Hop On a Boat For a Tour of Inle Lake in Myanmar

Last month I told you about beautiful Inle Lake and showed you lots of photos from my visit. Prior to going there, I had heard great things about Inle Lake, and indeed it turned out to be one of my favorite spots in Myanmar and in SE Asia (at least what I know so far).

This video has two parts. In the first one I show you selected footage of my boat tour of the lake, which started pretty early in the morning. Here you can see, and hear, the long boat tails with its noisy engines, our approach to Hpaung Daw U Pagoda, the stilt house villages, the lotus weaving workshop, the floating gardens (go to the 1 minute 29 second mark to see how they actually float!) and the clever leg-rowing technique of Intha fishermen in action (1 minute 38 second mark).

I’ll be the first to admit it’s not award-winning video quality (I shot this with my phone), but I think it adds to the photos I showed you in my first post. My favorite part is the thirty or so seconds starting at the 27 second mark, where you can have a good look at the stilt houses, and listen to the calm while chugging along one the many channels in the lake.

Nyaung Shwe

In the last part of the video I show you some footage and photos of Nyaung Shwe, the small town by the lake where I stayed during my visit. Despite the moderate bustle from backpackers and other travellers, as well as local fishermen and workers, Nyaung Shwe remains a sleepy town where you can relax while listening to the prayers of young Buddhist monks in one of several monasteries scattered in and out of town.

The town itself can probably be visited in less than a day, but you should add at least one other day to explore Inle Lake by boat (personally, I would have liked to go a second day on another boat tour more customised for my preferences). If you have the time, you can easily spend one more day exploring the surrounding area on a rented bicycle.

From downtown Nyaung Shwe, it’s only a 10-15 minute ride to the charming Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery. One of my regrets about this trip is that I couldn’t get a nice portrait of the young novice monks (they’re kids, really) there. I happened to arrive at the same time as a group of tourists, a few of which started to shoot photos of the kids like crazy. The kids looked quite stoic about it, but it seemed to me that there was a hint of annoyed resignation in their gaze, so it kind of felt wrong for me to add to their slight discomfort. It doesn’t matter; I have the memories even if I can’t show them!

Take a look at the video and don’t hesitate to leave comments or questions below.

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