Inle lake is situated 900 m above sea level and surrounded by blue and hazy mountain ranges. Some visitors to Myanmar
referred to Inle lake as the “Venice of the East” when going through
the canals and villages by boat. There are about 100,000 people
inhibiting Inle lake and it’s shores. It is 22 km in length and 10 km
in the widest place. Various tribal (e.g. Intha, Pa-O and Shan)
people’s daily life and markets in the lake area are an attraction.
Arts and crafts of Intha people can also be seen at Inle lake.
Leg rowing is practiced among all the Intha people.
The better hotels are either directly on the lake or on its shores.
Many of these hotels can only be reached by boat.
NYAUNG SHWE VILLAGE
The main gateway
when arriving to the Inle Lake is Nyaung Shwe, which used to be a former capital of
a Shan Kingdom. Today there is not much to see aside from the Shan
Palace (today Haw Museum) that in foreigner’s eyes rather looks like a
beautiful villa. It’s worth a visit. There are plenty of guesthouses
and restaurants in the lower category in Nyaung Shwe.
PHAUNG DAW OO PAGODA
Most devote Buddhists believe the Paung Daw Oo Pagoda to be a very sacred one due
to some miracles that happened in the past. The pagoda has five Buddha
Images and all are in irregular shape. The legend tells the Buddha
images were carved in the 12th Century. Phaung Daw Oo pagoda festival
usually held in October is unique and famous for its procession where
the Images are brought from village to village.
These floating gardens are also found in Kashmir, Peru
and Mexico. But Intha people are wise enough to turn these floating gardens into
hydroponics farming. The gardens are formed naturally from the mixture
of hyacinth, buoyancy and some decay roots and anchored with bamboo
poles in the shallow lake. Mainly tomatoes and gourds are planted on
One may be curious why the Intha people row their boats with legs. It
is more powerful, and more suitable to use their traditional fishing
method by putting a conical shaped fishing trap into the lake. In
addition they can see ahead by standing in reedy area. Intha is the
only tribe who row their boat with legs.
The Indein pagoda complex is situated in the Western part of Inle Lake
and most archaeologists believe that the Indein pagodas were built between
the 17th and 18th Century. There are about 1000 stupas in the area.
The boats navigate a narrow stream upstream to Indein pagoda complex,
which is an exciting boat ride and requires great skills in
navigating. You may stroll around the pagodas and bamboo forests.
On Inle lake there are many birds. There are 18 species of local and
15 species of hibernating birds. In the bird sanctuary ornithologists
can observe Herons, King fishers, Cormorants, Egrets, Seagull and
Drongos amongst others.
Various silk shawls and other clothes are woven in artistic patterns
patiently by handlooms. The method is very similar to Ikrat method of
Cambodia. The process is very complicated and time consuming. It is
worth to visit if one is interested to see hand made fabrics.
LOCAL FISHING METHODS
Inle lake is shallow and weedy. So the people invented their own
method to catch fishes. Among the various methods of catching fish is
a conical shaped fishing trap as well as pulling a net in the
downstream of Inle lake. Inthar catch crabs and shrimps with a small bamboo basket.