Inle Lake: The Inthas, Floating Gardens, Stilt Villages and Cheroot Making

Intha Fisherment and leg-rowers of Inle Lake
Intha Fisherment and leg-rowers of Inle Lake

The motorized long boat roared through the lake waters coming from the boat landing site. It seemed funny that I have the whole boat all to myself as I sit in the middle chair. Each chair has umbrellas for passengers to use. I only have 2 hours to spare on my tour around the Inle Lake but Monterey, my boatman and guide said it would be enough to explore the top portion of the lake. We will visit a couple of villages, tomato farms and a small factory where they make cheroot, a local cylindrical cigar.

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Inle Lake: On Foot Around Nyaungshwe

Boat Landing area at Inle Lake
Boat Landing area at Inle Lake

I realized I haven’t eaten breakfast since I was too caught up trying to work around some obstacles after arriving in Inle Lake. So with the Balloon Festival happening in the next town of Taunggyi, all the accommodations in Inle Lake were all fully booked. Prices have also somewhat shot up like the accommodations and tours the town offers. Good thing the food prices haven’t changed. I got a very tasty Fried Rice Chicken for 2000 kyat for brunch before exploring this little town north of Inle Lake.

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In Transit: An Arduous Journey and a Kind Soul at Inle Lake

The Ticket counters and bus companies at Mandalay Highway Bus Station
The Ticket counters and bus companies at Mandalay Highway Bus Station

If only I could say “stop!” while our mini-bus rode through the rolling terrain of Kalaw State at the break of dawn. I wanted to halt the mini-bus not because my legs and feet remained immobile for hours. My legs were cramped in a corner, just behind the front seats of a full, air-cooled mini-bus headed to Inle Lake, but the scenery at Kalaw state and the rest of the Shan hills vast expanse were draped in a mysterious mist billowing overland. The morning sun cast beams of light in the mist resulting to a dramatic diffusion of light and shadows over the hilly plateau. It was one of the most magnificent sights I’ve seen on the road.

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