- Pyin Oo Lwin
- Hpa An
Phaung Taw Oo Pagoda
The annual pagoda festival the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda is the most highly revered monastery in Inle Lake. The pagoda houses five Buddha images covered in gold leaf which set beside their original images and to which only men are allowed to offer gold foil to.
Hundreds of red, white and brown stupas stand in varying states of disrepair on a hill in Indein, a Myanmar village located at the end of a narrow creek directly off Inle Lake. The journey to Indein is a joy: the twists and turns of the creek took us past farmers, accompanied by water buffalo, tilling the rice paddies and families bathing along the banks.The hill of golden and white washed pagodas is surrounded by older, slowly crumbling pagodas which are being reclaimed by nature and some still contain their Buddha treasures.
A Shan State hidden gem, Kakku is a collection of 2,478 stupas commissioned 2,000 years ago and it is a religious centre for the Pa’O people, a Buddhist tribe from Myanmar. Due to local laws it is required to take the trip with a local guide: we made a stop along the way to collect our tickets and our Pa’O guide up in the Taunggyi tourism office en route from Kakku from Lake Inle.
Riding Hot Air Balloon
Take to the skies of Inle Lake in these small, exclusive balloons and experience the true flavor of this astonishing country from a different perspective! Take to the skies of Inle Lake in these small, exclusive balloons and experience the true flavour of this astonishing country from a different perspective! Feel at ease in the traditional wicker basket compartments, which you will share with only a couple of other passengers. The UK commercially licensed pilots are skilled at giving you the experience of a lifetime. Enjoy spectacular lake views from the sky gave amazing views and take an unforgettable balloon ride ever.
Seeing Fisherman / Legs Rower
We were lucky enough to be on Lake Inle during the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival, Myanmar’s largest festival. We came across one of the pagoda races which occur during the festival at one of the villages along the lake. The boats held around 20-30 men, all rowing with one leg as fast as they could down a stretch of water. It was a crazy spectacle to witness!
5 Day Market
One of Inle Lake’s most popular and picturesque sights is its famous five-day market, so-called as it migrates from one rustic lakeside village to another on a five-day rota system. Local Shan and Intha people, as well as numerous Pa-O villagers from the surrounding hills, converge to sell their wares and produce. These days, numerous tourists converge to photograph them converging, while stocking up on a few handicraft souvenirs.
The gardens are formed by consolidating natural floating lake vegetation into compacted strips. Above waterline stems and leaves are then cut and burnt and lake mud piled on top, gradually creating a strip of floating soil and compost. These floating rows are then anchored to the shallow bottom with bamboo poles and crops can be planted; shallow rooted tomatoes are the clear favorite. Rows are organized into ‘fields’, with water channels between them and tending and harvesting is then done from small wooden boats. Some longer-standing gardens are firm enough to walk on and roots will eventually connect them to the lake bottom but they do wobble it’s an odd sensation.
Burmese Cat Village / Inle Heritage
Burmese cats are descendants of a single female called Wong Mau, who was taken from Myanmar to America in 1930 and bred with an American Siamese. “Since then, American and British breeders have developed distinctly different Burmese breed standards,” she said.
Burmese cats are prized throughout North America, Europe and Australia, though rarely seen here in their country of origin. To rectify this deficiency, Wong How Man of the China Exploration and Research Society brought some pedigree Burmese cats back to Myanmar in August, 2008. “Our founder Ma Yin Myo Su has a good relationship with Mr Wong, and helped him to acquire them. Three came from England and four from Australia.”
Some of the lake’s villages specialise in various handicraft and cottage industries and the workshops form regular stops on most Inle Lake itineraries. Some are indigenous to the lake and others more contrived, but they are on the whole at least traditionally Burmese -- even the contrived ones create work and income for the villagers.
Lotus Fiber Extension
Drawn from the cut stems of the lotus plant, lotus fibers are fine, flexible, and incredibly soft. It’s said that the technique of spinning thread from the plant was first developed to fashion unique offerings to Buddhist abbots in the form of lotus robes, but nowadays, the fibers are chiefly used to weave scarves and shawls making an entire garment out of lotus isn’t practical for a number of reasons, although bolts of fabric are sometimes ordered from Inle by Japanese clients.
It may not the most practical or utilitarian fiber, but lotus thread has important religious and cultural significance in Myanmar. In Buddhist teachings, the lotus flower is a potent symbol of one’s ability to overcome difficult circumstances and realize one’s potential, just as the lotus flower emerges from the muddy waters and unfolds its brilliant petals. The lotus is ubiquitous across Myanmar, and here on Inle Lake, it forms a fascinating part of the area’s textile traditions.