Inle Lake is the land of floating villages, long neck tribes, fisherman, and is mainly known for their factories of gold, silver, and silk...
We loaded onto a long tail wooden boat all dusty, dirty and worn out after finishing up our three day trek. The driver led us through a small river engulfed with green plants and lily pads with stems sticking out from every which direction. The boat had actual seats with cushions (BONUS!), but we barely made it through some of the gates scratching the sides of the boat each time we passed through the narrow entrances.
He took us through the floating villages which were absolutely insane! Bamboo houses on stilts in the middle of the rivers and lakes. Their elementary school was even on the water. The driver took us through all of the silver and gold factories, we visited the long neck tribe, along with the lotus silk makers and the monastery. We watched the men's different fishing techniques including the one legged stance on the end of the boat with a paddle and others with massive egg shaped nets they drop in the water. It was immaculate watching their skill and balance.
We passed many water farms filled with tomatoes and grapes and watched the locals pick produce from their boats. We saw children paddling their own boats as well. Such a different, yet simple life. The houses were completely withered, falling apart, sometimes unlivable, yet people were still happy to be alive! An impeccable culture to experience.
We got dropped off after a long boat ride at Inle Lake. It was only $1 dollar a person for this long tail boat tour. We hired a tuk tuk to take us to our bags and hostel, Song of Travel, our home for the next two nights. Man was that the most amazing cold shower, I felt refreshed and so incredibly clean!
We biked to Shwe Myanmar, a restaurant around the corner to have a nice cold beer and dinner. I had an amazing eggplant curry and avocado salad. The beer was even better!
I met Pete in the main area and invited him to the roof of the hostel with us. He was Brazilian and very kind, except for when he started talking about politics... I felt like a fly on the wall during most of the conversations, simply absorbing all of the information I was naive to. It is important to learn from and listen to fellow travelers because given our very biased media outlets in the states we are sometimes uneducated or naive to some of the things going on in this world. We sat on the roof for hours drinking fifty proof whiskey and discussing political jargon while looking over the town of Inle Lake.
For breakfast the next morning they served me half and avocado, toast an egg and two bananas. HALLELUJAH FOR AVOCADOS! Jose and I went to the central market with the free bikes provided by our hostel. We walked around the market which had food, fruits, bags, crafts, scarves, clothing, and anything else you could think of.
We decided to head to the winery. Yes, I said it, there is a winery in Myanmar! The boys on bikes and I on a tuk tuk. No way was I riding a bike there and back and no way was I going to do it in the rain while inebriated on copious amounts of wine. It was a torrential downpour by the time we got there. The view of the mountains with the vineyard was exquisite. I can see why people go there for sunset. We stayed at the winery for about four hours and five bottles of wine before heading back to eat at the Sunflower Restaurant in town.
The next day I woke up and did yoga on the rooftop before breakfast. I brought up my green tea and put on some nice jams to zen out to. A flow a day keeps the doctor away. Before taking off on my horrific bus trip to Hsipaw I decided to bike around Inle Lake one last time... A beautiful city it was.
Things to do:
- Long tail boat cruise: Visit the silver, gold and silk factories while watching the fisherman work their magic
- Bike around the town
- Visit the central market and enjoy the locals!
- Visit the winery: One of the only ones you will find in Southeast Asia
Places to eat:
- The Sunflower Restaurant - typical Shan dishes
- Shwe Myanmar - typical Shan dishes
- Smiling Moon - inexpensive and delicious shan dishes!
- Golden Kite - Pancakes and pasta galore if you want a break from typical Burmese food.
- Four Sisters Restaurant/Inn - Eat while being entertained with music & dance.
Where to stay:
- Song of Travel
- Ostello Bello Nyaung Shwe
- Aquarius Inn
- Inle Lotus Hotel
Enjoy the beautiful and unique town of Inle Lake!