Inle Lake – My Next Destination



nyonya, recipe, easy, Chinese, Straits born

Along the journey I doze on and off . Once we reach the Inle Zone, the border guards board the bus and all foreigners have to pay USD10 as ‘entrance fee’. This is similar to Bagan. We all pay up and get a ticket as proof. Soon we reach the bus station. It is still dark and around 4.30 am. When the bus arrives at the station, there are many vans or taxis that take visitors to their respective hotels. Of course, there is a charge for it. So I get on the van that takes me to my hotel and other hotels along the way. There are different vans that plough different routes. There is a couple who had not booked any hotel, so the drivers offer to take them to look for accommodation. Passengers are dropped off the hotels as we progress with the journey. Finally, I get to my hotel, which is La Yaung Thoon Hotel. The hotel is in the Nyaungshwe Township of Taunggyi. There is a young American couple who were also booked in the same hotel.

At the reception, the young girl cannot find my reservation. I try to explain to her that I have booked, and that my friend had rung and confirmed a few days before. Some how, the message is not going through. Reluctantly I have to ring my friend (my host in Yangon) who is on her way from Yangon by bus to meet me here; and she is still sleeping in the bus. After conversing in the Myanmar language, the receptionist found my booking. At last, I can get to my room.

The room is new. In fact I found out that the hotel was opened for only about 2 months.  Everything is new and cosy. Later my friend arrives and joins me.

Inle Lake, La yaoung Thoon Hotel, travel, holiday,

The room for US 23 per night.

We then freshen up and have breakfast. The view in the breakfast area is lovely. We can see the beautiful sunrise.

sunrise, La Yaung Thoon Hotel, Inle Lake, Burma,

The Breakfast area, is at a different wing of the hotel. The eggs and other cooked items are freshly made.

After breakfast, we check with the reception on how to go about touring the area. We walk to the lake, which is about 15 to 20 minutes away. From there, we take a speed boat to cross the lake. The ride is really something different. As the boat moves across the lake, the scene is ethereal, with mists around and the one can see the weeds in the lake.

Right in the middle of nowhere in the lake, here is this lonely sort of mini temple with a statue of a monk looking towards the sun. Legend has it that the monk was so busy with his work that he did not have time to have his meal before mid-day. You see, all monks in Myanmar must have their meals before mid-day. So when he wanted to have his meal it was so close to mid-day. He was so afraid that he had pass the time, and won’t be able to eat until the next sun rise. Before eating, he gazed at he sun to check that he is on time. The sun froze for him. This allows him to have his meal!!.

temple, Inle Lake,

Wait for me, sun.

There are fishermen fishing on the lake using their legs to row the boats. The boatman takes us to the floating vegetable farm. Over here, vegetables are grown on mounts of

Inle lake, fishing,, Myanmar

Fishermen rowing with their feet in the ethereal Inle Lake.

seaweed and soil.. The vegetable beds are made of weeds from the lake and soil, and floats on the water. The mounts are attached by bamboo and the whole thing rise and fall with the tide. This is a cleaver way of farming whereby the farm cannot be flooded during the rainy season. There are tomatoes, green vegetables, onions and the whole lot.

The boatman then takes us to the ‘floating village’. The houses in the village are built on stilts and so it sort of floats. There are houses, shops, cottage factories, schools and everything that you can find in a normal village.

We then visit a factory that produces textile or cloths using the sap of the lotus plant. The lotus stalks are cut and the sap that is like thread, is pulled from the stem, twirled, and it gives a thread-like string. These are then spun to make threads and then into cloths. It is a laborious task. And of course, it is costly.

Lotus thread, Inle Lake,

Weaving factory. This is a more efficient one.

We then stop by a cheroot factory. Cheroot means cigars in the Indian language and also in the Malay language. There are many similarities in the usage of words around the ASEAN region. All the cheroots are deftly hand-rolled by young women.

Inle Lake, Burma,

Ladies making cheroots.

We browse around the shop as it also sells souvenir like puppets, enamel bags, trinkets, etc.

The next destination is a temple – Phaung Dow Oo pagoda. The image or statue of the Buddha is covered with gold leaf until the shape of the Buddha cannot be discerned and it looks like a blob of gold. There are actually 5 stupas. Devotees cover the statues with gold leaf as offerings. However, only men are allowed to paste the gold leaf on the statue, so our boatman did it for us. Btw, the gold leaf costs 1,500 kyats.

golden buddha, Inle Lake

The stupas covered with gold. Notice the golden blobs on the alter. Those are the stupas.





There is an annual festival where the statues of the Buddha are placed in a big bird like boat for a procession around the lake. The people in the area and also from far away places come and pay their respect. According to  my friend, sometime in the 1960’s during a particularly windy day, when the waves were high on the lake, the barge carrying the images capsized, and the images tumbled into the lake. It was said that they could not recover one image, but that when they went back to the monastery, the missing image was miraculously sitting in its place.

Phaung Dow Oo pagoda,

The Ceremonial barge. This is parked here when not in use.

Next we visit a silver smith and sort of shopping bazaar/department store that sells cloths and clothes made of lotus thread and other souvenir. There are also a  weaving demonstration by the Meo people.

Inle Lake, Burman, Myanmar,

Silver jewellery.

 

Meo people, neck rings, Burma

Meo women with long necks. They start to wear the neck rings from as young as 9 years.

We stop for lunch in a restaurant on stilts at Ywama village on the western side of Inle lake. Then we proceed to Shwe Indein Pagoda. In this complex there are many stupas and it believed to be built by king Asoka. The temple is situated a bit inland and there is a bazaar area.

Later on, we walk through the bazaar area and bought some souvenir. We then take the boat back to the hotel. The boat ride to the hotel is very scenic with the sunset over the lake and the glorious colours.

We take a taxi from the boat area and return to the hotel. We chat with the driver and decide to use his service tomorrow to get around the area. Tomorrow will be a new tour day.

So upon reaching the hotel we rest a bit and walk to dinner, which is about 15 minutes away. Our dinner is tim sum. It is ok and then we take a long walk back as we overshoot the turning to our hotel was we talk too much instead of paying attention to where we are going. We reach the hotel, anyway.

So the first day in Inle Lake area is interesting. There are certainly more things to do here other than just temples. The scenery and the variety of things and places to see is so much more interesting than Bagan.

So for the time being, good night.

Please share and like this post with your family and friends.

Until the next post, ta!

Penang Lassie

 

 

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