A Morning Spent on Inle Lake

“This is Burma and it will be quite unlike any land you know about.”

wrote Rudyard Kipling after visiting the country in 1889, and the statement holds as much weight today as it did back then. Until very recently, the country remained effectively cut off from much of the world, and from tourism in general, preserving a rich cultural heritage of over 100 ethnic groups in a way rarely witnessed in todays modern, globalized world. Inle Lake alone is home to 6 different tribal groups, the Shan, Pa-O, Taung Yo, Danu, Kayah, and Danaw, and you can encounter elements of each of these cultures during a day trip exploring the waterways in this breathtaking location. A travelling market appears at 5 different locations around the lake on a rotating schedule, and small workshops dot the shores, islands, and canal-ways offering glimpses of artisans hard at work on the traditional arts and other handicrafts. Watch as they roll cigars, weave textiles, make traditional umbrellas, create jewelry, craft intricate lacquerware, and more. Floating markets are a common site as people from the different tribes congregate to trade their wares. All of this activity seems wholly authentic, and even the nearby town of Nyuang Shwe feels hardly touched by tourism at all, although this is bound to change, and quickly, now that the government of Myanmar has made large swaths of the country available to be freely traveled (only a few short years ago you needed special government permission to go almost everywhere in the country.)

(click photo to see a larger size slideshow)

 

Multitudes of boats are available for hire, just head down to the canal in Nyuang Shwe and you will no doubt be approached by someone eager to offer their services asking “Hello, boat trip?” For about $20 you can hire a boat that fits 4-6 people, and you’ll have the option to customize your time on the lake, whether you’d like to spend more time shopping at markets or you’d rather explore the various pagodas and temples. If you’re heading out early in the morning bring a jacket as the misty mornings get chilly on the water, and the sun takes a while to burn off the clouds that cling to the mountains lining the lake. Don’t forget sunscreen either, your camera to capture your own photos of this beautiful Earth, and some money to do a little shopping!

 

You can also view this gallery on exposure.co

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Keith Haney says:

    Looks like an amazing location.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jenn says:

      It was! I would definitely return to Inle Lake, and maybe spend some time hiking through the hills in the surrounding area.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. arwen1968 says:

    Some nice photos in that mosaic… 🙂 I love travel blogs especially of places where I know I’ll never be able to go!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jenn says:

      Thanks! “Armchair” travelling is a great way to explore the world, I spend so much time myself just looking at photos and reading about all the places in the world I wish I could get to! 🙂

      Like

      1. arwen1968 says:

        And if we were talented writers, we could go the way of Jules Verne with that… but sadly, we have to contend ourselves with merely blogging. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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