How A Boat Trip Reveals The Life On Inle Lake
Myanmar is rather a laid-back country when it comes to tourism in Southeast Asia. However, it doesn’t mean this country doesn’t have anything attractive. One of them is the legendary Inle Lake. After spending a day floating on Inle Lake, I felt like unearthing a secret aspect of Myanmar, which is typical for the rural life.
Inle is the second-largest freshwater lake in Myanmar, located at an altitude of over 800m above the sea level. As a result, this region features a pleasant climate all year round. Thanks to the privilege endowed by Mother Nature, Inle possesses a poetic atmosphere and incredibly charming landscape. A boat trip On Inle will help you admire the real beauty in full dimensions.
Photo: mydaydream từ Pixabay
Expect The Unexpected On A Boat Tour Around Inle Lake
Touring on a boat around Inle Lake is such a significant thing to do that it’s more than comfortable to find a boat driver. You can rent motorboats at Inle Lake to visit the scenery from 8 AM till evening at the cost of 15,000 kyats, equivalent to $10. Typically, each boat can carry up to 5 people. 2 umbrellas are available to protect the guests from the rain and the sun.
My boat was half full with three people: 2 passengers and a boat driver only. It was a small but quite long motorboat (about 5m). Before reaching each destination, the driver will turn off the engine and paddling to the bank. We left the pier at around 8 am when the sun wasn’t at its full brightness. The grass and the leaves were wet with early morning dew, and the air was really cool and refreshing. I felt like I hadn’t enjoyed this kind of atmosphere for such a long time. Each breathing stroke me as a brand new experience that lingered in my lungs, my mind, and my soul.
Photo: mailanmaik từ Pixabay
The First Stop At The Silversmith Village
The distance from the boat station to the first spot was quite far, taking us about 30 minutes by boat. Inle lake is so vast. Although I have been to Tonle Sap Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, I still think that Inle is not much inferior in terms of size. The calm water splashed against both sides of the fast-moving boat, making a melodic harmony. On one side, high mountain ranges overcast the emerald green over the water surface. The other side is that freshwater that knows no bound. The fitful sunshine in the early morning made the lake even more brilliant.
After crossing a large part of the lake, our boat began to creep into smaller alleys to enter the very first stop. It was a traditional village of the silversmiths. Houses were built on enormous wooden stilts. They are not similar to the stilted houses of the Vietnamese ethnic minorities residing in Sapa. As far as I know, most of the population in Inle Lake is minority communities too, but they are native to Myanmar only
In this village, the local people sold all the goods and jewelry made of silver. They also performed their skills so that the guests can verify the quality and admire their expertise. In close vicinity, you can find a daily market selling all sorts of mixed items from souvenirs, jewelríe for visitors, to fresh foodstuff for the locals
Alternatively, you have other options to visit the silk weaving village where you can see the Burmese women working beside the looms.
Photo: Patrick Fransoo/Pixabay
The Next Destination In Shwe Indein Pagoda
The boat continues to Indein, a key attraction in our journey. This is a large area famous for thousands of small temples. I bet that you may come across it before because this is such a symbol for Inle.
As stunning and familiar as it is, I was almost lost among these look-alike stupas — thousands of temples towered above medium hills and far-reaching toward the sky. Most of them are in a peculiar shape, but there are several that had long rubbled away. Some are covered with thick moss. Some still remain the bright red color of the construction materials.
After around half an hour finding the way out from the stupa maze of Shwe Indein Pagoda, I spent the lunchtime on a lakeside restaurant. It was the first time I tried Burmese cuisine from locally sourced ingredients. All the dishes had a distinctive taste that left a long-lasting impression on my mind. Is it the taste of truly Myanmar?
Photo: JP Desvigne/Pixabay
Stop By The Floating Garden
Another specialty of Inle is the floating garden. I had no idea that tomato could grow so well above the water. The harvesting area was so large and substantial that farmers could even walk alongside the lush green tomato gardens.
Here we strolled on a small, long wooden bridge to enjoy some leisurely moments, watching clouds gently floating. The boat driver was so lovely as to tell us some stories of the Inle residents. Their life is difficult, but no one really wants to leave the land.
Inle Lake At Dusk
And to round up the boat trip before dark, the boat driver took us to the heart of the magnificent lake. Here you can have the best view of the Inle sunset. The dazzling water becomes a large mirror, reflecting fierce glows of the sun, which seems to hold on the daylight.
Before returning to the boat station, I had an opportunity to witness the fabulous fish catching using legs of the Inle residents. Using the skills passed from generation to generation, the locals here not only bring home the delicacies of Inle Lake but also perform an ingenious performance for the international tourists.