After having soaked up a lot of culture in Myanmar, after having enjoyed the local life and the local people, it was good to have a taste of Burmese nature. Inle Lake serves this purposes quite well. The lake sits between mountains, and because of their protection and the lake being shallow, it perfectly mirrors the surrounding landscape in its tranquil waters. Apart from the beauty of the setting of the lake, it is very attractive because of the Intha people living around it, their villages on stilts, the colourful markets, their handicrafts, and their ingenuous ways of living on the water.
According to legend, the Intha people came from southern Myanmar some 600 years ago, and longed for the sea they lived by so much, that they were very adept to live as close to the waters of Inle Lake as possible. While most famous for their odd-looking leg-rowing of small rowing boats, the Intha also constructed houses on stilts, and most villages around the lake are not built on the shore, but rather on the lake itself, with people moving around the canals in boats. In some villages, it is possible to walk around, and it is almost inevitable to think you are in Venice at times.
Moreover, instead of growing the lands around the lake, the Intha developed floating gardens, a clever way to grow vegetables and flowers. They are in fact highly productive and fertile floating islands with water hyacinths and soil, stuck to the bottom of the lake with bamboo poles. Added advantage is that they can be moved, if needed. Inle Lake also sees monasteries and pagodas, one of the most well known the Jumping Cat Monastery. Here, amazed - or bored - visitors can see a corny show of a monk making cats jump through small hoops.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Inle Lake (Myanmar). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Inle Lake. Read more about this site.