Myanmar, Lake Inle
Info : Lake Inle
This full day tour of Inle Lake starts with a private boat trip to see the famous floating gardens, formed from a combination of silt and weed which, over time, has formed a thick layer of rich humus upon which gardens of fruit and vegetables grow. The Inthas (the name given to the ethnic group that live around Inle Lake) tend these gardens from long, banana-shaped boats; the same boats that they use to fish the waters of the lake for Inle carp. The locals have a distinctive way of rowing these sturdy craft, standing at the stern of the boat and wrapping a leg around the oar. This special technique allows the fishermen an unrestricted view across the floating reeds whilst leaving them two free hands to handle the nets.
You will then visit the Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery, which was previously home to a number of cats who all jumped through hoops at a certain time of the day. Although the jumping has recently been stopped by the head monk of the monastery, the cats do still inhabit the monastery and these days spend a lot of their time dozing happily in the shade. The Monastery is also home to some fantastic wooden sculptures. Time permitting, you will finish with a stop off at the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, site of the holiest shrine in southern Shan region.
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Our guide Vivienne told us the stories behind things, rather than reeling of facts and figures. brought inle lake and surrounding cultures to life for us. And on the last day she organised a free late check out for us on account of me being pregnant, which I really appreciated. We felt she had really done her homework on us and also all the places we visited.