Posts Tagged With: Inle Lake

a cruise around inle lake & a visit to jumping cat monastery

Monday, February 23:   After visiting the 5-day rotating market and pushing off from the dock at Khuang Daing Village, we cruise around Inle Lake, looking at the villages along the lake and the fishermen plying the waters for food.  It’s a gorgeous day out.  Though it was quite chilly in the early morning, it’s now warming up nicely.

Boaters on Inle Lake

Boaters on Inle Lake

I love watching all the activity on the lake. Locals are going about their business while tourists are also zooming by in long-tail boats.  As Inle Lake is 13.5 miles (22km) long and 7 miles (11km) wide, the lake never seems too crowded.

long-tail boat on Inle Lake

long-tail boat on Inle Lake

The floating gardens at Inle Lake are an example of a large-scale traditional hydroponics system.  In the distance, I can see the wooden poles which hold the gardens in place.

shoreline vision

shoreline vision

Inle Lake is famous for its tomato crops that ripen around December each year, providing both a sustainable food system and income for locals. The lake is also full of fish, the most common being a breed of carp that combined with floating gardens has helped sustain the communities around the lake for many centuries (Inhabitat: Myanmar’s Inle Lake Shows Bridge to Ancient Hydroponic Farming Systems).

A common sight on the lake are the flat bottom skiffs “propelled by the unique Intha technique of leg rowing — in which one leg is wrapped around the paddle to drive the blade through the water in a snake-like motion” (Lonely Planet Myanmar (Burma)).

fisherman

fisherman

Intha technique of leg rowing

Intha technique of leg rowing

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long tail boats

Inle Lake shores

Inle Lake shores

boaters

boaters

fishermen

fishermen

fishermen

fishermen

Inle Lake silhouettes

Inle Lake silhouettes

Inle Lake

Inle Lake

boaters

boaters

local Burmese

local Burmese

silhouettes

silhouettes

Pretty building along the shore

Pretty building along the shore

long-tail boats

long-tail boats

long-tail boats on Inle Lake

long-tail boats on Inle Lake

No labor-intensive watering system is needed for the amazing floating gardens at Inle Lake.  Instead, locals float man-made islands of matted organic material across the fresh water lake. “Anchored into place, the islands are sturdy enough for crops to root successfully, and then the roots simply keep growing into the lake below, thus having access to as much fresh water as they require without the need for the farmers to continually keep them hydrated.”  The creation time for these floating fields can “take up to 10 years until submerged, matted organic matter has formed.”  The process can be hastened by dredging the silt from the lake floor and adding this to the newly formed islands.  This is thought to make plant life more fertile.  (Inhabitat: Myanmar’s Inle Lake Shows Bridge to Ancient Hydroponic Farming Systems).

floating gardens of Inle Lake

floating gardens of Inle Lake

I love it once we leave the wide open spaces of the lake and delve into one of the many waterways through the stilt house villages.  These villages are so picturesque and charming.

stilt houses

stilt houses

reflections

reflections

local Burmese fellow

local Burmese fellow

stilt houses in a village

stilt houses in a village

stilt house reflections

stilt house reflections

reflections of Inle Lake

reflections of Inle Lake

Once in the village, we head to Nga Phe Chaung Monastery, a peaceful teak wood monastery built on stilts over the lake. Dating from the end of the 1850s, the monastery is known for its collection of ancient Buddha images.

Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

The monastery is known as “Jumping Cat Monastery” because the monks once trained cats to leap through hoops; they put on cat-jumping shows for tourists.  However, my guide tells me that the monks no longer stage such shows.  In fact, the cats I see today seem quite lazy, napping in strips of sunlight on the warm wood.

approaching Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

approaching Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

Buddha in Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

Buddha in Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

Buddha image in Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

Buddha image in Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

Buddha

Buddha

Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

Meditation hall at Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

Meditation hall at Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

napping cats

napping cats

lotus flowers at Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

lotus flowers at Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

I find some wonderful views of the floating gardens from the monastery.  It’s possible to rent a hot air balloon at Inle Lake but the price is very steep. It would be an excellent place for a hot air balloon ride because you’d get excellent views of the gardens.

view of floating gardens from Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

view of floating gardens from Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

floating gardens of Inle Lake

floating gardens of Inle Lake

part of Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

part of Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

floating gardens

floating gardens

floating gardens

floating gardens

dock at the monastery

dock at the monastery

Wandering around the monastery grounds, I find teak-covered walkways, lush gardens, and monks going about their business.

