Floating on the waters of Inle

Trip Start Dec 28, 2011
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Trip End Jan 19, 2012


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Where I stayed
Joy Hotel

Flag of Myanmar  ,
Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Chilly Morning
The morning started pretty warm but by the time our boat roared into Inle Lake at high speed, the wind chills started biting through my shirt. Now that I had trekked to the hills and enjoyed the splendid views of the lake, this boat trip was really the icing on the cake.

As a freshwater lake, Inle Lake is really well kept and there was hardly any litter in sight. You can feel the care given to the lake by her immediate communities. The boating fishermen were out and about throwing their nets and paddling their oars with their legs (really an iconic image). The boat taxis were channeling through the lake with their passengers and wares, always ready to flash their smiles even from a distance.

On the lake
The first stop Ywama Floating market but we decided against it and requested Chon Myae our boatman to head south, stopping at Phaung Daw Oo Paya before we finally arrived at Chaing Kham Shan village for abit of wander through the pottery making village. Phaung Daw Oo Paya was pretty much as typical as you can get if you are a pagoda hopping regular. The highlight was however was the ordainment of a local kid, so that made our visit rather interesting.

At Chaing Kham, the freedom to just stick our heads into the vernacular huts made it all worthwhile for me. The village huts were tightly spaced from each other and most had ground level spaces dedicated for pottery making or animal rearing or storage for grains and dried foods. There was almost one ox or water buffalo to every hut.

Bliss & Zen
Just after midday after the visit to a rather expensive lotus fabric making place (one lotus scarf will cost US$70), we mae the trip to Taung To, visiting an Inthein lookalike pagoda (for the next 2 days I thought I had visited the actual Inthein Pagoda!) with its impressive display of white collection of zedis and an even more splendid view over to the Inle Lake. This place was basically deserted of any tourists, making it even more mystical. Although my climb up to the pagoda was relunctant (after yesterday's trek), we had the most amazing hour to ourselves exploring the zedis and chill out as the wind chimes softly whispered in the breeze.

Burmese Tattoos
Before we headed for Nyaungshwe, we visited the stilted home of Chon Myae our boatman, at Nathe village and also his tattoo artist neighbour who showed us the local tattooing techniques. Annelise was almost tempted to do one when the tattoo artist offered but Chon Myae had a free tattoo instead.

Burmese Family
Chon Myae was kind enough to invite us into his home, meeting his entire family. Although we had a language barrier, the use of words like "family, sister, baby, mother, father" were enough to bring smiles from everyone. It appeared that they were as happy to have us as guests as we were pleased to be able to visit their humble home. This was definitely the best 10000 kyats I had spent at Inle Lake.

Back in Nyaungshwe, we had a chance to reminisce over our day's event with DAve and Ian, over 600 kyats draught beers.
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