A Day on Inle Lake, Myanmar (Burma); Ywama Market, In Dien, Ithtar Heritage House, and Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda

 

Inle Lake women on their way to market
Inle Lake women on their way to market

For our first full day on the lake we decided we wanted to be on the lake. This is not something we booked in advance so we spoke to the hotel, because basically there were no other options. They had a package boat tour for 30,000 kyat (about $30 at the time) for the day but it included several craft workshop stops which did not interest us. We also wanted to visit a place not on the list called Inthar Heritage house (because, cats). In the end, we hired a private boat and created our own custom trip with fewer stops. It turned out to be better for us and less expensive.

The day took about 7 hours and we left early in the morning with “Inle Boy” boat. It cost 18,000 kyat for the day, plus the tip we gave the boat driver.

#Protip: Bring sunscreen and umbrella and wear socks!  I got a very bad sun burn on my arms and feet right through the holes my Keen sandals after being in the boat all day.

On the way to the first stop…

Inle Lake
Inle Lake
Inle Lake
Inle Lake
Inle Lake Lock
Inle Lake Lock

Our first stop was a town with a large pagoda and a market. Unfortunately, I’m not 100% sure of the name of the town, but I think it could have been Ywama based on a map I have from that day. Ywama is known for it’s floating market and while we didn’t see a lot of sellers on boats, but there was a good sized market on dry land.

Ywama village
Ywama village
Ywama village pagoda
Ywama village pagoda
Ywama village pagoda
Ywama village pagoda
Ywama village market
Ywama village market
Ywama village market
Ywama village market
Ywama village market
Ywama village market
Ywama village market
Ywama village market
Ywama village market
Ywama village market
Ywama village market
Ywama village market breakfast
Ywama village market
Ywama village market
Ywama village market
Ywama village market

On the way to the next stop, In Dien with its golden pagoda on a hill….

On the way to In Dien Village
On the way to In Dien Village
On the way to In Dien Village
On the way to In Dien Village
In Dien Pagoda
In Dien Pagoda
In Dien Pagoda
In Dien Pagoda
In Dien Pagoda
In Dien Pagoda
In Dien Pagoda
In Dien Pagoda

This cat was a badass who had no fear of the dogs below.

Cat at In Dien Pagoda
Cat at In Dien Pagoda

There were dogs all over the pagoda, including these cute puppies.

Dogs at In Dien Pagoda
Dogs at In Dien Pagoda

Back in the village…

In Dien Village
In Dien Village
In Dien Village
There was some heavy negotiation going on here.
In Dien Village
In Dien Village
In Dien Village
In Dien Village
In Dien Village
In Dien Village
In Dien Village school children
In Dien Village school children

When we got back to the boat, we couldn’t find the driver. We waited for a few minutes and then back tracked a bit until we found him playing pool in a local bar. It looked like he might have had some money on it and was hesitant to leave so we waited for him to finish of course. He lost, but handled it well.

Boat driver playing pool in the "bar"
Boat driver playing pool in the “bar”

On the way to lunch…

On the lake
On the lake
On the lake
On the lake
Life on Inle lake.
Life on Inle lake.

The next stop was Inthar Heritage House, part hotel, part restaurant, part purebred Burmese cat breeder. I’m not ashamed, we came to see the cats. Lunch was secondary, but actually the food was very good, better than at our hotel.

Inthar Heritage House
Inthar Heritage House

The restaurant is in the original antique teak house on the property, seen below. There’s a nice view from the terrace of rice fields.

Inthar Heritage House
Inthar Heritage House

The food, all Burmese, was well prepared and beautifully presented. We had Shan noodles, a meat curry with rice, and my favorite, tea leaf salad. Tea leaf salad is a popular Burmese dish, made with fermented tea leaves, assorted beans and peas, tomato, herbs, and peanuts.

Inthar Heritage House lunch
Inthar Heritage House lunch

The story of the cats: from what I’d read before we visited, the owner of the property wanted to bring pure bread Burmese cats back to Burma, but could not find any in the country and had to import them (some say purchased at Harrods’s of London). The cats are friendly, and now there are a lot of them in there, but to be honest, I have no idea where they are going with the project.

Inthar Heritage House Burmese cats!
Inthar Heritage House Burmese cats!
Inthar Heritage House Burmese cats!
Inthar Heritage House Burmese cats! This one insisted on jumping on David’s shoulder.
Inthar Heritage House gardens.
Inthar Heritage House gardens.

On the way to the next stop…

Inle Lake fisherman.
Inle Lake fisherman.
Inle Boat050
Inle lake bird
David...so colonial.
David…so colonial.

Our final stop was at the most famous pagoda in the area, Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda. The pagoda houses five sacred Buddha statues which are covered in gold leaf. Once a year, during a festival, four of the statues are removed and places on a replica of the royal barge and taken out on the lake to visit all the villages around the lake.

Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda
Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda
Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda
Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda- the festival barge
Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda
Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda
Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda
Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda

Going back to the hotel…

Inle Lake
Inle Lake
Inle Lake fisherman.
Inle Lake fisherman.

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