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.
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.[ Clicking the thumbnails will open a much larger picture - use the back button to return to this page. ]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Our other items about Inle Lake and Nyaung Shwe - including a couple of nice bike rides.
- Inle Lake and Nyaung Shwe travel and visitor guide - Myanmar
- Nyaung Shwe and Inle Lake in Myanmar touring guide - travelling there (Heho), things to do, bike rides, Inle Lake boat trips.
- Cycle ride to Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery near Nyaung Shwe
- Visiting the wooden Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery, Myanmar - cycling from Nyaung Shwe via beautiful Burmese countryside.
- Nyaung Shwe, Maing Yhauk, Inle Lake, Kaung Daing circular bike ride
- Bike Ride from Nyaung Shwe Myanmar going via Maing Yhauk, Inle Lake, Kaung Daing seeing stilt houses and floating gardens.
- Local bike ride around the Nyaung Shwe countryside in Myanmar
- Cycling from Nyaung Shwe looking at a couple of Pagodas and Monasteries, villages and out in the lovely Burmese countryside.
- Myanmar travel, touring and sightseeing guides and photos
- Our above Home Page shows all of our items about Myanmar covering Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan.
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