Inle Lake lies in the cool, green hills of Shan State, an area of outstanding natural beauty and cultural diversity.
Inle Lake lies in the cool, green hills of Shan State, an area of outstanding natural beauty and cultural diversity. For centuries the Intha have developed their own unique lifestyle based around this beautiful body of water. They live in stilted houses built on the lake and even grow their vegetables on floating gardens that are secured to the lake bottom with bamboo stakes. Skilled boatmen and fishermen, the Intha are famous for their unique style of rowing in which they stand on one leg while using the other leg to push the oar through the water.
A travelling market makes the round of several villages on the lake, completing a circuit every five days and offering visitors the best chance to see the people of the region gathered together, including the Shan, Pa-O, Danu, Taung-yo and Kayah. The Intha are also skilled in weaving colourful silk or cotton fabrics. They even produce a linenlike fabric woven out of filaments pulled from lotus stems that grow from the lake, the only material of its kind in the world. Other crafts that can be seen in villages around the lake include pottery making, jewellery making andblacksmithing.
Above all, Inle Lake is a place of peace and tranquillity. Lakeside hotels, many of them on stilts in the local style, capture the mood perfectly. Boats can be taken to visit stilted villages and pagodas, while those with more energy can go trekking to villages and monasteries in the hills above the lake. One attraction not to be missed is Indein Pagoda, a collection of weathered stupas dating back to the 13th century that are reached via a pleasant boat ride along a narrow canal, where locals can be seen fishing from the banks and farmers often bathe their water buffalo
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