Phaung Daw U Pagoda's Festival
This is the most holy of all Shan State celebrations. Annually, during the month of Thadingyut, from Septembre to Octobre, a 18 day Pagoda Festival is held, during which four of the five Buddha statues at Phaung Daw U Monastery are placed on a replica of a royal barge designed as a hintha bird and taken throughout Inlay Lake. One image always remains at the temple.
The most interesting event of this festival is the leg-rowed boar races and it is the one and only place in the world that boat races are participated by by leg-rowers.
In 2013, the festival took place from Octobre 5th to Octobre 26th.
Natural Hot Springs
I was travelling around by bicycle and I was looking for the Kahung Daing Hot Springs. When I arrived here, a guide invited me to visit the thermal pools in the SPA centre. I didn't get in because I had to pay 10 USD and I was not interested in taking a bath. I moved to the local restaurants side and found these two amazing natural hot springs.
I was just cycling around and have decided to go as far as Maing Thauk, the tomato plantation village. When I arrived at this place, I took the wooden bridge that goes to the lake. At the end of this bridge, a local woman invited me for a canoe trip around the village for 3000 Ks. I offered her 2000 Ks and it was accepted. I liked very much the trip! At the end, I went to have a lunch at her restaurant.
Boat trip in Inle Lake
Somebody told me it was possible to travel by boat in Inle lake with locals. I tryed to make this, but I have found it impossible without knowing the local language.
I have travel along with a couple of Argentians. We left from Nyaung Shwe at 09:00 and arrived at 16:00. We have agreed to pay about 13000 Ks for the boat, but at the end we gave to the boat man 15000 Ks.
During our trip we visited some places, including the market village, silver factory, silk factory, tobacco factory. At 14:30 we saw Phaung Daw U Pagoda's Festival at Pha Ya Pawk. When returning back to Nyaung Shwe, we passed the tomato plantation village.
I was thinking to make a trip to Indein, in another day, along with a couple. Unfortunately, at the day of departure one person was ill and I decided do not go alone.
BRING SOMETHING WITH YOU FOR THE CHILDREN
GIFTS FOR KIDS
Before leaving for Myanmar (burma) I stopped by a supermarket in Bangkok and purchased a bunch of pens , small note pads, coloured pencils and just a bunch of things I was sure the children in Burma would like and things that their parents could not afford. I was correct in my thinking and these inexpensive gifts bought huge smiles whenever I gave them out. Such simple things bought lots of pleasure. I was extremely careful only to give them out when the children were accompanied by their parents.
- Hiking and Walking
- Food and Dining
Inle Lake Trek
During our trip to Burma, we spent a few days at Inle Lake. Like most tourists visiting the area, we spent a day on the lake in a long tail boat. We enjoyed watching the fishermen at work. Fishermen from this area are famous for their ‘leg-rowing’ which involves them wrapping their leg around the paddle to guide them through the water. We also visited floating villages on the lake and observed the locals partaking in the making of silk, silver, tobacco and paper. After having completed our ‘compulsory’ boat trip on the lake, we searched further for something that would help us with our quest to discover the ‘real’ Burma.
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- Budget Travel
- Hiking and Walking
Support unique local crafts
Inle Lake is full of tribespeople trying to survive based on traditional crafts such as weaving cloth. One unique product of Inle lake is making cloth from the Lotus Root/Reed.
The shop we went to (I'm not sure if it is the only one)was Ko Than Hlang. You can go to the back where you can see the extracting of the "thread" and spooling it onto spindles and then weaving it into cloth- all done manually using hand spindles and bamboo looms. Someone will explain all the steps in the process to you.
Why not support them by visiting their shop and if you can buying something? They also sell quality silk clothes, scarfs and lungis. The prices vary considerably.
To see what I bought click: KoThanHlang
- Arts and Culture
- Religious Travel
Life around the lake.
It´s very pleasant to see the farmers way of life on the lake. Long boats transporting villagers, people fishing, harvesting. Small villages along the way with the backround of the beautiful Shan mountains, a very nice and peaceful experience.
Inle is also famous for its special style of aquaculture; the famous floating gardens. Located north of Nampam Intha village farmers grow vegetables, tomatoes and flowers in these gardens. For years a collection of hyacinth, weeds and grasses made a thick layer of floating land around the rim. They cut it in long pieces and tied them up to the bottom of the lake by bamboo poles, then they plant the seeds and harvested by boat when grown.
Lotus Flower textile.
It´s a common stop on the journey through the lake to visit a weaving workshop in the town of In Phaw Khone, where you can see all the complex creation and production of the Lotus textiles. Beautiful and expensive.
Intha Fishermen, leg Row.
The water hyacint (not nature to the lake) is a big problem for the fishermen, that´s why they use their legs to row. They stand on one leg rowing with the other wrapped around the oar to have a perfect view of the front. Maybe one of the most iconic features of the lake.
Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery (Jumping cats show).
After visiting the beautiful shrines and statues of the monastery, we were ready for the show. 15 cute cats wandering around the visitors (some of them very friendly and used to humans) waiting in row to perform the jumping show through loops. A very nice afternoon, waiting to stop raining, enjoying the cats jump.
Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery.
A 18th century monastery built on teakwood on stilts over the lake, its located on the eastern side of it. A dark structure that contains a very interesting collection of Buddha images located in their own shrines, some of them are really surprising with beautiful wooden carvings covered with gold leafs. But most of the people come for the cat show. Monks have trained their cats to jump through loops. So as we were trapped there due to the heavy rain we enjoy jump after jump from the cute and lazy cats.
Boat trips, hiking and fantastic landscape
A canoe trip through the canals that lead to Inle lake is great. I got mine arranfe from Teakwood Hotel. My "canoeist"/guide for the day was "ya'jo". While you dont see anything spectacualar on such a trip except the landscape -esp. when the lake opens up in front of you- you get an insight in how people act. live in this region. I got showed a small hut on stilts where he was living with his wife and children. Having a phrasebook and learning at least a little Burmese before your trip gets rewarded here.
When arranging a motor boat trip make clear what you want to see before you start. 6 out of 7 locations you will visit will be shops otherwise. I can recommend cruising up the river to Indein and have a look at the pagodas. The rotating markets are also a must. Ask a local (your hotel) where the next market is going to be. All around on the lake you will have a fantastic view on the dramatic landscape. The green mountains featuring shades of passing clouds are impressive.
A trip to the mountains is very nice! Pack lots of water and enjoy the sights.
For all the activies you need good sunprotection!
- Hiking and Walking
- Family Travel
Watch the leg-rowing competitions !
Inle's most unusual feature is its extraordinary 'leg-rowing fishermen' who have developed an original, eccentric method of rowing their small boats with one leg.(see pic 2 !)The distinctive rowing style involves standing at the stern on one leg and wrapping the other leg around the oar. This unique style evolved for the reason that the lake is covered by reeds and floating plants making it difficult to see above them while sitting. Standing provides the rower with a view beyond the reeds.However, the leg-rowing style is only practised by the men.
Traditional boat racing, with dozens of leg-rowers in Shan dress in a team on each boat, is a famous event during the Phaung Daw Oo festival.The teams of each village compete in numerous races, until the champion is awarded with precious gifts.
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