Myanmar: Places to Explore

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Inle Lake

Not for die-hard urbanites, tranquil Inle Lake is where visitors come to decompress after hot, dusty tours through the rest of the country's must-see spots. Myanmar's second-largest lake, Inle is located in Nyaung Shwe Township in Myanmar's Shan State, which borders China to the north, Laos to the east, and Thailand to the south. It's estimated that the country has some 100 ethnic groups, and most of the people living on and around the lake are Intha; they are self-sufficient farmers and practice a unique form of paddling called leg-rowing. It's the tiny village of Nyaung Shwe to which visitors arrive from, and depart for, the airport. Like Bagan's towns, it has evolved to cater to tourists. The activity of choice here is boating, floating around the lake on wooden canoes fitted with outboard motors. Diminutive wooden huts on stilts rise up from the water as women do their washing and kids run from one dwelling to the next. Following sunset, the lake quickly quiets, with just the faint whirring of motors as the last boatmen retire for the day.

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