Inle Lake and Intha people - The "One Leg Rowers"

Inle Lake is about 889m from the sea level; surrounded by mountain and of 220 kilometers square acreage. The deepest area is around 6m. The water level here is seasonal changes with the gap between water-filled season (August) and dry season (May) of nearly 1,2m. 

The special things about the Inle Lake lie in not only the charming beauty of mountains and sea but in the living style of an ethnic group in Myanmar called Intha. In Burmese (Myanmar language), ‘Intha’ means ‘people living on the lake. For thousands years, Inle Lake has become the place where all the living activities of Intha group take place. 
 
Intha often rows and catched fishes by one leg 
 
Intha people live completely on the lake. They build houses and other constructions on the lake. The great invention of the Intha is growing plants on the lake. They create the floating platforms from water-fern and seaweed bodies and fix them by some bamboo trees plugged into the lake. As a result, these floating fields are up and down together with the water level. 

The most common plant here is tomato and this is considered the specialty of this land. There is a sentence transmitted by word of mouth by the Myanmar people that: "visiting Inle without eating potato salad here means never been to Inle". When the Intha girls reach their marriageable ages, their parents give them some floating platforms as the dowry so they can make their living wherever they come. 
 
Floating garden on the Inle Lake 
 
The boat sneaks through the tomato floating platforms at the height of more than 1 meter. Sometimes, we see the groups of daisy in white, pink or violet which are planted mainly for worshipping activities. Behind the flower platforms is a farming thatched hut which contributes to a peaceful and romantic picture. In addition to farming, the people here are also living on the fishery resources caught in the lake. In the new dawn, some fishermen scattered on the lake hit the net to catch fish. The image of a man rowing with one foot on a small wooden boat has become a cultural identity of the people here. 
 
You will have chance to see the Intha catch fishes by one leg 
 
Although life is still strenuous for the local people, they always love their motherland, the Inle lake area. The lake is the place where all the local cultural and production activities take place. The most important festival in this region often happens in every September. The peaceful beauty of Inle Lake is seen at summer nights when it is possible to hear the singing of the fishermen fishing at night or of a couple on the lake echoed back from a distance.
 
Inle is not only attractive because of its unspoiled beauty, the natural friendly resorts but also appealing to people who are eager to learn about an area with a long history. At present, a land considered the Bagan of Shan state does exist in the south of the lake- the ancient city of Indein. What remaining here are the constructions built in bricks from the 11th century. The city served as the capital under the Shan dynasty. 
 

1.    Transport 

It is quite easy to buy domestic airfares in the airline agencies or hotels, but you should book tickets in advance in case of out of available seat. Cars or buses are not the good choices due to the long distance and the fees are also not much cheaper. The fee to catch a taxi from Heho airport to Nyaung Shwe village is between 15-20 USD/car. The way from the airport to the village is often more expensive than the reverse direction.

2.    Destinations to discover 

The only transport mean to discover the Inle Lake is motorboat with the fee of around $10 per boat for 4 person in one day. There are a lot of floating villages including flower village, cigar making village, village of Pa-O people, silver jewelry making village, weaving village, handicraft village, printing village of Dein and so on. Ywama floating market takes place once five days. Other places like the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda or the cat jumping temple are also famous in Inle lake. 

3.    Foods and accommodation 

There are many motels in Nyaung Shwe village with the appropriate price of from $10 - $20 per night. If you want to overnight on the lake, you will stay in a resort with a higher price of more than $45 plus per room per night. The room rates include breakfast. The local foods of the Shan should be tasted when you come to visit Inle Lake. Let’s discover the special culinary of the locals here at some restaurants on the lake or the View Point restaurant in Nyaung Shwe village. However the price is not cheap. 

4.    Best time to visit 

With the romantic view and wonderful climate, Inle lake is the suitable destination for young couple all year round. The best time to visit is from September to October as this is the time of many traditional festivals. One of the most amazing activities on the lake is catching the sun at sunset. Thus, cameras are indispensable during your trip.  

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