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Myanmar's Floating Market on Magnificent Inle Lake

It's hard for most curious travelers to bypass a colorful local market.  These are one of the better places to mingle with locals, discover more about the cultures and traditions of the destination, sample the local food and drink, and enjoy the sights and sounds that burst magnificently to life in full color at these public institutions.  In the Shan Hills of Myanmar, however, it's impossible to forgo the unique "floating market" on Myanmar's freshwater Inle Lake. 

Like many lakeside communities, Inle Lake district seems almost a separate country, with its own unique customs, traditions, and culture.  Visiting the picturesque villages clustered around the 44 square mile lake's shores offers something for everyone, from hill trekking to hot air ballooning, and even wine tasting at one of Myanmar's two vineyards.  But for most visitors, the floating market remains the region's best calling card. 

The market "floats" in two senses: vendors ply their wares from their signature flat longboats, immediately recognizable from their noisy outboard motors.  Goods on sale range from fresh produce and other household essentials for the locals to the region's high-quality lacquer and silverware, silk and cotton textiles, exquisite pottery and ceramics and unique cheroots in colorful boxes for the tourist.  The market also "floats" by rotating around five different venues dotted along the shores of the lake: Nyaungshwe, Heho, Taunggyi, Minethauk, and Shwenyaung.

The Inle longboats are also used by Inle's fishermen who practice a form of rowing/paddling that is unique to the lake and one of the biggest attractions of the district.  Perching on the bow of their boats, they wrap one leg around the oar and use this, rather than their arms to row the boat.  When fishing, they use their oar leg to plunge bamboo nets underwater, pulling them up sharply when fish stray into the nets. 

The shores of the lake are dotted with the region's picturesque over-the-water bungalows perched on high stilts, which are home to some of Myanmar's most innovative restaurants.  These are a perfect place to sit back, relax, and enjoy the magnificent views of the lake with its floating markets, gardens, and the plethora of rare birds, for whom the hyacinth-strewn lake is a popular breeding ground.  

Myanmar is emerging as a fascinating new destination for discerning travelers.  Speak to Alexander + Roberts's knowledgable reservation agents about planning your visit to this vibrant country on our Private Tour of Myanmar, an independent journey with departures any day to suit your schedule.

Posted: 10/7/2016 10:12:45 AM by Alexander + Roberts