Inle Lake is one of the most spectacular Burmese highlights. In the middle of central highlands there is a flat plateau and 22 km long and 11 km wide Lake Inle. The plateau surrounded by mountains has extremely fruitful land, so itís highly inhabited by Intha Tibetan-Burmese ethnic. They have their own language, archaic Burmese dialect. They are mostly Buddhists. Nowadays there are about 70,000 people living along the Lake Inle.
The life around the Lake Inle is spread around in 17 villages located both on waterside and small islands. The only transportation is possible by boats, mostly small wooden rowing-boats, but as the living standard is increasing many boats are now metal with an engine. The paddling has a strong tradition here; the local people developed a special style to paddle by the leg, standing at the back of the boat. They are pretty proud of it so itís still used very often. Itís strange style, but it brings some advantages as well. Passing the whole lake is quite hard activity and the force in a leg is higher so way is faster as well. Other than that, standing they have better view where is higher concentrate of water hyacinths and therefore itís better to get round such places. Finally, fishermen have a better view to decide where to start fishing, and have both hands free to manipulate with fish traps.
Lake water is not deep, and itís full of water plants. The villagers use the shallow waters for their fields to grow rice and vegetable, one of the favorite plant are tomatoes. Most of the locals are fisherman, the remaining time spending on the fields. When the season has changed, they are working as silversmith or making ceramics. Women are usually making traditional weave cloth and colorful Shan bags. Villages are hosting big markets where the lake inhabitants are trading goods with mountain tribes living around.
Lake Inle is the second largest lake in Myanmar with an estimated surface area of 44.9 sq miles, and one of the highest at an altitude of 2900 feet. Inle Lake is in the heart of Shan State, about 400 km north of capital Yangon.