Inle Lake's fishermen have developed the ability to paddle using one leg, while handling fishing nets with their hands hand. All this is done on the rear end of unstable wooden canoes. The highest concentration of fishermen on Lake Inle usually occurs near the entrance to the main channel of Nyaunshwe: Nan Chaung). There also tends to be quite a few fishermen on the west coast of Lake Inle. Inle Lake fishermen use several fishing techniques. One of them uses nets in a conical shape, in another traditional nets. Hitting the water with their oars trying to direct the fish into nets.
Special place because it is the place that my partner and I chose to spend our honeymoon this July. The most important thing about this place is its people and their way of life within the lake and how they exploit its natural resources. An unforgettable experience that will make anyone want to visit.
This floating market is in Lake Ywana. It is not really a floating market, but a small market on the mainland, to which all vendors arrive in canoes. The only worthwhile stall is one selling souvenirs which is good for tourists. Interestingly, there are many women of different ethnic groups selling goods in this small market.
Hsipaw life is pretty busy now that the road through the village goes to China, and that it is among the few villages that supports the Burmese military. The road noise and freight traffic never stop. To escape the noise, it is best to go up the hill in the late evening. To do this, cross the river on the new bridge made by the Chinese, or cross the ancient bridge made by the English, so small that does it can not fit a bus if there are crossing pedestrians. After a half hour walk you will arrive atop the hill. There is a small temple at the top. A monk brought a guest book for us to sign, and some tea. Tea is one of the most popular drinks in Myanmar, and it's free almost everywhere.
The river Dokhtawady is the lifeblood of daily life in Hsipaw. Traders arrive at dawn with their belongings to be sold on the market or market candle candles as night falls. Fish, vegetables, and other goods from tribes and towns are sold quietly into the wee hours of the morning. Despite the heavy traffic, Hsipaw still boasts a rural life.
The Burmese military junta, which mainly belongs to the ethnic Burmese, is very cruel to the country's ethnic minorities, and has threatened and intimidated them for a long time. The Shan in the northwest of the country are trying to maintain their language, their customs, their dress and their culture, but it is not easy. They warmly welcome foreigners to visit them as they usually show a lot of interest in their culture and lifestyle. You can do a 1-day trek or more to visit several different Shan towns. Perhaps the best guides are those of the Mr. Charles Hostel, the guide I had spoke very good English and was the son of the village chief, which meant we were received especially well in the village. We slept in the family home, in a separate room, and the experience was incredible.
It is worth seeing how they cultivate a combination of soil, sediment, vegetation and plants, which float on water and are held upright by bamboo poles. The main crop which is cultivated here is the tomato plant. I recommend asking the driver of the boat to allows you to visit one of these little floating parterres to check it really is sinking a bit because of our own weight. That may help understand the difficulty that is involved in working on these plantations.
Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda is the most important pagoda to be found on Inle Lake, and you have to take a boat in order to get there by boat. Inside there are five buddha, which have lost their form. Only men have the right to touch the statues and women can only look at the Images which are of different sizes, ranging from about nine to eighteen inches in height. Because they are solid gold, the images are very heavy. It is widely believed that the Buddha images were taken to Lake Inle by King Alaungsithu.
The market of Nyaung Shwe (Inle Lake) is held on Mondays. It's a pretty big market, with tents that cover it and the narrowness of the aisles give it a more cozy feel. The market starts to get busy at 9 h. The fish stalls run out of fish early, so you should start there. From 13.00 , some other stalls start to pick up. People come from all over the lake to sell goods at the market, from dried fish and spices to fruit and vegetables, tea, peanut oil, rice and many other things.