Inle Lake is the second largest, freshwater lake in Myanmar. The lake is 13.5 miles long and about 7 miles wide but when one is on it, it appears to be seamless.
What’s most amazing about Inle Lake are the people who live on it. The lake supports a population of close to 80,000 people. The people of the lake are called the Intha people or ‘sons of the lake’ who live in numerous villages on the lake.
Their homes are simply built over the water on stilts with wood and bamboo. Most of the Intha people depend on fishing and farming for their livelihood. It is amazing to see everything from homes, schools, hospitals, post offices and so on – everything is built on the lake.
Most transportation for the Inthas is by boat. Farming is one of their mainstays, especially tomato farming. The Intha people create floating garden beds on the lake which are created by weeds collected from the lake bed which are supported by bamboo poles.
The Intha men are famous for their distinctive leg rowing style where they stand on the tip of their boat, wrap one leg around the oar and row with that leg whilst leaving their hands free to use for fishing and navigation.
Getting around on the lake is all by boats. There are a few restaurants on the lake with more coming up as tourism increases.
Here is what restaurant row in Inle looks like: