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Inle Lake is 22 km long, roughly 11 km wide, 875 m above sea level. Its Lakeshore and islands are home to 17 villages of Intha peapole who row their boats by legs. So Inlay lake is also known as the lake of leg-rowers. One of the key sites in Inle Ywama floating market which is crowded on the day according to the local five-day market scheme.
Phaung-daw-oo Phaya is the holiest religious site. Five Buddha Images look like balls of gold are enshrined in the center of building. Four of them are annually ferried around the lake in a royal Barge during the festival which takes place in late September or early October. Festival lasts about three weeks.
India Pagoda is located in Indian village which lies on the western side of Inle Lake. It is believed that pagoda was built as early as 200 years after death of Gaudama Buddha. But there is no strong evidence for that belief. Anyway the earliest stone inseriptions were erected in the year 1785, exactly dated on Thursday, 9th wanning moon day of Thadingyut, 1147 Myanmar Era. 403 teak pillors are used for the stairsway to pagoda. Many smaller accompanying pagodas number up to 1057. Such an interesting site namely Kakku, 40 km south of Taunggyi, is said to contain over 2000 small stupas which are weather beaten. No detailed studied have been conducted to determine the age of the site yet.
Phaung Taw Oo Pagoda
On the western bank of the lake a cluster of over five hundred shrines reached by a boat along a pleasant stream. The ruined 17th century pagodas-include beautifully carved mythical and celestial beings of stone.
Pindaya Cave Pagoda
The three caves along the cliff are believed to contain more than 8000 images. The southern most cave containing the main shrine is 490 ft (149 m)long and is Red with images of all sizes, carved in wood, stone, marble and bronze some thickly gilded.
Here one can see many Buddha images in the 'healthing' posture, with a bowl on the u turned palm of the left hand while forefinger and thumb of the right hand holds a fruit called hpan khar, (Terminalia chebula) which is often used in traditional medicine.
Hpa-an, capital of Kayin State, is accessible by road from Yangon across a bridge over Thanlwin river. Another bridge, over the Gyaing River, links Hpa-an and Mawlamyaine, capital of Mon State. 143 km southeast to Myawaddy on the bank of Thaungyin River ( Moei River as Thai people call). Opposite lies Mae Sot in Thailand.
There are Many interesting excursions around Hpa-an. 11 km to the south, Mt.Zwegabin, a sacred place with a hight of 722 m, stands. Panoramic views from the summit are breath-taking. Thousands of Buddha statues line up in row after row on the way. Hundreds of concrete steps up to the top demand great effort. To be able to avoide such fatigue, a cable car project is commencing officially. Several natural caves, Saddan Cave, Kawgun Cave, Yathepan Cave, all with a lot of Buddha Images inside, are worth to be observe.
Kyauk-Kalatt a stone mountain strangely standing tall is also an inviting site to visit cross a long foot-bridge over a big-wide-shallow lake to get there Lumbini Garden with a thousand Buddha Images at the base is also a great interest. There are wonderful views of surrounding countryside, obscured only by the birds and butterflies fluttering nearby.
Getting There and Getting Around
Inlay Lake is easily accessible from Yangon, Bagan or Mandalay via Heho by plane. The flying time from Yangon is about an hour, and then by car for a distance of (35) km from Heho to Nyang Shwe, which is on the northern tip of Lake. It is also possible to reach Heho and Taunggyi by rail or road, and then proceed to Nyaung Shwe. To explore the Inlay Lake area, a typical trip by motorized one legged rowing canoe is enjoyable.
US $ 5 per person (inlay)
Taunggyi is the capital of Shan State, Myanmar. As Taunggyi is at an elevation of 4,712 ft (1,436m) above sea level, it is a hill station and gate way to Kakku Historical Zone.
Kalaw stands 1320 meter above sea level on the western edge of the Shan Plateau. It is 70km west of Taunggyi, about halfway along the Thazi-Taunggyi road. This was a popular hill station in the British days and it is still a peaceful and quiet place. It is also pleasantly cool and a good place for hiking amid gnarled pines, bamboo groves and rugged mountain scenes.
Kakku Pagodas are Asia's largest and most spectacular wonders. The Pagoda complex has over 2,400 stupas with origins dating back many centuries. Kakku is about 33 miles (53 km) from Taunggyi, Shan State.
Phaung-Daw-Oo Pagoda Market
Phaung-Daw-Oo Market is adjacent to the Phaung-Daw-Oo Pagoda. You can buy local and lake products, handicrafts and souvenirs. You can observe traditional ways of life of tribes.
In-Thar Traditional House (Inlay)
Inlay is the home of some 80,000 In-thars, native lake dwellers, in 17 villages. Many In-thars live in their nuts and wooden bungalows on floating islands, while some live by the villages lakeshore. Most houses are built on water and wood frames are washed with crude oil.
Inlay Lake Wildlife Sanctuary is a wetland sanctuary and located in Nyaung Shwe, Pinlaung and Peh Kon Townships of Southern Shan State. It covers an area of (642.32) square miles (1663.51 km) and was established in 1985. This sanctuary is to conserve and protect natural vegetation, wetland birds and fresh water fishes in Inlay Sanctuary. Inlay Lake is not only a cultural-historical-religious site but also one of the designated (21) ecotourism destinations in Myanmar. Nature explorers should not miss out a chance to experience the world famous wetland ecosystem of Inlay Lake Wildlife Sanctuary by cycling and trekking on the Shan Plateau. The Sanctuary covers Inlay Lake and cruising around the hill-rimmed lake and drafting by boat into the floating agriculture of the local In-thar people will complete an incomparable relaxation.
