Inle Lake in Myanmar

For those of you who are planning for a travel in Myanmar, you should not miss chance to visit the serenely picturesque Inle Lake, which is located in western Shan State. Inle Lake is famous for its floating villages, gardens and markets and the unique way of life of the local Intha people, with their functioning communities based entirely on the water.

Inle Lake is a freshwater lake located in the Nyaungshwe Township of Taunggyi District of Shan State, part of Shan Hills in Myanmar. It is the second largest lake in Myanmar with an estimated surface area of 116 square kilometers, and one of the highest at an elevation of 880 meters. During the dry season, the average water depth is 2.1 meters, with the deepest point being 3.7 meters, but during the rainy season this can increase by 1.5 meters. The watershed area for the lake lies to a large extent to the north and west of the lake. The lake drains through the Nam Pilu or Balu Chaung on its southern end. There is a hot spring on its northwestern shore. Indochina tours Myanmar

Inle Lake is the second largest lake in Myanmar

Inle Lake is the second largest lake in Myanmar

The lake sits in a valley between two mountain ranges, feels like a different world to the rest of Myanmar: in villages and towns across the lake, wooden houses are built high on stilts and fishermen steer their one-man boats with a unique rowing style, wrapping one leg around their oar. Most of the time the surface of the lake seems to perpetually resemble a vast silver sheet, one interspersed with stilt-house villages, island-bound Buddhist temples and floating gardens. Commuter and tourist motorboats and flat-bottomed skiffs navigate this watery world, the latter propelled by the unique Intha technique of leg rowing – in which one leg is wrapped around the paddle to drive the blade through the water in a snake-like motion – adding to the ephemeral aura. Tours in Myanmar

Fishermen steer their one-man boats with a unique rowing style, wrapping one leg around their oar

Fishermen steer their one-man boats with a unique rowing style, wrapping one leg around their oar

When eventually you do hit land, you will encounter whitewashed stupas or Shan, Pa-O, Taung Yo, Danu, Kayah and Danaw tribal people at the markets that hopscotch around the lake on a five-day cycle. Officially at least, the area around the lake has also been protected as the Inle Wetland Bird Sanctuary, a government-recognised bird sanctuary, since 1985 and you will see herons, warblers, cormorants, wild ducks and egrets. But in recent years, overuse of pesticides and diminishing water levels has begun to impact both wildlife and humans.

In villages and towns across the lake, wooden houses are built high on stilts

In villages and towns across the lake, wooden houses are built high on stilts

There are many restaurants dotted around the lake where you can indulge in their delicious catches of the day. Along with fishing, traditional handicrafts are an important part of the local economy, and you will get to see silk weavers and silversmiths plying their trade on the lake. And as with all of Myanmar, religion plays a massive part in local life, and numerous pagodas and monasteries can be found on the lake and its shores.

A floating tomato garden on Inle Lake

A floating tomato garden on Inle Lake

Inle is one of Myanmar’s most popular destinations for travelers. Traveling in Inle Lake, you will have chance to relax after long working-days and learn more about Myanmar’s tradition and culture.

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