Let´s be honest, the small village next to Inle Lake called Nyaung Shwe is ugly. Ugly and dirty. You can see that tourism has already changed the whole area, more and more hotels and hostel are about to be build in great haste. Inle Lake itself is a touristic trap. It´s beautiful though, yes, but in the first place it´s a trap. Like every tourist, we booked a boat trip across the river to the villages on the. What we didn´t know: the trip included a lot of stops at fake "ancient craft shops" and expansive restaurants. Riding on the water surface with the long boat was fun anyway, I have to admit that. Especially when the forced shopping tour was done and we went to the temple area. Unfortunately we spent far too much time being carried to stupid shops we didn´t want to see, so there wasn´t enough time left for the temple area. But let´s get back to the temples: really nice and beautiful. These were the first myanmar temples we saw on our trip. Simply impressing. Suddenly the touristic boat tour trap turned into WOW!
So, if you´re ever planning to go to Inle Lake, tell your long boat driver that you don´t want to see the shops, but rather visit the villages on the water and after that go directly to the temples and explore the area around there by yourself. There is so much more to see at Inle Lake than the inside of a shop where you can find products produced just for tourists.
This guy probably hasn´t caught a fish in years. He was just waiting for the tourist boats on his own boat, holding the little fella in front of us for some kyat in reward. I took a picture, he got some money. Both happy :)
This guy was actually really fishing as far as I can tell. No pretending, no acting for the tourists.
Fake fisherman again :)
A real village on the river, not just build for the tourists.
Heavy traffic on the lake around a temple.
The area around the ancient temples at Inle Lake. A lot to see there despite the temples themselves.
When we finally got to this place we felt like "yes that´s the place to be, and the tour has some kind of happy ending"
We saw these stupas on a hill some kilometers away and we didn´t have much time left but we decided to climb up anyway...
The view from the hill was amazing.
"The money is for buddha, just put it into the pot" the boy told us. After we left the stupas the boy went back to the place... probably not for the nice view ;)
On a market in Nyaung Shwe where the things you can buy are really prepared for the locals.
A relaxing temple inside a vast cave some kilometers away from Nyaung Shwe.