Photos of Inle Lake, home of the Intha, Myanmar

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Inle Lake, home of the Intha

The Inle Lake, in the west of Shan State, is the second largest lake in Myanmar and totally unique. It is about 22 kilometres long and 11 kilometres wide. The shore and islands in the lake have small villages with houses on stilts, inhabited mainly by Intha ("sons of the lake") people; they are a Tibeto-Burman group speaking an archaic dialect of Burmese and number around 70,000.

Street in Nyaungshwe
Gilded stupas
Mosaic covered pagoda
View of Nyaungshwe
Dusk at Nan Chaung
Intha fisherman
Woman on Inle Lake
Stupa near Indein
Old abandoned stupas
Shwe Inn Thein
Boats at Indein
Village on Inle Lake
View to stupas
Monastery with stupas
Hnin Thit Sar
Making paper umbrellas
House on stilts
Phaung Daw Oo Paya
The five holy images
Two men rowing
Ornate ceremonial vessel
Vessel detail
Buddha and cobra
Woman weaving
Inle Lake village
Pagoda on the lake
Boat transport
Children on veranda
Boat crew
Village over water
Making cheroots
Lakeside pagoda
Floating gardens
Nga Hpe Chaung
Gilded Buddha statues
A gilded throne
Tibetan Buddhas
Leg rowing
Boats in the canal
Yaungwe Haw museum
Throne and audience hall
Monastery, Nyaungshwe
Nyaungshwe street.
Newly built monastery
Golden stupas
Thatched house
Walking past stupas
Ox cart in Nyaungshwe
Yadana Man Aung Paya
Pagoda in Nanthe
Farmers of Nanthe
Farm house near Nyaungshwe
Walking to Ywa Thit
Abbot and novices
Ywa Thit stupas
Ywa Thit Monastery
Thatched houses
Canoe manoeuvre
Across the bridge
Pagoda along Nan Chaung

The Intha people grow vegetables on floating gardens and are famous for their rowing technique, standing at the stern of their flat-bottomed boats, one leg wrapped around an oar and propelling the boat with their leg. This way they have a good view of the floating islands and water hyacinths that often form obstacles. Only men perform the leg rowing style however; women sit cross legged at the stern, using the oar with their hands.

The lake is part of the township of Nyangshwe, located a few kilometres north of the lake and to the south west of the state capital of Taunggyi. It is a hub for visitors and has all amenities, hotels, restaurants, a few stupas and a canal filled with local boats. It is easy to organise trips around the lake, a great trip with lots of points of interest; old villages like Indein with its crumbling stupas, impressive monasteries like Phaung Daw Oo Paya, the holiest religious site in southern Shan State, the many stupas of Aung Min Ga Lar Paya and cottage industry in villages: weaving, silver smiths, making of cheroots, cylindrical cigars with both ends clipped during manufacture, to mention a few.