Day 1: Arrival
Welcome to Inle Lake, whose calm waters are the life-blood for many ethnic minority communities. They live in stilt houses along the lake's shallow fringes and surrounding areas. You’ll begin this Short Break in the main township of Nyaungshwe, which lies a few kilometres north of Inle Lake. You’ll meet your guide and fellow travellers (if any) at 8:30 am at Paradise Hotel. From here you’ll begin your trek into the surrounding villages. You’ll hike for around 1 hour up a small hillock to Htat Eain village, which houses a well-known cave temple of the same name. This extensive limestone cave features beautiful stupas and Buddha statues, some sitting in deep contemplation in its pitch black depths, others watching over the countryside from a carved out ledge. Leaving the still and quiet of the cave, trek another 45 minutes to a village, where you’ll meet some of the locals. Passing patches of farmland and with the mountains in the background, walk through the picturesque countryside to a second village, where you’ll stop for lunch and enjoy some time with the local community. All fuelled up, continue your walk for around another 1.5 hours before transferring to a light truck to rest your legs with a transfer back to the hotel. Arriving in the mid-afternoon, the rest of your day is free. There are numerous restaurants to sample and a traditional puppet show held in town every evening.
Day 2: Inle Lake
Rise early again this morning (you may wish to rise even earlier yourself to catch a stunning Inle Lake sunrise), meeting at the hotel at 8:30 am and heading down to a nearby jetty. Here you’ll board a boat and sail onto the lake, seeing local life, exploring the floating gardens, and catching a glimpse of the local Intha fishermen who are famous for their unique 'leg-rowing' technique. The Intha leg-rowers navigate their long, narrow craft by standing on the stern with one leg and wrapping the other around the oar. This unique style evolved because the reeds that cover the lake and the floating plants make it difficult to see above them while sitting. You’ll also visit some nearby floating villages, looking out for a wide array of birdlife – including egrets, cranes, ducks, storks and various birds of prey – along the way. Stop by the Nga Phe Chaung Monastery, a 19th-century wooden silt place of worship with an impressive collection Buddha images. Have lunch at Inthar Heritage House, which features a tasting menu built on the foundations of their grandmother’s traditional Inthar recipes. Here you’ll also visit the Inthar Heritage Museum, see how they’re keeping another part of Myanmar’s heritage alive with a reintroduction program for the once Royal Burmese cat, and also learn about the vocation training school run to help disadvantaged youths. Hop back on a boat and travel up a long narrow canal to the Indein ruins complex. Disembark and discover a pagoda and stupas built in the 8th century. Explore the atmospheric ruins; crumbling stupas being reclaimed by greenery, and up a hill over 1,000 zedi from the 17th and 18th centuries. Enjoy views across the valley and lake from the pagoda, and marvel at the surroundings. Take the boat back to Nyuangshwe (approximately 1 hour 15 minutes), arriving around 5pm, when this Inle Lake trip comes to an end.
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