When visiting Myanmar, one of the things that you must do is visit Inle Lake. We arrived during the 18 day annual procession which sees 30~ boats pulling a golden barge across the lake. The boats are powered by rowers who use their feet to push an oar through the water. The barge itself contains 4 of the 5 images of the Buddha from the local monastery on a tour of the villages around the lake.

To make the most of our day we set off from our hotel at 05:45, to allow us to catch the start of that days procession on the lake at 07:00. Each of the boats has its own team of rowers, and some form of music source to provide a beat for them to keep to. Together with the many tourist boats all jostling to get a good view, the spectacle was very impressive.

Moving on from there we visited a local village and market, Yamma, where you could visit locals making paper from mulberry and using it to make umbrellas. One family of local females are also inclined to elongate their necks with metal disks. It does take a lot of effort not to stop and stare.

We then visited the main pagoda which contains the remaining buddha image, so that it will not get lost should the others sink on the lake during the procession. Moving from there we visited the floating village of Nam Pam, where most of the houses are on stilts, each with its own boat to get around. The villagers even have floating gardens where they grow vast quantities of tomatoes which they then sell on in Nyaung Shwe.

 

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