Inle Lake is one of Myanmar’s most iconic destinations in the mountains of Shan State, where floating gardens made of woven water hyacinth reeds, silt and bamboo provide a backdrop for graceful, one-
Hauntingly picturesque, Inle Lake lies at an altitude of nearly 3,000 feet, fringed by tall grasses and reed beds, ringed by well-
Moreover, Inle Lake is an official bird sanctuary, rich in wildlife. Its main body is reached along a narrow waterway from the northernmost lakeside town of Nyaungshwe. The boat ride passes waterside temples and villages, and in the less populated stretches, herons stand in solitary contemplation at the water’s edge while cormorants dive for their prey. In the principal part of the lake, there are many islands to visit. Away from these developed areas, a leisurely canoe paddle through channels branching from the lake brings a closer view of the local life, with fascinating encounters and friendly villagers. Heading south from the main body of the lake the traveller passes through another long and narrow waterway to reach the 17th century ruins of Sankar, where Shan and Pa-
The region offers ample trekking opportunities and extended walks to keep the active traveller busy. Trekking out into the Shan hills east of Nyaungshwe, at the lake’s northern end will lead to Pa-
Previously closed to outside visitors, Loikaw is one of the hidden gems of the country and marks the point where the Dawna Range, mighty Salween River and Shan Hills converge. It is the capital of the Kayah State, home to over a dozen ethnic minority tribes whose cultures are very much intact and thriving. The Kayah (Karenni) ethnic group forms the majority, and the territory was named for the bright crimson head wraps and shawls of the Kayinni, or “Red Kayin” people. The town bursts with colour as many ethnic minority groups proudly wear their traditional dress. Another ethnic group, the Padaung people, are known for the circles of thinly pounded brass necklaces used to elongate the necks of the women, though the practice has become less standard in the younger generations. Loikaw also provides ample opportunity to learn about local cottage industries and crafts making. The surrounding areas are perfect for treks and unique explorations in the future when the region opens further.
TOURS & TREKS IN MYANMAR