Inle Lake, Unique floating village in Myanmar

by TAA on December 25, 2019

Inle Lake is located in the Shan Province of Myanmar and is Myanmar's second largest lake, at nearly 50 square miles. It is one of Myanmar's most anticipated destinations with marshes and floating gardens, where stilt-house villages and Buddhist temples rise above the water, and Intha fisherfolk propel their boats along via their unique technique of leg-rowing. Surrounding the lake are hills that are home to many minorities: Shan, Pa-O, Taung Yo, Danu, Kayah and Danaw, who descend from their villages for markets that hopscotch around the towns of the region on a five-day cycle.

an Inle fisherman at sun rise

Sunrise on Inle lake - Photo: Internet

Inle Lake is located in central Shan State, nearly 600 km from Yangon. With about 220 km2 in acreage, this is the second largest freshwater lake in Myanmar, located at an altitude of about 889 m above sea level, surrounded by high mountains. Life on Inle Lake is like an ancient forgotten world, completely separated from the bustling life outside.

Inle lake floating village

The village on Inle lake - Photo: Internet

Inle is not only a pristine lake but also the home of Intha and a small number of Shan, Taungyo, Pa-O (Taungthu), Danu, Kayah, Danaw and Bamar. Scattered on the surface of Inle Lake are floating villages. Houses here are simply made of bamboo and wood, the floors are a few meters higher from the water surface to avoid flood in the rainy season. Inle Lake tour will take tourists to visit the flower-growing village, cigars-making village, the village of the long neck people and the famous temples.

a fisherman holding fishnet by one leg

Intha men standing on one leg for fishing - Photo: Internet

The first image visitors will catch on Inle Lake are Intha men standing on one leg in small wooden boat for fishing. Previously, Inle Lake had many reeds so fishermen need to stand in higher place to be easily observed. They use one leg to row the boat, one foot to keep balance and release their hands to throw nets easily.

Long neck women are weaving

Long neck women in the village on Inle Lake - Photo: Internet

Another village on Inle Lake is of the long neck. Kayan women often wear copper bracelets weighing dozens of kilograms throughout their lives. They rarely move outside, often weave on the loom and talk when tourists visit. Long-neck women weaving cloth or Intha men sailing with one leg are the impressive images in the minds of visitors about Inle Lake.

ladies at a local market

Market in the village - Photo: Internet

Occasionally on the lake, tourists will also see flea markets, reflecting the image of Vietnam in the past with thermos to keep heat, cast iron pots, vegetables and fruits sold on simple bamboo, wood stalls.

two local children are buying food from a street food stall at Inle market

Children in the village - Photo: Internet

Life on Inle Lake is self-sufficient. Means of transportation are long wooden boats. If they want to trade and shop, they can drive boats to the flea markets. Children who want to go to school often have to go a long way to enter Nyaungshwe village.

Phaung Daw Oo

Phaung Daw Oo - Photo: Internet

However, for Myanmar people, pagoda is an important place for children to pray. Traditionally, all children from 5 to 16 years old can go to the temple to pray and show gratitude to their family. In the picture is Phaung Daw Oo, one of the largest temples in Inle.

monks in Phaung Daw Oo

The monks in the temples - Photo: Internet

Many temples in Inle are open to tourists, where tourists can visit the architecture or shop for souvenirs just outside the temple gates.

a boat with two women selling dragon fruits

Fruits are grown on Inle lake - Photo: Internet

Not only make houses on the water, Inle people also cultivate right on the lake. This is considered one of the most unique cultivation methods in the world. According to people, there are rarely big waves in the Inle Lake. They use duckweed and moss to make floating rafts and cultivate on these.

Cultivate on the lake

Cultivate on the lake - Photo: Internet

These floating rafts are fixed by bamboo poles and can rise and fall according to the season of water. Intha's daughter, at the age of getting married, will be cut off a part of floating rafts by her parents for a dowry. The typical dish that Inle often introduces to tourists is tomato salad, which are grown on these unique fields.

catching fish on Inle Lake

Life on the Inle lake - Photo: Internet

Tour around Inle Lake usually starts in early morning and ends when the sun goes down the mountain. Inle is voted one of the most beautiful places to watch the sunset in the world. To visit all the famous spots on Lake Inle, visitors need to take at least a day. Time and number of visiting points are up to the negotiation between you and the boat driver. The price is around 300,000 VND per tour for each person, not including meals and incurred services.

To book a tour to visit Inle Lake, or other destinations in Myanmar, you can contact Travel Authentic Asia via email: [email protected] or WhatApp: +84 912221442. Travel Authentic Asia is the tailor made tour operator based in Vietnam since 2011, which has delivered excellent travel experiences up to 4000 travellers over the world.


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