Inle Lake

_MG_2296A magical place – home of the one legged fishermen and the floating gardens. This was my favourite destination during the entire trip – our hotel on stilts was in the middle of the lake, which has a length of 22 km and is only about 2-3 metres deep. Reeds frame the shores of the lake, which is surrounded by the Shan-mountains, and the entire place feels peaceful and beautiful – I’d loved to have staid there for longer. 

Probably unique and a big tourist attraction – the fishermen are standing at the bow of their narrow boats and rowing with one leg curled around an oar – this way, they have their hands free for  fishing. 

The secret of Inle Lake – Angkor Wat of Myanmar. Hundreds, maybe thousands of stupas, many falling apart, and slowly being restaured. 

The people of the lake are also renowned for their crafts – such as the weaving of lotus. They break the stems of the lotus flower to extract thin strands, which are woven like silk and made into scarves, jackets, and really anything. Lotus fabrics are relatively expensive – but as it takes about 8000 lotus flowers to make one ordinary scarve, the price is well worth it (and thanks for asking, yes, I got a scarve, the cheaper version made of silk and lotus – I could not resist).

When the weather makes fishing impossible, fishermen become farmers – the floating gardens grow tomatos, fruit, vegetables, flowers – anything. The floating gardens really float – the sediments are about a foot thick and contain rich soil, which will keep for 20 or 30 years, and then the gardens will start to rot and sink into the lake. They are ankered with bamboo sticks, and are easy to move – they just need to be dragged behind the boat. 

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