Inle by boat

From this day I will be traveling with Maria, a Catalan girl living in Frankfurt. We met at the end of the Kalaw – Inle trek, talked for a while and we found out that we had the same way of traveling, the same passion for photography and we had the same itinerary and dates. It was also a good opportunity for us to speak Catalan (we rarely use it in Paris or Frankfurt) plus Maria is always in a good mood so she will be a super travel mate until the end of my Myanmar trip.

If you are traveling around Inle, a boat trip is a must. In Nyaungshwe, any shop and guesthouse can arrange you a boat trip to visit the lake’s main sights. There is not a standard itinerary and boatmen are flexible so when you book the trip you can discuss with them what you want to see. If you don’t want to visit workshops and shops around the lake, just tell them.

This time I wanted to visit Inthein. Usually agencies won’t propose you Inthein, especially if you are trying to negotiate the price, because it is a little bit far but Inthein is worth some extra kyatts!

With Maria we left Nyaungshwe around 7.30 (we did not want to miss our banana pancakes at the guesthouse for breakfast!) for a day trip including the sunset. Our boatman quickly understood that we were very “photography-oriented” so as soon as he saw some fishermen he took us close to them for our delight. In Inle one can find two kind of fishermen: the ones who fish fishes and the ones who fish kyatts, try to guess who  is who 😉




After visiting a silversmith workshop we went to Inthein, a relatively quiet village which sees less tourists than other spots in Inle. Ok, I cannot say that Inthein is a “little lost paradise” with all those souvenir stalls but the crumbling pagodas on the hills are still very atmospheric, we visited few of them.



The main sight of Inthein, however, is Shwe Inn Thein Paya, a complex of 1054 stupas of different size, age and materials. This site is a real wonder with plenty of photo opportunities. From here there are also good views across the lake and valley.




After a short break on a floating restaurant we visited other workshops: paper umbrellas and scarfs workshops. I love scarfs and I needed to visit three scarfs workshops to find something that I liked,  that was the first endurance test for Maria, ahahah. In Inle most of the scarfs are made of silk and the most beautiful ones combine silk with lotus thread or common silk with raw silk.



In the afternoon we also visited two monasteries. Maria wanted to visit Nga Hpa Kyaung again, also known as “jumping cat monastery” because during the hours between ceremonies monks trained cats to jump through hoops. When I visited in 2011 I was disappointed to see all the cats taking a nap. I did not have better luck this time either: cats were awaken but monks don’t make jump them any more because it attracts too many tourists. No jumping cats for us but still this is a beautiful wooden monastery to visit and we spent some time playing with some kids around.














As for me, I wanted to visit Phaung Daw Oo Paya once more. This is the holiest religious site in southern Shan State and its five Buddhas are so covered of gold leaves that they look like five eggs, I find them very funny 😀


When we were leaving the pagoda we saw a kind of cheerful parade around it. People were playing music and from time to time one of them threw packets of money to the crowds and people went crazy trying to catch them, it was very funny. I have to say that during this trip I saw many parades, shows and local celebrations while I did not see anything of this in 2011. Now people seem to be always in a party mood.

We did not have the best sunset that day but it was a pleasant trip full of nice moments. We left Inle that same evening on a night bus, direction to Bagan.

4 thoughts on “Inle by boat”

  1. Bonjour Elisa, cela fait un moment que je n’étais pas venu sur ton site. Je vois que tu as fais du chemin depuis. Bravo tes photos sont superbes. Cela me donne plus que jamais envie d’aller en Birmanie.

    Un truc embêtant, je ne sais pas si toi tu peux me répondre par ton blog. Un petit mot sur mon mail me permettra de le savoir.

    Bisous et bonne continuation

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Quirky explorer with a preference for lesser-known sights, I am continuously looking for new ideas and tips to help you plan your dream World Tour!