The alarm goes off early this morning and we are ready to hit the road to Inle Lake, in Nyaungshwe. The road is not smooth and our drivers are having the time of their lives driving, while we are amazed by the breathtaking view we see. We left the Dry Zone and we finally see beautiful green hills.
When we get to Inle Lake we jump on one of the characteristic boats which is longer than the usual ones although having engines. The lake is about 1000 metres above sea level, it has a pleasant temperature, and the Intha’s population (70.000 people) lives here, surrounded by the Shan hills. Gorgeous! They are essentially fishermen, farmers, and artisans. They live in 4 small towns on the shores of the lake or on stilt houses made of wood and bamboo, with floating gardens. We find ourselves in the middle of a monsoon and the atmosphere is simply magical!
Now that the dry season is finally over the lake is about 170 cm deep, the yearly minimum. After so much drought, we hope that the rain reaches all dry zones. Without making damages, of course! Something curious about fishermen of this Lake: They row, standing on one leg, so they can use both hands to manage the big fishing nets they use. We also met people who harvest weed from the bottom of the lake for their floating gardens. Depending on the season, the weed follows the waterline and it is possible to grow fruits, flowers, pumpkins, tomatoes, and other vegetables.
You can go to the market every day but each 5 days it changes location. The most important market is the one on the boats where you can find artisanal products, tools, sculptures, the finest fabrics and cigars! ?
Inle Lake is ecologically balanced but at risk because of all illicit traffic, that affects the environment.