Fishermen of Inlay Lake
In Inlay Lake, various types of fishing methods are used. Fishing by conical shape net trap is different from ways of fishing in other parts of the country.
The native people, In-thars, grow vegetables on floating islands which are collection of floating weed and water hyacinth. These floating islands can be cut, dragged by boats and even be sold like a piece of land. Floating gardens can be found mostly in Kay-lar, In-chan and Za-yat-gyi Village.
It is situated in Ywa-ma Village. Local people around the lake buy and sell on boats. It is an interesting natural market.
Alo-taw-pauk pagoda which is situated in the village of Nan-pan is said to have been built by King Asoka. Its ancient handicraft and architecture can be studied there.
This wooden monastery was built on stilts of Inlay, about 2 centuries ago. Century-old wooden sculptures can be seen there. It is widely known as "Jumping Cat Minastery" because cats from this monastery can jump and leap through hoops.
One of the 17 small villages of Inlay Lake, is on the west end. Visitors have to take 5 km boat ride from Ywa-ma Village, which is next to Nyang-shwe. A Buddha image is enshrined inside a white-washed stupa, on the summit of a hill. Below the stupa around the hill are a cluster of hundreds of ancient stupas
Sa-Kar is a ruined royal capital with ancient monasteries and pagodas at the southern end of Inlay Lake, is a beautiful, isolated setting far from villages. It was built in 1479 and the population is about 1300.
Goak-Htake Bridge was constructed over 100 years ago. It is the highest bridge in Myanmar. The rail line was constructed as a way for the British Empire to expand their influence in the region. The bridge can be reached by taking a train from Mandalay to Pyin-Oo-Lwin north towards Naung-cho where the bridge is located about 3 miles (5km) further east.
Htam-San Cave (Taunggyi)
Htam-San Cave is located not far from Ho-pone, about 26 miles in the east of Taunggyi. The cave was found by a young monk. The trip takes along snaky road through its colorful surroundings. On the way to Taunggyi –Loi-len Highway Road, the nature cave is 586 meter long and 10 meter high. Stalactities and stalagmite can be seen there.
5-day market, open only on every 5th day , is very interesting thing for tourists. Women from various hill tribes that live in the Inlay Lake region come to sell their home-made crafts, products, fruits and vegetables in the market.
The "Haw" mansion in which Nyaung-shwe-saw-bwa had lived, has been opened as a museum. It was built by Saw-bwa-gyi Sir Sao-Maung in 1913. The chambers decorated with marvelous ancient architecture and sculptures can be observed there. From now that will be reopened as the "Museum of all Saw-bwa-gyi" and all the thrones, the divans, the royal attires, the personal uses and photographs of all those Saw-bwas will be displayed there.
Pa-Daung, The Long Necked Nationals
One of the most striking of these groups is the long necked Pa-daung nationals living in Shan State of Myanmar. Their unique state attractions, is their brass rings on the women's necks. There are two kinds of Pa-daung: one who put rings on women's necks called "long-necked Pa-daungs" and the other, without rings on women's necks called "short-necked Pa-daungs".
These caves are located in the western part of Ywa-ngan Township. There are two caves standing 200 meters far between facing to the south. The length of the bigger cave is about 269 meters. 1600 pieces of stone implements were excavated from the caves and you can observe wall paintings of Neolithic Period.
Most of the Pa-o Tribes live around southern Shan State and there are many Pa-O Villagers in Shan State. They live on agriculture and especially they grow cheroot leaf, garlic, wheat and peas.
Pin-Da-Ya is a small quiet town perched on the bank of the place Pone-ta-loat Lake. The Pin-Da-Ya Cave, containing thousands of Buddha images, is the main destination in this region. The most attractive place in Pin-Da-Ya is the ancient Shwe-U-Min Cave which contains about 8,000 Buddha statues, collected over the centuries. This cave is a lime cave and is about 200 million years old according to the geologists's estimation.
Loi-Kaw is the capital of Ka-yah State and bisected by the Be-lu Stream that flows from Inlay Lake. It is situated 2915 feet above sea level and the population is about 20,000. Loi-kaw is surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges, lakes and waterfalls. The town is pleasant and in the suburbs are large wooden houses in lush, green compounds
Gold & Silver Smith
Producing gold and silver ware is a long tradition of Myanmar. Ywa-ma village which is located 12 km away from Nyaung-shwe is well-known for its gold and silver ware.
In Se-khong Village, there is a blacksmith workshop which produces knives and farming tools, sold at separate 5-day market around the Inlay Region.
At In-paw-khon Village in Inlay you can see silk weaving. Silk weaving acheik style which turns the hard-edged Myanmar designs into softer motifs. They also weave pieces of plain silk and scarves in gorgeous rich colors.
Pin-da-ya is one of the key places where local style umbrellas and Shan-paper are made. There are round about 20 places at Nget-pyaw-daw quarter at Pin-da-ya in Shan State. Tourists can experience the process of making umbrellas and traditional Shan paper.
Mostly Pa-laung and Da-nu Tribes grow tea plants especially in Ka-law and Pin-da-ya Townships. For the whole country, famous tea leaves come from the Shan State.
Trekking Pindaya- Kalaw and the surrounding hills
On the mountain ranges around Kalaw are the villages where trekking is an experience which varies from one day to five days. Study the traditional customs of the Palaung people in Taraw village, a tourist attraction which has kept its ancient look. The sight of tea plantations, other seasonal crops and quiet parkways are there. Trekking along the path from Kalaw to the Inlay Lake is even more interesting. Enjoy the unspoilt natural scenery of Inlay Lake which leads to Kakku Pagoda Complex.