walkway at Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

walkway at Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

monks quarters

monks’ quarters

pathway at Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

pathway at Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

more floating gardens

more floating gardens

colorful boats

colorful boats

Burmese woman

Burmese woman

Burmese woman

Burmese woman

I can’t resist taking a picture of my replacement flip-flops, the ones I bought at Mount Popa when my Havaianas were stolen by the shoe-minder.  Believe me, these are not nearly as comfortable as mine. 🙂

the flip-flops I bought after mine were stolen

the flip-flops I bought after mine were stolen

I wander across the little bridge near the monastery into the gardens and village across the water, but I don’t go far.

I find a shaky-looking footbridge.

village near Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

village near Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

footbridge

footbridge

Finally, it’s time to take off and go back out on the lake.  At this point it’s only 9:45 a.m.   We’ve already done so much exploring, and the day spreads out before me with the promise of more adventures.

leaving Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

leaving Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

parting view of Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

parting view of Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

fare thee well

fare thee well

boater near the Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

boater near the Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

Back on the water again, we head to another village where we stop at a weaving workshop and a silver workshop.  We also stop at a workshop where long-neck women weave scarves, as well as another pagoda and more of the beautiful Inle Lake.

Categories: Asia, Inle Lake, Jumping Cat Monastery, Myanmar, Nga Hpe Kyaung, Nga Phe Chaung Monastery, Shan State | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

a sunrise cruise on the waters of inle lake

Monday, February 23:  Last night, I accidentally set my alarm for 5 P.M. for a sunrise boat ride on Inle Lake this morning.  Luckily, my husband texted me from the USA at 5:35 and woke me up, otherwise I would have slept right through my appointed meeting.  I rush to shower and gobble down breakfast and meet the guide just in time for my day-long boat ride on the lake.

Several fellow travelers had warned me that the early morning boat ride on the lake would be cold, so I bundle up in my blue Wal-Mart men’s jacket; I bought this jacket in China because I hadn’t brought any warm winter coats to Nanning and women’s clothes in China are too small for me.  I get as comfortable as possible in a long-tail motorboat, commonly used for tours and fishing on Inle Lake.  Luckily, the boat guide also has a blanket I can wrap around myself.  It is freezing and windy out on the lake at this early morning hour, despite temperatures that rise up to 90 degrees in the daytime.

heading out on the canal to Inle Lake at daybreak

heading out on the canal to Inle Lake at daybreak

We leave before sunrise, so I’m able to see the sun coming up slowly over the horizon.  The plan is to spend the whole day on the lake, visiting stilt-house villages, floating gardens, and Buddhist temples, as well as hopefully getting glimpses of the famous Intha people using their unique technique for leg rowing — in which one leg is wrapped around the paddle to drive the blade through the water in a snake-like motion.

Inle Lake

Inle Lake

buildings along Inle Lake

buildings along Inle Lake

Inle Lake

Inle Lake

the boat cuts through the mist

the boat cuts through the mist

sunrise on Inle Lake

sunrise on Inle Lake

scenes along the wy

scenes along the wy

serenity

serenity

sunrise at Inle Lake

sunrise at Inle Lake

houses on stilts

houses on stilts

Click on any of the photos below for a full-sized slide show.

As we ply the waters, the golden sunlight washes over the waterways and stilt houses, giving the entire place an otherworldly aura.

shores of Inle Lake

shores of Inle Lake

sun reflection

sun reflection

Click any of the photos below for a full-size slide show.

We come across several Inle Lake fishermen; when we approach them, the boat guide turns down the engine of the long-tail motorboat so as not to scare away the fisherman’s intended catch.

fisherman

fisherman

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sunrise, fishermen and birds

We head first to the five-day rotating market which is today at Khaung Daing Village, on the northwest end of the lake.  At the market, locals bring in fresh fish and produce from the floating gardens.

heading down a waterway to the market

heading down a waterway to the market

In Inle Lake’s famous floating gardens, Intha farmers grow flowers, tomatoes, squash, and other fruit and vegetables on long wooden trellises supported on floating mats of vegetation.  It’s hard to get a good view at lake level, but I’ve seen pictures of views from the hot air balloons that are fabulous.  Sadly, the hot air balloon prices are exorbitant, over $500, so I pass on this trip.  When I took a hot air balloon ride in Turkey, it was about 180 euros for one hour.

floating gardens of Inle Lake

floating gardens of Inle Lake

floating gardens

floating gardens

gateway

gateway

floating gardens at sunrise

floating gardens at sunrise

morning light

morning light

waterways of Inle Lake

waterways of Inle Lake

floating gardens

floating gardens

motor boating through the waterways

motor boating through the waterways

There are also Buddhist temples along the way.

