A day floating on the beautiful Inle Lake
The hotels can arrange for you a boat tour on Inle Lake for 15000K, and you’ll share the price (usually 5 people max). We were 3 and we walked about 10m out of the hotel before a smiley guy came to us and offered us the same boat trip for 12000K. OK let’s go!
9h30, after our 3 hours sleep, we boarded a boat and head south towards the lake. The famous fishermen were busy everywhere around, their boat quietly floating around in the calm water. Not so calm actually… The boats have a powerful engine, which might actually be not so powerful but at least very noisy!! Having a conversation on the boat is not easy thing so I suggest you take your iPod with you! I really regretted I didn’t take mine, it would have been wonderful to have some music while absorbing the beauty of the lake!
Unfortunately for us there was no market that day. The driver took us in the tiny channels inside the floating villages and floating gardens (growing tomatoes!), it was a beautiful sight! The weather was great and the reflection in the water made the scenery unreal, I felt like there was as life on the water and a fantasy world under water! Amazing!
We stopped at several shops, the usual compulsory stops for any tour in Asia… But this time I must admit it was really interesting! The silk factory, silver factory, umbrella factory. And of course at the end we were taken to the shops, but there was really no obligation to buy anything and no one seemed angry that we – poor backpackers – didn’t buy anything.
Only the local women work in the factories, I don’t know what the men do! They might all be boat drivers in high season! They were very friendly and seemed happy to show us how they worked, but it felt a bit unnatural to me, my guess is that the factories were put on the lake just for tourism sake.
In the umbrella factory you can see the long neck people. I refused to take any pictures of them as the poor 3 women (one young, one around 40, and one old) were certainly moved from their village (north east of Myanmar) to here to be used as a human zoo. It was terrible, they really didn’t belong here and I suggest you do not encourage this either. Don’t take pictures!
We stopped at a pagoda to have lunch – actually the “less good” I’ve had so far! A noodle soup again, but a bit too fishy and spicy to my taste! (very cheap though, 500K served with tea, side tomatoes and cucumbers)
In the pagoda market the shops have the same jewelry as the silver shop, except of course – although they said it was – it’s not silver! I bought earrings, necklace and bracelet, the Shan designs were really cool!
At the end of the day, on the way back, we could see big black clouds on the surrounding mountains, but it was still sunny above us, giving a wonderful light. It was magical!