A Photo Tour – Inle Lake, Myanmar
A Photo Tour – Inle Lake, Myanmar
Inle Lake is both incredibly beautiful (perhaps the most photogenic spot in all of Myanmar) and incredibly frustrating & worrisome. There is a reason why so many tourists flock here as it is set in one of the most scenic areas in the world.
Imagine a lake where floating gardens, markets and homes are backdropped by golden mountains, ancient trees and small lakeside villages where water buffalo bathe and small children chase each other through ten foot high grass and where dozens of fisherman paddle their small boats through a labyrinth of floating gardens using the traditional one leg paddling technique. It truly is spectacular, but you need to get off the beaten path to really experience it.
In an attempt to avoid some of the disappointments we had had in the past when we went with tours arranged with our guesthouse, we went into town the night prior to find our own boat driver, in hopes he could help provide us with a more unique experience. Unfortunately we found the first half of our boat tour almost unbearable, and the final straw for us was when our driver took us to a monastery famous for it’s jumping cats. Yes, you heard me right. Apparently monks here had trained their cats to perform tricks and jump through hoops. Because we enjoy the peculiar and obscure attractions and combined with Alyse’s cat lady like tendencies, we were really looking forward to this part of the tour. But….get this….they don’t do it anymore! So all of these tourists show up at the monastery and are shocked (or in our case heart broken) to hear that they stopped doing this years ago but are for some reason still bringing tourists here.
Alyse taking matters into her own hands with the so called “jumping cats”
That was the last straw for us, not being ones to take it lying down asked our guide to take us to a local pub where we bought him a beer and told him what we were really after. We explained to our driver that we weren’t interested in the goldsmiths, fake long-neck women, and non-jumping cats. We wanted to see how the locals like him lived. Where do they work? What do they like doing for fun? Where do they fish away from the tourists? At first he gave us the most inquisitive look that basically translated into, “Why they hell would you want to see where I live you crazy foreigner”. But we continued on, and after another beer and some more raised eyebrows he finally understood what we were after. To our amazement he said, “Ok, I will bring you to my village and you can meet my family.” Amazing! We were thrilled.
The next half of our tour took us through local floating gardens, fishing spots, and finally to his village where he showed us around and invited us into his home to meet his wife and newborn son. Truly one of the best experiences we had in all of our travels in Asia. While walking around the village everyone was waving and smiling, wanting to meet us and it was obvious tourists don’t usually if ever come to this little spot. The feeling that you might be the first tourists to visit a village is something you will be hard pressed to find in any other Southeast Asia country and because we were visiting this place near the end of our Asian adventure, we were really able to appreciate just how special this experience was.
Enjoy our photos and thanks for reading:
Ross & Alyse