Our trek led us into one of the hundreds of finger-like canals that feed into Inle Lake. It is a stunningly beautiful place, with homes on stilts over farmland that somehow grows right into the lake. The lake is fairly large at 44 square miles but the average depth is only five feet.
We saw men up to their chests in water tending to the crops. Women were rowing long sleek canoes filled with vegetables. Inle Lake is known for the “leg rowers,” where men hold a single paddle with one leg, standing on the other leg at the back of the boat, gyrating their body rhythmically to row. It keeps their hands free for fishing and farm work.
While there were certainly some tourists around, Burma kept its “untouristy” streak going strong at Inle Lake. It is serene, unique and still feels relatively untouched.
We stayed at the Golden Island Cottages 2 which was fantastic. It was our “splurge” in Burma at $80 a night. It is centrally located on the lake and all the rooms are private cottages on stilts over the water, with open lake views on one side and the bordering hills on the other. An amazing place to stay.
Unfortunately… Inle Lake was the only place I got sick during our three months on the road (I think my large intestine was trying to eat my small intestine but only for 24 hours). Nonetheless, the place was still unquestionably a highlight of the trip.