48 hours in Inle Lake to let my eyes through the ancient temples, lead my foot on the waterways of Inle Lake and leave my soul free off the hurry flow of life. Besides its own picturesque beauty, it is also famous for its floating gardens, villages and markets as well as the unique one-leg rowing of fisherman that I’ve never seen before. Together with a tour to the golden capital Yangon in the South and hot-air balloon in Bagan in the North, a lake tour around Inle Lake was beyond my expectations of an exceptional Myanmar luxury tour.
I’ve heard about the leg rowers in Inle Lake and actually was impressed deeply. So the first thing I did for my trip of 48 hours in Inle Lake was paddling on Inle Lake. I was on the water very early in the morning when blankets of mist hang over the smooth surface. All of the boats were the skinny wooden ones that could fit a maximum of five cushioned chairs. It was outfitted with life jackets and umbrellas to shelter passengers from the sun and rain because of no roof on the boat. Seeing the floating village of Nampan with the wooden stilt houses recalled me the trip to Mekong Delta last year with the peaceful moments and great feelings.
The unique one-leg rowing of Intha people
My tour to Inle Lake was a combination of longboats, monasteries and a winery. The next destination was Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery, often called by the Jumping Cat Monastery. It appears about this 19th-century cloister on stilts was their collection of Buddha statues and pagodas from different parts of Myanmar and Tibet that are hundreds of years old. When I came here, the cats leap through small hoops to warmly welcome me. I was very surprise by the holy yet friendly atmosphere in Nga Phe Kyaung. Actually, it didn’t retain more cats as my expectation.
Next morning, I rented a bike to reach Winery that my friend regarded as the paradise in the world of water in Inle Lake. Located on a hillside overlooking the town of Nyaungshwe and the lake, the Red Mountain Estate, among the best Myanmar destinations, was apparently the only vineyard in Myanmar. I had an absolutely gorgeous sunrise over the vineyard and rows of colorful grapes and grassy countryside wile Inle Lake gleams in the distance.
My next stop was Ko Than Hlaing Silk and Lotus Weaving workshop, which was a series of stilted houses in the villages of Inpawkhon. I spent a little while here watching locals weaving from lotuses and silk then looming it into the fabric. How tactful they are! I, at that time, understood the process to make a silk product. It didn’t require time and materials but also the passion of each villager. They were happy to chat and answer questions about their daily work. I myself chose some silk scarves as a souvenir for my friends.
The women works on wooden weaving loom machines and spin yarn creating silk thread fiber
I then went to the local restaurants for lunch. There was no shortage of dining establishments at Inle Lake and it might be a rural destination offering gastronomic delights from its own organic garden: Shan-style rice, Shan-style “tofu” noodles, mohinga – fish noodle soup. Besides, they also invited me to some western style cuisines that normally specialize in pancakes and pasta. The mix of western and local dishes makes for a more cosmopolitan approach. 48 hours in Inle Lake was actually my extraordinary experience. Myanmar excursions opened my mind. Saw Intha people catching fishes and one-leg rowing among the waterways, visited floating villages of making cigar and silk, especially enjoyed the mesmerizing sunrise at the Red Mountain Estate of Winery. A tour is more than I need, more than good for me! This trip to Myanmar was a part of my life, a part of my soul.