After enjoying our time around Nyaungshwe & during our Sunset Tour of Inle Lake, we were looking forward to checking out the lake during the day.
We got up relatively early to beat the heat for our Day Tour on Inle Lake.
Before I get started, here are some related posts to check out:
- We’re heading to Myanmar (Burma)
- 14 Things We Learned From Visiting Myanmar (Burma)
- In A Nutshell: Mandalay, Myanmar
I knew that it would be hard to beat what we saw the night before but we still had to see what life was like on the lake during the day. At just $18 for the tour (around 4 hours) it seemed like a relative bargain.
We made our way toward the lake and soon came across one of the fisherman but we didn’t stop for long. While it was still really neat to see this little show, I don’t think the sunset version could be topped. (And it wasn’t even like the fisherman tried to come closer or perform more for a tip. Could it be that he was actually fishing???)
While reading into things to do on the lake, Kim and I came up with a few sites/ places we wanted to visit.
Our first stop was Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery (had to look that up), better known as the Jumping Cat Monastery.
I had high hopes for our visit and when we pulled up in our boat, the monastery did look impressive. Too bad it was all downhill from there… While the monastery was nice to see, it certainly didn’t live up to its name! I definitely shouldn’t have expected much I guess.
There were some cats inside the monastery but the majority of them were lying around, sleeping and certainly not jumping! I thought maybe you had to buy food for them or ask one of the monks but that didn’t pay off with a nice cat jump.
I had Lucas ask a monk if the cats jump and from what I recall, he shook his head no but did offer Lucas a candy from a jar. My guess is that this was a peace-offering due to the lack of jumping cats!
Besides the prayer area, there is a somewhat large area with vendors all pretty much selling the same junk.
The best part of our visit to the Jumping Cat Monastery, was this picture Kim took of Lucas and I, which I totally love!
Just cruising around on the lake is fun in itself. Whenever we passed boats carrying locals, most were friendly, waving hi at us and showing off huge smiles. This would also be a very memorable part of our visit.
I noticed that tourist and local boats, while mostly the same size, have some differences. The main difference is that tourists get to sit on chairs and have some space to stretch out while boats with locals seem a bit cramped & there are no chairs. The people sit directly on the floor of the boat. This probably doesn’t make for a great view or a comfortable ride.
Since life revolves around the lake, it was interesting to come across some of the floating vendors. We were bothered a little but had no interest in buying any of these souvenirs. I also saw another boat or two selling fresh fruits and some other items.
These floating sales boats reminded me of our trip to Thailand quite some time back when we visited the touristy yet interesting floating markets.
Our first stop was to a Silversmith Workshop. I enjoyed our visit but didn’t want to spend too much time here. It was interesting seeing the globs of molten metal get shaped and decorated into beautiful pieces for sale.
Our next stop might just be the most important one that we visited.
Hpaung Daw U Pagoda is a pretty large temple which had a lot of visitors, mostly locals from what I could tell. When our boat pulled up we had to walk across other boats to make it onto the temple’s square.
What looks like five lumps of gold are actually five buddhas covered in gold leaf. There is so much leaf on these buddhas that I would’ve never had a clue about what I was looking at if not for seeing photos of how it used to look
The Buddhas, while not huge are supposedly made of solid gold and are extremely heavy. Only men are allowed to add gold leaf to these gold lump buddhas by going up to the alter. I went up to get a better look and see more of what was going on.
There didn’t seem to be much else to do here.
Getting back onto our boat was a bit of a challenge. We once again had to climb across a cluster of docked boats to get back onto ours. This was kind of funny when looking back at the situation, but a little tricky with a three year old.
We made our last stop before going for lunch at a Silk and Lotus Weaving workshop.
It felt like we were on a tour at this massive workshop/ factory which was made up of a few buildings, all high up on stilts.
We got to see a short demonstration and learn about the silk and lotus along with the variety of crafts they make from them. We saw how the used the lotus plant which grows all around the lake, to make thread which is then woven just like silk.
While walking through the different areas, we saw many impressive pieces being made on the looms. The work looks tedious and like a very slow process but the results can be very nice and not so surprisingly very expensive. (BTW- The pieces made from lotus are much pricier than those made from silk.)
Lucas had a lot of fun visiting this workshop. He got to play with some of the equipment but best of all, he found a local boy around his age to play with.
While Lucas couldn’t talk with the boy, it really didn’t matter much. There was lots of imitating, hide & seek, acting silly, laughing and fun that took place during this encounter.
It was fun to watch and other tourists even took photos of them running around and playing!
That wraps up our visit to Inle Lake. I’d definitely recommend visiting the area for a couple of days if you travel to Myanmar in the future.
The next stop during our trip was to the amazing area of Bagan. Make sure to keep checking back for a future post about our visit!