Myanmar part 3: Lake Inle

Lake Inle is the second biggest lake of Burma and is home to the Intha, who built their 40 villages on piles and harvest floating gardens on the lake.

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After a night bus from Bagan, we arrived in Lake Inle at 5am. After a short rest to recover from a night in the bus, we went cycling around Nyaungshwe village on our first day to get busy.

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A monk teaching to kids in a monastery at the top of a hill

When we came back, we witnessed a ceremony for two 4 years-old boys who were about to become monks. We then spent a very cool evening with our new friends, 3 girls from Germany who seemed to have seemed almost all of south east Asia.

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On the next day, we paired up with a group of 3 Dutch girls to go on a boat tour around the lake to discover the local life and the lake floating gardens – monasteries.

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The fishermen have a very unique way of wrapping their leg around the paddle, leaving both of their hands free to fish.  

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The five Buddha heads lie in a temple and people come to apply golden leaves on them, making them bigger every day that passes. Every year they take them out for a tour around the lake and a massive ceremony. 

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The villages are built on piles

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The villagers use floating gardens to grow vegetables and fruits

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The Nga Phe Chaung monastery is in the middle of the lake

This tour on Lake Inle was also the occasion of visit a number of workshops producing cigars, silk and silver goods.

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Overall, even if we found this day interesting, we regretted a little bit the fact that we had a feeling of being taken around on a touristy tour. Lake Inle is supposed to be a place to experience authenticity, and it felt more like a display than anything else.

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The Karen is a persecuted tribe of Burma and most of them fled to Thailand. Some of the remaining Karen “longneck” women were “exhibited” in some shops. We refused to enter.

On that evening we took a night bus to Yangon to catch the 8:30am plane to Bangkok.

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