Saturday, August 4, 2012

Burma (Myanmar) part 3 - Boat cruise on the Inle lake

Boat cruise on the Inle lake and jumping cats (Myanmar / Burma)
Inle Lake is a freshwater lake located in the mountains of Shan State in Myanmar (Burma). It is the second largest lake in Myanmar with an estimated surface area of 44.9 sq miles and one of the highest at an altitude of 2900 feet. During the dry season, the average water depth is 7 feet, with the deepest point being 12 feet, but during the rainy season this can increase by 5 feet. It is widely renowed across Myanmar and in the world for it's traditional leg-rowing boat style.

The people of Inle Lake (called Intha), some 70,000 of them, live in four cities bordering the lake, in numerous small villages along the lake's shores and on the lake itself. The entire lake area is in Nyaungshwe township. The population consists mainly of Intha, Shan, Taungyo, Pa-O (Taungthu), Danu, Kayah, Danaw and Bamar ethnicites. Most residents live in simple stilt houses of woven bamboo and are largely self-sufficient.
Most transportation on the lake is by small, generally flat-bottomed row boats, or by somewhat larger motor-driven boats. Local fishermen are famous for practicing a distinctive rowing style which involves standing at the stern on one leg and wrapping the other leg around the oar.

Lake-caught fish are a staple of the local diet. In addition to fishing, locals raise vegetables and fruit in large gardens that float on the surface of the lake. These gardens rise and fall with changes in the water level, and so are resistant to flooding. The constant availability of nutrient-laden water results in these gardens being incredibly fertile. Rice cultivation is also prominent. Manual production of goods for local use and trading is another source of commerce. Typical products include tools, carvings and other ornamental objects, textiles, and cheroots. A local market serves most common shopping needs and is held daily. The location of the event rotates though five different sites around the lake area. When held on the lake itself, trading is conducted from small boats. This 'floating-market' event tends to emphasize tourist trade much more than the other four.

The best time of the year to visit is during September and October. The ceremonial Phaung Daw U festival, which lasts for almost three weeks, is closely followed by the Thadingyut festival. Inthas and Shan dress in new clothes and celebrate Buddhist Lent. Traditional boat racing is famous.
Inle Lake is a tourist attraction, and this has led to some development of tourist infrastructure. Many small and large privately owned hotels and tour operations have arisen during the past few years. Local shops are flooded with consumer items, both local and foreign. The nearest airport is Heho which is 35 km away. There are flights from both Yangon and Mandalay. Yangon is 660 km distant by road, Mandalay 330 km.
Visite du lac Inle en Birmanie et du monastère avec ses chats dressés. 12.1995 VALPARD FILMS

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