• Photo: gnomeandi / Shutterstock

Inle Lake

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 best accessed from Nyaung Shwe Township in Myanmar’s Shan State, which borders China to the north, Laos to the east, and Thailand to the south. Most of the people living on and around the lake are the Intha people. They are self-sufficient farmers and fishermen practicing a unique form of paddling their boats called leg rowing. The gateway village to the lake, Nyaung Shwe, is where visitors arrive after the drive from the airport at Heho, and it has evolved to cater to tourists and makes a good place to kick back for a few days. Once out on the lake, however, you’re witness to a very different way of life, with locals elegantly gliding their long, narrow boats between stilt-house villages, stopping at Buddhist temples, tending their floating gardens, and visiting the markets where members of other ethnic groups come down from their mountain villages to sell their wares.

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