Inle lake is the final stop on the Amazing Myanmar tour, and I subscribe to the idea of “keeping the best for last”. Myanmar’s Inle lake is our crowning touch on an amazing tour of a fascinating and friendly country. We arrive in the lakeside town of Nuang Shwe and immediately board our 3 private boats, for the 45 minute journey to our comfortable, convenient and charmingly scenic, over-water accommodations, just minutes from all the best photo ops on the lake. The markets around Inle Lake are on a 5-day rotation, and the start date of our annual photo tour is based completely upon our visit to this market, and the Nampan Market which I consider to be the two best photo opportunities in this region. Located on the southwestern shore of the main lake, Inn Dein village area can be said the most scenic part of Inle Lake. The creek leading to the village is beautiful at all seasons, animating with different activities on its banks. Inn-Dein village serves as the main western portal to the lake for nearby Pa Oh villages on the hills.
At 875 meters above sea level, Inle Lake is surrounded by high hills that help to keep the waters calm and lake area misty. The huge and beautiful lake not only contains a marvelous microcosm of aquatic life and activity, but is also home to a harmonious blend of national races, including the Bamar, Danaw, Danu, Intha, Kayah, Pa-O, Shan, and Taung-Yo peoples. Inle Lake also supports a thriving farming community that produces a wide range of vegetables and flowers. Rice is cultivated at the northern end of the lake on extremely fertile, man-made floating islands. The local men also produce silver and brassware, pottery and lacquerware, while the lake’s women are highly skilled weavers.
Just wanted to share a funny anecdote…often times on the Myanmar trip (usually early in the trip), when we are transiting from one location to another in the bus, we pass interesting things that are potentially great photo ops. Sometimes we are able to stop, other times we can’t because we’re on the way to some “time sensitive” photo op (sunset, a particular ceremony etc). On many occasions I proclaim “don’t worry, we’ll see hundreds more” (monks, nuns, Pagodas, oxcarts etc). So, while we were on our way to a monastery for a shoot, we noticed the rainbow that you see above and below. This was indeed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I had the driver stop so we could all get out and photograph this beautiful sight. After we were all done shooting the rainbow, Tom, one of the tour participants said (mimicking me) “don’t worry, we’ll see a hundreds more perfect rainbows coming out of golden pagodas!” I hadn’t laughed so hard at someone’s comment in a long time. Thanks Tom for your insightful and hilarious comment, it really made my day.
One of our weathered, 6 year old, hand-painted boat signs with an Inle Lake leg-rower in the background. Sorry, but just I couldn’t resist this opportunity for a tiny bit of gratuitous self promotion.