Inle and Its Surroundings
Inle Lake is 22 km long, 11 km wide, located 900 meters above sea level and sits in between the Shan Plateau. The lake bears 17 villages on stilts, which are mostly inhabited by Intha people, with a population of over 70,000. Today, there are around 100 Buddhist monasteries throughout the lake as the majority of the people are Buddhist. As Inle Lake is located in Shan State, the religious architecture and Buddhist sculpture are strongly influenced by the local Shan culture.
One of the main attractions on Inle Lake is the Inn Dein Pagoda, a 700-year-old pagoda covered by trees and bushes. Another is Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, one of the main pagodas in Myanmar. The building it is held in was built back in the 18th century and the 12th century stupas inside have lost their shape due to the fact that devotees are constantly plastering them with gold leaf. A unique destination not to miss is the NgaPheChaung Monastery is also known as Jumping Cat’s Monastery. This wooden monastery sits on stilts over the lake, built 4 years before the Mandalay Palace. The tall, highly decorated wood and mosaic pedestals and cases are just as impressive as the wide variety of Buddha stupas.
The well-known silk weaving looms and lotus robe hand looms are unique to Inle, where they still use the traditional methods to make their products. While visiting these manufacturers, you can experience the daily lives of the people who work there and how they are still using traditional methods to perfection till this day.
Sagar was formerly located on the hills, but after the construction of water supply, the village was moved. However, the temples still remain in its old place, and is now surrounded by water. There are hundreds of Buddha Images that are over 700 years old in this area. A day trip to Sagar is enjoyed by most due to the scenic landscape that would make you feel a wave of emotions.
Located 1 hour away from Heho Airport and 1200 meters above sea level, Pindaya is home of the “Pindaya Caves” which house 8094 Buddha Images that were made from a wide variety of materials and have been there for centuries. These caves are naturally formed, making unusual features with stalactites and stalagmites formed over millions of years. Different tribal villages make Pindaya a perfect location for a hike in order to experience the traditions and culture of different ethnicity.
The pine covered hill station of Taunggyi provides a cool break from the heat of the plains as it is located 1430 meters above the sea level. Due to its function as a trade town from Thailand, China, and India, this is one of the most prosperous and enterprising towns in Myanmar. This bustling local market allows you to interact with the different ethic locals that lives in the city.
Located three-hour drive away from Nyaung Shwe, Kakku is lined with over 2000 pagodas, most of which are 3 to 4 meters high, that is laid out in neat rows. It was built over 700 years ago and was rediscovered among the bushes and trees after being abandoned for a long time. The tranquility of Kakku alongside the lives of Pao people makes it an interesting excursion from Inle.
Resting on the heart of the pine-studded Shan Hills, Kalaw is a peaceful small town that is 1300 meters above sea level. Different colonial-style buildings exist to this day, acting as a reminiscent of the colonial era. Even though there is not much to do at Kalaw, it is a local favorite due to its atmosphere. Kalaw is a place to visit for those that loves outdoors as it is great hiking place to discover the beautiful mountain scenery.
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