut Festival (the Lighting Festival of Myanmar) - Thadingyut is the full moon day of the month i.e. end of October/early in November). When not in use the Karaweik is stored on a floating boat-shelter which is moored just outside of the Pagoda.
Phaung Daw Oo Paya - Inle Lake, Myanmar. Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda at Inle Lake in Myanmar. Karaweik - used for the Golden Bird Festival boat, Inle Lake. crumbling stilt house beside Inle Lake, Myanmar.
Inle lakeside Pagoda. Inle Lake Pagoda entrance. neglected stupa at Inle Lake. tourist boats waiting beside the Pagoda - Inle Lake.

The Mya Hpe Kyaung Monastery at Inle Lake in Myanmar.

Another of the most visited sites is the Mya Hpe Kyaung (Jumping Cat Monastery) - famous for the trained cats which apparently jump through hoops. The only cats visible though were sound asleep!. This really is a tourist trap with numerous souvenir and artificat stalls near the entrance.  The teak monastery was built around 1853 and inside within the Meditation Hall their are some excellent Buddha statues in various situations and poses plus many gilded shrines.
Nga Hpe Kyaung Buddha, Inle Lake. Nga Hpe Kyaung very tired cat. Glossy audience hall at Nga Hpe Kyaung, Myanmar. Nga Hpe Kyaung Pagoda Buddha - Inle Lake.
Nga Hpe Kyaung small shrines containing Buddhas. rickety bridge between stilt houses on Inle Lake. Stilthouses and pylons - Inle Lake, Myanmar. beautiful Inle Lake thatched stilthouses.
Our other items about Inle Lake and Nyaung Shwe - including a couple of nice bike rides.
Other destinations in the Far East which are reasonably easy to reach from Myanmar and for which we have travel and touring guides are Cambodia, Laos, China, Thailand and Vietnam - please see our above Home Page for these or visit our Resources Page to see all our website travel and holiday topics.
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