Inle Lake. I think that in the future my memory of Myanmar will be from the day spent on this lake.
I’m sure there are other lake communities like it out there, with houses on raised stilts, markets floating on the water, and a people who literally live off the lake. The community I volunteered with in Laos was similar. There are many species of plant and fish unique to Inle Lake, but the most unique part of the lake is how the men paddle. Due to the high brush in parts of the lake, the locals have learned how to hold the paddle in their foot. This allows them to paddle while seeing over the brush, and it makes for an amazing sight for the uninitiated.
Unfortunately, the tour of the lake is one of the biggest tourist traps in Myanmar. You spend a day seeing amazing things like floating/normal markets, temples, and a completely different way of life. But the boat driver has another incentive – taking you to stores. I am not sure if the driver receives a commission based on what you purchase, but for sure they receive a payment for bringing you to the store.
It’s not all that bad. I visited a tobacco workshop, silk clothing workshop, umbrella workshop, gold/silver workshop and some more I have forgotten.
Unfortunately, it rained almost the whole day I was on the lake. By no means was it supposed to be raining there in late-January. It’s exactly in the middle of dry season. Such is my luck. It wasn’t bad, but my shoes got completely soaked, which wasn’t convenient for my overnight bus that night.
Below are the pictures of this amazing place – First the market, then the rest. I hope you enjoy them!
The rest of the day on the lake: