For a backwater town, Nyaungshwe has a major amount of water!
It is on Lake Inle, which is 22 km long and 10 km wide.
The town itself is not interesting, rather nondescript and ready for the rainy season to clear off the dust. I didn’t spend much time there as I took two full day tours on the lake.
The canal in Nyaungshwe
The first day I shared a boat with a very interesting Finnish woman from my hotel, and the second day I was solo. Definitely the ‘princess’ on my chair, which only tourists use. Locally they are full of cargo or people sitting on the bottom of the boat.
In photos Lake Inle always looks calm and serene
It was grey, spitty with rain, very noisy with the engine, and the first time I’ve been cold in months! But still good.
The first sight are the ‘fake’ fisherman, which my boat driver constantly called them. They are at the entrance to the lake, at the end of canal from town. Strictly for tourist photos (and cover of the Lonely Planet guidebook).
The Intha, which are the native lake dwellers, have a unique leg-rowing technique that keeps their hands free for letting out their nets. They don’t use the conical nets anymore.
A ‘real’ fisherman
The villages around the lake are called ‘floating’, but they are on stilts.
Around their villages they used smaller dugout boats, with paddles or motor.
Everything was accessed by boat. Shop selling Myanmar beer, the most popular here.
They also have ‘floating gardens’, which really are a floating islands of vegetation. They mainly grow tomatoes, but also have trellises with beans and cucumbers.
They tend their gardens by boat, but my driver said the bigger mats could handle the weight of one person . Here he was pushing down on the mat to show its give.
The water level of the lake can rise 1.5 meters during the wet season, so the mats rise so only a small bit of the bamboo poles keeping them in position will be visible.
Samkar Buddhist ruins
Inthein and Shwe Inn Tain Pagoda (1054)
Nga Hpe Kyaung Monastery. Often called the ‘jumping cat monastery’ as a prior monk used to train cats to do party tricks. Name sticks despite the new monk thinks it ‘torture’.
Weaving and silver smithing are local specialities.
They weave with silk, cotton and lotus. Lotus is incredibly strong, and expensive! A small scarf was over $200.
Had to eat $1.50 Shan noodle soup in Shan State!
Then it was off to Ngapali (napally) Beach on the Indian Ocean for a six day ‘vacation from being a tourist’. No temples. Just listening to the waves and eating seafood…
Gorgeous sand and water. Blissfully quiet.
No pressure sales from the vendors on the beach. They just called out what they had, and only approached you if asked.
Having someone deliver fruit (with that tray on their head) and cut your mango is lovely!
Had two great meals with the lovely Elke and Dieter from Germany, that I met in Bagan.
Love this photo from Elke!
Warm prawn and tomato salad
Green coconut prawns
Sitting on my porch reading ‘The Glass Palace’ which I found at my hotel library. Fascinating to read Burmese and Malaysian history when you are here.
Just finished Week 10, five more to go.
One more sunset in Ngapali, then Yangon for five days.
Weather forecast there is 39 all week – staying here is pretty appealing but I’ve got a flight booked….