Buddhist temple

Buddhist temple

After about an hour ride, we dock at this spot near Khaung Daing; I will walk from here to the market.

reflections

reflections

parking

parking

parking lot

parking lot

I walk inland to the market, not knowing what a colorful and lively experience it will turn out to be. 🙂

Categories: Asia, Five-day rotating market, Inle Lake, Khaung Daing, Myanmar, Nyaungshwe, Shan State | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

an afternoon in nyaungshwe & a surprise encounter to top off the day :-)

Sunday, February 22:  I whiz back into Nyaungshwe on my bicycle, feeling pretty good after the flight of wines at Red Mountain Vineyard.  Although it took me a while to find my way TO the winery, I was able to remember the route back quite easily, despite feeling a bit loopy. 🙂  Earlier, I had seen the Yadana Man Aung Paya not far from my hotel, so I lock my bicycle at the entrance and go in to wander about.  There, much to my surprise, I run into Sunoko, the Japanese lady from Shanghai who I met in Bagan, the one who was struggling mightily with her e-bike, just as I had.  Although Myanmar is a small country, and the tourist route is quite similar for all tourists, I’m still surprised that I should run into her here at Nyaungshwe, a plane flight or a long bus ride away from where I met her in Bagan.  It turned out she met a group of young people in Bagan and took the bus with them to Inle Lake.  We chat for a while and then arrange to have dinner together tonight at 7:30 at Everest Nepali Food.

Yadana Man Aung Paya

Yadana Man Aung Paya

Yadana Man Aung Paya, a pretty gilded stupa south of the Mingala Market, is the oldest and most important Buddhist shrine in Nyaungshwe.

Yadana Man Aung Paya

Yadana Man Aung Paya

Yadana Man Aung Paya

Yadana Man Aung Paya

The pavilion on the grounds contains treasures collected by monks over the centuries, including lacquerware, carvings, and dance costumes.

Yadana Man Aung Paya

Yadana Man Aung Paya

The stepped stupa is unique in Myanmar.

Yadana Man Aung Paya

Yadana Man Aung Paya

Yadana Man Aung Paya

Yadana Man Aung Paya

Nyaungshwe is the main access point for Inle Lake; it sits at the lake’s north end.  After exploring the pagoda, I walk along the canal and watch the bustle and buzz of the famous long-tail motorboats.

boats in Nyaungshwe

boats in Nyaungshwe

boats in Nyaungshwe

boats in Nyaungshwe

boats in Nyaungshwe

boats in Nyaungshwe

boats in Nyaungshwe

boats in Nyaungshwe

boats in Nyaungshwe

boats in Nyaungshwe

boats in Nyaungshwe

boats in Nyaungshwe

boats in Nyaungshwe

boats in Nyaungshwe

boats in Nyaungshwe

boats in Nyaungshwe

boats in Nyaungshwe

boats in Nyaungshwe

boats in Nyaungshwe

boats in Nyaungshwe

I love places like this that are a bit scruffy, but colorful and bustling.

boats in Nyaungshwe

boats in Nyaungshwe

boats in Nyaungshwe

boats in Nyaungshwe

boats in Nyaungshwe

boats in Nyaungshwe

looking down on the boat

looking down on the boat

busy canal

busy canal

boats in Nyaungshwe

boats in Nyaungshwe

boats in Nyaungshwe

boats in Nyaungshwe

boats in Nyaungshwe

boats in Nyaungshwe

I go back to the Inle Apex Hotel to relax.  After a while, I go out to find Everest, where I’m meeting Sunoko. I arrive before she does, so I sit at a table and order a Myanmar beer.

Everest

Everest

When Sunoko arrives, she orders a beer too.  We both order some Paneer Curry that is delicious!  She tells me she’s 35 and really wants a boyfriend. She tells me about a German guy she really likes, but he seems to only think of her as a friend.  I tell her my daughter has been caught up on a guy she’s known since high school; she’s experiencing the same situation.  Unrequited love is the worst!

