After amazing Hsipaw I followed the road toward Inle lake – the vast lake located in the valley between mountains.
It takes 15 hours to get from Hsipaw to Inle Lake by bus. The lake is located in the heart of Shan State. The blinding sun light and some kind of fog make the visibility of the air very poor. Starting from early morning I took one day boat trip along the lake. It was one of the best trips I had in Asia. Inle lake is also an amazing river with stunning views and wildlife.
Day tour by boat on Inle Lake
Crashing the sparkling sheet of water I can only see the mountain outline and the shapes of fishing boats. The lake is probably one of the most beautiful natural scenery of Myanmar. The birds are flying parallel with the boat waiting for any remains. Prudently I have some biscuits with me so they catch immediately just a meter above my head. Inle lake is well know for its biodiversity, so you can meet here a lot of rare bird species. I hired a boat with a guide just by myself to be independent from other travelers, as this is really an exceptional experience. Usually they take up to 5 people on one boat. Be prepared the engine is quite noisy. You can easily find the boats and the normal price for 4-5 hours trip is 15$.
I obviously find unusual river branch to see every corner of the beauty. It’s worth to extend your boat trip, there are amazing monasteries, ancient stupas (hemispherical structure containing relics that is used as a place of meditation), silk factories, shops and local markets. In the middle of the lake on water leafs huge black birds dry their straighten wings. I’m aware the trip is gonna cost me a little more, finally I spent 9 hours on the water, paying 19$.
The floating villages are everywhere on Inle Lake. In the afternoon the guide takes me to his family house, where we drink green tea and eat delicious bean salads. I don’t know if it’s a standard but it’s very nice of him and I’m very happy to see the local people lifestyle. In Myanmar in every restaurant there is always green tea on the table. Most of the houses are built from bamboo trees on few meters high stilts, because of the water tides. Inside there’s usually one space, no tables and chairs. Most people from his family are doing handmade craft – build wooden boats. It costs around 4000$ for 10-meters long, narrow boat without an engine. Then 5 people make such boat in 2-3 months having only very primitive tools. The final project is amazing but a little unstable 🙂