Inle Lake is located in the Shan State, about 650 kms north of Yangon and is about 880 metres above sea level. The lake is shallow with an average depth of about 2 metres and a maximum depth of 3 metres. It is home to the Inthu people, many of whom live off the lake by farming floating gardens made up of aquatic vegetation, composted foliage and soil, which is staked to the lake bottom with bamboo poles.
It is famous for its leg-rowing fisherman, who stand upright at the stern of their boats and paddle with one leg wrapped around the oar, and do their fishing with conical fish traps that are thrust into the water and held down with one foot while the netting is freed from the conical frame with a pole. Touring the lake can only be accomplished by long boats outfitted with outboards; their propeller shafts extend at shallow angles behind the boat and leave white rooster tails in their wake, and produce an almost hypnotic growl.
The lake is idyllic, with thatched huts perched on stilts above the water across thick mats of floating hyacinths and floating gardens segregated by bamboo fencing with their images mirrored in the still water. Each of the planned stops on the lake tour reveals another a facet of Inthu culture.
The lake is also known for its floating markets, its artisans, and its cottage factories that produce hand-woven silk, fabric and Shan bags. A fabric unique to Inle is made from lotus plant fibres and is used for weaving special robes for Buddha images called Kya Thingahn (lotus robe).
Skilled artisans who produce hand-made goods for local use and trading are another source of commerce. Typical products include tools, carvings, other ornamental objects and cheroot cigars. A local market serves most common shopping needs and is held daily but the location of the event rotates through five different sites around the lake area, so each of them hosting an itinerant market every fifth day. When held on the lake itself, trading is conducted from small boats.
In this unique environment, a hot air balloon flight over the Lake is an adventure not to be missed. Your flight of around an hour at various heights above the ground and water, will reveal a unique view of the lake, mountains, marshes and stilt-house villages. Driven by the wind, you will see the boats of the lake, motorised canoes transporting visitors along the main canal from Nyaungshwe on a day’s expedition, or Intha fishermen majestically rowing their flat-bottomed skiffs with one leg as they cast their nets.
Balloons only fly if weather conditions are suitable and if your ride is cancelled, a full refund is given. The season runs from 15th Nov 2016 to 15th March 2017. We pick you up and after a glass of Champagne upon landing, take you back to your Hotel. A fantastic addition to any of our Tours. Our rate starts at US $400 per passenger.
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