Inn Paw Khon Village cruise on Inle Lake – Myanmar

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Inn Paw Khon Village

Inn Paw Khon Village


The only way to see Inle Lake is by boat. There are two standard tours, which run in the same direction every day to roughly the same timing. As we had a boat to ourselves our driver was happy to accommodate a request that we do the tour in reverse. The same as on Easter Island, this got us most of the places to ourselves, without following a parallel group of boats.

It’s currently the rainy season here, which doesn’t seem to equate to much rain, but the fear of getting wet does drastically reduce the number of other visitors.

Inn Paw Khon Village

Inn Paw Khon Village

Inn Paw Khon Village

We arrived in the stilted village of Inn Paw Khon to find it nearly deserted. The peaceful silence was only broken by the racket from the lawnmower engine strapped to the back of our boat…

I’d hoped for a calm float through a working village, but it seems that tourism has taken over here and any building by the main channel is now a display workshop or a sales outlet.

Lotus root

Lotus root strands, used to weave the best cloth

The first place the driver dropped us off at was a lotus root weavers. Lotus root strands are woven together to make cloth, used to create the traditional longyi.

Lotus root weaving

Lotus root weaving

A longyi is a cloth wrapped round the waist rather like a long skirt, worn by both men and women. It’s ideal in the high temperatures. They’re more regularly made from silk or cotton, with the lotus root version reserved for monks and special occasions. They can also be pulled up to the chest to preserve modesty whilst bathing.

We then visited a foundry. It was obvious they started the whole furnace and bellows contraption just for us, so I felt guilty not buying anything but I don’t really need a cast iron nutcracker.

Thankfully most of the sellers here are still not very pushy, although the same can’t be said of those at Bagan, later in the trip. They have started using weird outdated foreign quips though. Like ‘Asda Price’ or ‘Cheap as Chips’ in Egypt, here it’s ‘Lucky Price’. Every tourist is every seller’s first customer of the day, so they offer them the lucky price.  Whether you buy or not, you can hear over your shoulder ‘You’re my first customer – lucky price for you!’

Inle Lake Boat Builder

Inle Lake Boat Builders

The next stop was a shipwrights, although that might be overstating it. These guys built the long boats used by the leg-rowing fisherman.

“A boat is only $2000 for you – lucky price!”

The last shop of the day was a cigar factory. Our boat driver was undoubtedly on some sort of commission from all the shops he stopped at, so taking two non-smokers to a tobacco shop was a bit of a waste of all our time.

Phaung Daw Oo Paya

Phaung Daw Oo Paya, viewed from the approaching boat

Phaung Daw Oo Paya

Just outside InnPawKhon is the Phaung Daw Oo Paya Monastery. This most holy place on the lake is home to five statues of Buddha. They are recoated daily with fresh gold leaf and four occasionally taken out and paraded round the different villages.

Phaung Daw Oo Paya statues

Women are not allowed to approach the statues at Phaung Daw Oo Paya

An elderly lady somehow confused me into buying some suspiciously brown looking gold leaf, to add to the Buddha. I was a little wary of sticking a dirty brown square to the shiny yellow Buddha in front of a group of worshippers, so left it in my pocket.

Jumping Cat Monastery

Jumping Cat Monastery

Nga Hpe Chaung (Jumping Cat Monastery)

A little way round the lake from Innpawkhon village is a wooden monastery on stilts, famed for its jumping cats…

I’m not sure how this came about – I guess monks get as bored as anyone else. Unfortunately we arrived at lunchtime when the cats were more interested in eating than jumping through hoops.

Cats at Jumping Cat Monastery

Non-airborne cats

Monk in a doorway

Monk at Nga Hpe Chaung

Still, it’s a pleasant enough monastery housing rows of Buddha statues in both the Burmese and Tibetan style.

InnPawKhon ‘Full Day’ Tour

The full day tour started at 8am and was over by around 1pm. I’m not sure if we were particularly fast, or the ‘full-day’ is a bit of marketing, but having the afternoon free we went with him back to Nyaungshwe for a late lunch.
By now the sun was at full power and I could see how all the people we’d marvelled at the previous day had managed to get so sunburnt after just a few hours on the lake.

The standard tour was interesting, is a little too commercial. The following day we went on ‘the special cruise’…

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16 Responses to Inn Paw Khon Village cruise on Inle Lake – Myanmar

  1. wandering educators August 14, 2012 at 10:30 am #

    i had no idea you could make fabric from the lotus root. i’m still fixating on that!

    • steve August 14, 2012 at 10:34 am #

      It also tastes delicious when full grown

  2. Terry at Overnight New York August 15, 2012 at 2:14 am #

    The houses on stilts are fascinating — and obviously there for a reason. It’s like Myanmar’s Venice.

  3. Micki August 16, 2012 at 6:56 am #

    This is exactly the kind of adventure I’ve been craving for a while. A boat ride through Myanmar sounds wonderful.

  4. D.J. - The World of Deej August 17, 2012 at 3:11 am #

    Lucky price…not sure why I find that so funny… Great stuff.

  5. LeX August 18, 2012 at 5:19 am #

    Very interesting about Lotus root strands! and the jumping cat is quite funny!.. :D

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Dr. Jessica Voigts (@WanderingEds) - August 14, 2012

    did you know you can make fabric from lotus root? thx, @SteveWBT in #Myanmar… http://t.co/MR7oFJz8

  2. Escaping Abroad (@EscapingAbroad) - August 14, 2012

    Inn Paw Khon Village cruise on Inle Lake, Myanmar http://t.co/TAdDFRAC #travel #myanmar #asia

  3. Lisa Niver Rajna (@wesaidgotravel) - August 14, 2012

    Inn Paw Khon Village cruise on Inle Lake – Myanmar http://t.co/TM2awxJh via @SteveWBT

  4. @Marilyn_Res - August 14, 2012

    RT @WanderingEds: Did you know you can make fabric from lotus root? In #Myanmar: http://t.co/elJIPcVu via @SteveWBT

  5. @HotelreviewsNYC - August 15, 2012

    A fascinating look at a place that’s still relatively obscure: Inn Paw Khon Village – Myanmar – http://t.co/qsgG4ShT via @SteveWBT

  6. @Archergal - August 15, 2012

    RT @Marilyn_Res: RT @WanderingEds: Did you know you can make fabric from lotus root? In #Myanmar: http://t.co/elJIPcVu via @SteveWBT

  7. Micki & Charles (@BarefootNomads) - August 16, 2012

    Interesting Read! Inn Paw Khon Village cruise on Inle Lake – Myanmar – http://t.co/qdzhqShf via @SteveWBT

  8. Adam (@travelsofadam) - August 16, 2012

    Inn Paw Khon Village cruise on Inle Lake in Myanmar by @SteveWBT http://t.co/g6dJRCWQ

  9. Need a Little Inspiration? 10 Great Travel Reads We Love | The Barefoot Nomad - November 14, 2012

    [...] Myanmar (formerly Burma) is just opening to tourism, and Steve from You’re Not From Around Here, Are You? gives us a in depth tour of the stilt houses on Inle Lake in Myanmar. [...]

  10. Need a Little Inspiration? 10 Great Travel Reads We Love | Dev Site for The Barefoot Nomad - November 16, 2012

    [...] Myanmar (formerly Burma) is just opening to tourism, and Steve from You’re Not From Around Here, Are You? gives us a in depth tour of the stilt houses on Inle Lake in Myanmar. [...]

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