INLE LAKE is one of Burma/Myanmar’s most beautiful places. The 22km long and 11km wide lake has 17 stilt villages around its picturesque shores.
On any given day these could be bustling with floating markets, while trades such as silversmithing, woodwork and weaving continue regardless. The villages are also filled with ancient temples and monasteries. One of the most famous is the ornately carved Nga Phe Chaung monastery where the jumping cats reside, renowned for their prowess through hoops and other obstacles.
Out on the lake and you can expect to come across commuters, fishermen employing the traditional leg rowing style, tourists on river tours and market boats piled high with tomatoes or other produce.
The Paung Daw U Festival is a particularly colourful time to be here when Buddha images are rowed around the lake over 18 days with great pageantry and reverence. This festival takes place in late September / early October.
Inle Lake is an overnight bus ride from the former capital Rangoon/Yangon and on the major tourist circuit of the country that includes Bagan and Mandalay.