Lake Inle

During our time at Lake Inle, we stayed at the Princess Garden in the small town of Nyaungshwe. The breakfast was very good and by the end of the four weeks got our vote for 'best breakfast in Myanmar' as most of the other offerings were pretty rubbish. We decided to ride down the western shore of Inle Lake to Inthein.

Despite the early hour, the canal side of Nyaungshwe was already heaving with local tourists, swarming out of a line of coaches and onto the large canoe style boats that tour the lake. 

Nyaungshwe bridge and canalNyaungshwe bridge and canal

Leaving them behind we continued on a  narrow, unsurfaced lane to Kaung Daing. A  wide band of marshes and rice paddies surround the lake on this side so there are no views over the water.

Taking the shopping homeTaking the shopping home

There is a hot spring near Kaung Daing. It was crowded with local young men and cleanliness was questionable so, instead of bathing, we climbed the steps up to a small pagoda opposite. There was a view of the lake, some interesting pictures depicting the Buddha's life and tea and biscuits provided by one of the monks.

Busy traffic on the road to IntheinBusy traffic on the road to Inthein

The map showed an unsurfaced road continuing south from there but in fact it was tarmac and in good condition. Most of the traffic we saw was ox-carts.

Road to IntheinRoad to Inthein

At Kanywa we visited a small local market, with most of the customers arriving and departing by boat. 

Going shopping on the LakeGoing shopping on the Lake

We reached Inthein in time for a late lunch. On the

outskirts of this village is a large group of ruined stupas, covered in foliage and with their umbrella tops leaning at crazy angles. We tried to avoid paying the entry fee for the Shwe Inn Thein Temple  by cycling up the lane at the side.

Ruined StupasRuined Stupas

But the sharp eyed lady collecting the money stopped us. So we had to leave the bikes, pay the money and the 'camera fee' and then brave the long trek up a covered walkway which is lined with souvenir stalls and insistent vendors. 

Shwe Inn Thein WalkwayShwe Inn Thein Walkway

Halfway up the hillside the walkway ends and in front of us were over 1,000 zedi, small stupas, most built between 200 and 300 years ago. Most of the lower ones are in ruins but further up the hill many have been, or are currently being, renovated, with plaques applied to advertise their benefactors.

Ruined, renovated and work in progressRuined, renovated and work in progress

We continued up the rough track to a hilltop which had views over the temple site and lake.

View from the hill over Shwe Inn TheinView from the hill over Shwe Inn Thein

Returning to Inthein, we wanted to get a boat to take us and the bikes back to Nyaungshwe across the lake. There was only one boat near the bridge and Kjell and Steve went to negotiate a price for the trip.

Loading the four bikes, four passengers, the boatman's wife and young daughter from the narrow, slippery jetty took some time and the bikes position had to be adjusted to balance the boat.

Loading the boatLoading the boat

Once the boat set off down the waterway, the water spray from the bow splashed continuously over the front two bikes.

Inle lake passenger boatInle lake passenger boat

It was a long but scenic journey back, through villages of teak house built on stilts above the water...

Houses on stiltsHouses on stilts

...golden pagodas, floating gardens,...

...and onto the lake with its shores lined with

expensive resorts. At dusk we arrived back in the town, meaning that the boatman and his family would have to make the return journey home in the dark.

Expensive resorts on Inle Lake shoreExpensive resorts on Inle Lake shore

Day three was spent riding down the upper east part of the lake. The road here is in  poor condition, very rough and potholed and in the process of being widened and straightened. We ate lunch in a small cafe in a village, listening to the local children practising for their full moon parade that evening.

Practicing for the Full Moon CelebrationsPracticing for the Full Moon Celebrations

After lunch we hired a boat for a trip out on the lake to take photographs of the fisherman, with their unique method of paddling the boat with their feet, standing on the back of the boat. 

Inle JettyInle Jetty

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