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Burma: Inle Lake and the East

Sunrise over Inle Lake Sunrise over Inle Lake

We took a flight from Bagan to Heho, the nearest airport to Inle Lake in Shan state (a couple of inches to the right of Bagan on the map) and as we arrived early rather than go directly to the hotel, we made a few stops in the morning. We stopped briefly at a small parasol workshop where they explained how they make parasols by hand (the ones used by monks), another local market, a monastery and then we went up to the Red Mountain Winery.

At Shwenyaung, one of the five-day markets near Khaung Daing village

At Shwenyaung, one of the five-day markets near Khaung Daing village

At a monastery for novices

At a monastery for novices

At a monastery for novices

At a monastery for novices

I had asked the guide if we could stop at a traditional tea shop, they are famous here for their tea shops and I wanted to try a local tea. It’s a black tea brewed for hours and then mixed with condensed milk – it tastes as dodgy as it sounds but they served it with an amazing stuffed paratha (Indian flaky bread) with a yellow pea dip that was delicious.

Traditional Burmese tea

Traditional Burmese tea

Stuffed paratha with yellow pea dip at the teashop near Inle Lake

Stuffed paratha with yellow pea dip at the teashop near Inle Lake

Red Mountain Winery, near Inle Lake

Red Mountain Winery, near Inle Lake

After a wine tasting and a long boozy lunch at the winery, we just relaxed at the hotel in the afternoon. Our hotel was a collection of bungalows set right on the edge of Inle Lake and at sunset there was some amazing cloud reflections on the water.

At Hu Pin Inle Khaung Daing Village Resort on Inle Lake

At Hu Pin Inle Khaung Daing Village Resort on Inle Lake

Sunset over Inle Lake

Sunset over Inle Lake

The next morning we got up early and set off for a big day of lake related activities. It was very sharp light in the morning and there were lots of fisherman out on their boats. They have a unique way of rowing the boat with one leg so that they have both hands free to catch fish with a net, a harpoon or a cage.

Inle Lake

Inle Lake

Inle Lake

Inle Lake

Inle Lake

Inle Lake

Inle Lake

Inle Lake

It took about an hour to get down to the southern part of the lake where we went to a floating market, the jumping cat monastery and a lotus and silk workshop. They make thread from the fibres of the lotus plant stem and then use it for weaving.

That night we went out to a local restaurant in the village and came home on a ‘Mercedes’ – (a trailer attached to a tractor!) and unfortunately it was starting to rain. Restaurants here have been a bit disappointing on the whole. They seem to take forever to serve dishes and then normally it comes out cold. I think once again I was spoiled by Cambodia’s amazing restaurant scene.

On our final day at Inle Lake the weather was deteriorating so we had been lucky to get some good fisherman photos the day before. We took a boat again, down to the villages on the southern part of the lake for some ‘soft trekking’ (strolling about) in a circle through the countryside and back to the starting village.

Village life on Inle Lake

Village life on Inle Lake

At the 'jumping cat monastery' on Inle Lake

At the ‘jumping cat monastery’ on Inle Lake

Indein village near Inle Lake

Indein village near Inle Lake

Making rice crackers in a village near Inle Lake

Making rice crackers in a village near Inle Lake

Indein stupas

Indein stupas

It was interesting but I’m not sure I am entirely comfortable with these types of trips – walking around and taking pictures of the locals seems really intrusive and we also stopped off at a school and completely disrupted their morning.

After a really nice lunch in the village we took the boat home and it was getting very overcast and damp. By evening it was pouring down with rain and it was cold. I felt very sorry for the people just arriving as they must have had a pretty miserable day on the lake.

We had a traditional Shan banquet in the evening and took a delayed flight in the morning back to Yangon. I said goodbye to everyone last night and I’m now flying solo until Wednesday when I will set off again to the beautiful Myeik Archipelago.

 

3 Comments on Burma: Inle Lake and the East

  1. Hannah van Frankenhuijsen // January 18, 2015 at 11:25 am // Reply

    Dear Alison,

    Burma sounds amazing and fascinating, you are such an adventurous young lady, I admire you very much.

    Hope the next stage of your journey is just as beautiful, thank you for the marvellous photos.

    I received both of your blog’s and enjoy reading about your incredibly exotic tour. Take care.

    Until next time, bye.

    Love,

    Hannah

  2. Hi, Good to read about your amazing adventures in Burma and we look forward to reading about the second part of your trip. So many great temples – being ‘templed out’ looks to be a risk in Burma! Viv & Alan.

  3. Hi Alison

    I am a friend of David and Heather Truslove. Really enjoyed reading your blog and viewing your photos. They reflect the atmosphere as well as the culture of the area. I too am a very keen photographer and appreciate the technicality behind some of the photos.
    Enjoy your travels you certainly are very adventurous.
    Best Wishes
    Sue Mason

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