Here is a map of our trip which began in Rangoon (Yangon) followed by Bagan, Mandalay, Heho to Kalaw, and lastly, Lake Inle. The map was drawn by our guide and his 12 year old daughter.
Lake Inle is a very unique place. Our first was our hotel/resort/spa! Throughout the trip we have been staying in 4 and 5 star hotels with lots of amenities and beautiful decors, but none compared with Pristine Lotus Spa Resort where we each had our own beautifully appointed and spacious bungalow in a dreamy landscaped setting!
Here are a few pictures of this delightful place.
Our hotel was located along a canal that took us by boat to the lake. We spent two days exploring Inle Lake (7 x 14 miles.) Transportation on this shallow lake is by long boat, either motorized or paddled, and the people (about 70,000) live in houses built on stilts and make their living by fishing, farming tomatoes on floating gardens and weaving.
The fishermen paddle their boats with one leg while they drop and lift conical nets – an impressive skill! They also fish with netting.
The lake is long and we traveled the upper parts of it by motorized long boat, 4 to a boat.
Then we toured one of the villages by dugout canoe, 2 to a canoe, and paddled by local ladies. The ladies chatted with their neighbors as we meandered through the village.
Some of the homes are quite large, others more modest, and there are hotels and restaurants, shops, and workshops also on stilts.
There are extensive floating gardens on the lake where tomatoes are grown. These gardens are made by rounding up water hyacinths and other aquatic plant material and securing the strips to the bottom of the lake with bamboo poles. Then seaweed and mud is put on top and the plants continue to grow forming a compact mass. Then seeds are planted.
We experienced a bit of rain one morning, but otherwise, our weather was perfect during the whole trip.