Our arrival at Inle lake coincided with a flooding in the small town of Nyaungshwe which meant we could not stay in town as planned and rented instead a bungalow on stilts on the lake, reached by a long boat across the placid waters which gave us an opportunity to watch the fishermen using their artful techniques to catch fish.
A couple of days in this oasis of peace and quiet with some short treks in the vicinity proved a wonderful way to unwind after our few weeks of arduous travel.
Inle Lake, a large freshwater lake in the Shan Hills at about 1000 metres altitude, is known especially for the one legged rowing technique employed by fishermen, allowing them to leave their hands free for fishing with their curious conical nets.
The lake is surrounded by a number of floating villages and floating water hyacinths which are a major product in the region. It is also a popular starting point for treks into the surrounding Shan hills and visits to different ethnic groups who inhabit the lake on both sides, including Shan,Palaung, Danu, Taung-yo, Pa-O, Akhar and other hill tribes, and only in the lake itself are the Inthas who are racially different from their neighbours.
The area around Inle is on the list of MUST sees for most tourists visiting Burma.