Myanmar may be just giving its first steps towards tourism but its landscapes are not amateur in the business. Inle Lake in particular has some of the most amazing views we’ve experienced in South East Asia. With a whole lake to cruise around, this destination holds amazing experiences.
Floating Down Inle Lake
In the little town on Nyaung Shwe in the heart of the Shan state, Inle Lake sits just a few kilometers down. Giving life to the neighbouring cities, it provides the region with income from the tourism and rich produce.
We took a little boat with an experienced local in a cold morning to start exploring what this beautiful lake have that fascinates everyone that cruises its waters.
The Floating Gardens
After starting our journey and riding for over 30 minutes, we start seeing bits of green land on the horizon. To our surprise however, we were far away from land. What we saw were giant patches of mulch like plants. Raising from the water, skilled farmers took care of the produce that is given by the river. Fish and vegetables are harvested from the lake and provide the community with rice, vegetables and raw material. The men taking care of the gardens did so balancing their bodies on what could only look like wooden boards that at this point in the morning were already full of weeds.
You can’t talk about Inle Lake without mentioning its famous fishermen. Moving weightless on their boats, artfully managing the ‘net’ like instrument to catch their nourishment. The views complement the almost staged movements they make, turning the river in their stage.
Nowadays, the villagers live off tourism that feeds families of young and old workers alike. From silver to pearls, all the way to silk and wood, these families make amazing art and products with the simple ingredients they are provided.
One of our favourite crafts was the threading of natural silk. This ancient technique extracts fibres from the steam of lotus flowers and turns them into amazing and soft fabric without the use of worms. The work is done mainly by women who skilfully prepare the threads, weave it into fabric and then into beautiful gowns, bags and more.
Burmese people are very proud of their religion. Buddhism is an essential part of their lifestyle and it is strongly connected to their daily activities. No wonder we could find such amazing temples built on the shores of Inle Lake. The most famous of them is Inn Dein. An impressive structure which consists of 100+ golden stupas. To get to this fabulous temple, our boat guide had to take the extra time to cruise down the maze of canals until we arrived in a small village. From there, we jumped off the boat and walked about 1 km till the entrance of the temple. The way up was colourful and packed with villagers selling their crafts and other souvenirs. The walk up was worth it all the steps.
One cannot experience Inle Lake fully without admiring the jaw-dropping views it provides. From sunrise until sunset you are sure to watch first handed the raw beauty this natural feature offers. We are quite prone to say the views Inle Lake provided are one of the most beautiful of the country, if not of the whole of South East Asia. Do you agree?
What was your favourite bit of experiencing Inle Lake? Did you have an extraordinary experience there too? Share your thoughts and tips with us! We’d love to hear from you.
Larissa & Jean