Paneer Curry at Everest

Paneer Curry at Everest

After dinner, I go back to my room to get a good night’s sleep before a dawn departure for my all-day boat ride around Inle Lake. I’m exhausted since I’ve been up and going since 4:30 this morning, when I left Bagan.  I’m excited to explore this beautiful lake I’ve heard so much about. 🙂

 

Categories: Asia, Everest Nepali Food, Inle Lake, Myanmar, Nyaungshwe, Shan State, Yadana Man Aung Paya | Tags: , , , , , | 12 Comments

a bicycle ride to red mountain estate vineyards & winery

Sunday, February 22:  After leaving the Nigyawdayan Stupa, I pedal up the main two lane highway along the northeast side of Inle Lake.  I don’t have any views of the lake at this point; I’m on my way to the Red Mountain Estate Vineyards & Winery and I enjoy the breeze on this warm day and the views of the mountains and farmland.

on the road to Red Mountain Winery

on the road to Red Mountain Winery

on the road to Red Mountain Winery

on the road to Red Mountain Winery

I’m not exactly sure where I’m going and it seems quite a long ride out into the middle of nowhere.  Finally, I come upon a road veering to the left with a sign for the winery.  It looks like I’m going to reach my destination after all!

the end is in sight!

the end is in sight!

I can see the winery up on a hill quite a way ahead, and I pedal hard to climb the hill, passing by some homes along the way.

through the neighborhood

through the neighborhood

house outside of Nyaungshwe

house outside of Nyaungshwe

The Red Mountain Estate was started in 2002.  The estate was chosen for its special micro-climate, cool nights and sunny days during the fruit cycle.  The goal was to produce high quality wines 100% made in Myanmar and supervised by French and Australian experts.  The vineyard is planted with red varieties such as Syrah, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Carignan, and Malbec.  White varieties are Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Chenin and Colombard.  All vines were imported from France, Spain and Israel, according to a pamphlet from the winery.

I continue up the hill on my bicycle, keeping the winery in sight.

farms and mountains

farms and mountains

The hill gets quite steep as I approach the winery, and I see some people have left bicycles at the bottom of the hill.  I follow suit and lock up my bike beside the others.

vineyards at Red Mountain Winery

vineyards at Red Mountain Winery

Red Mountain Winery

Red Mountain Winery

up the steps to Red Mountain Winery

up the steps to Red Mountain Winery

After walking up to the winery, I go inside, where it’s quite crowded and noisy.  I order a flight of wines and ask for it to be served on the terrace.  It’s a lot quieter, though quite hot, outside.  It has a lazy and relaxed atmosphere.

I sit and enjoy the view and my wine flight.  Since I’m on my own, I take some selfies; they’re from some strange angles. 🙂  Here I enjoy my wine, although I’m a little jealous of the people who are here with friends.  Though most of the time I don’t mind traveling alone, there are times like these when I wish I had a friend along.

Cheers!

Cheers!

my view

my view

tourists relaxing at the winery

tourists relaxing at the winery

happy in Myanmar

happy in Myanmar

I do ask the waiter to take a picture of me, so I do get one decent photo.  I’m feeling pretty good after drinking the whole flight!

me at Red Mountain Estate Winery

me at Red Mountain Estate Winery

After finishing my flight of wines, I also order a glass of Shiraz-Tempranillo accompanied by toast with cheese; it is simply white bread cut into triangles with sliced cheese cut into triangles.  Nothing to write home about, especially after that wonderful pancake I had at Pancake Kingdom.

By this time, I’m feeling pretty relaxed. 🙂  I wander around the vineyard taking some pictures, then walk back down the hill to where I left my bicycle.

vineyards

vineyards

vineyards

vineyards

leaving the vineyard

leaving the vineyard

I unlock my bicycle, take some parting shots of the winery, and hop back on for the long ride back to town.

parting views

parting views

I stop at several spots along the way that are particularly bucolic.

fields along the way

fields along the way

pastoral view

pastoral view

stupa

stupa

pastoral view

pastoral view

construction

construction

When I finally get back to town, I make a stop at Yadana Man Aung Paya, where I find a nice surprise!

Categories: Asia, Myanmar, Nyaungshwe, Red Mountain Estate Vineyards & Winery, Shan State | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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