Inle Lake is roughly 20 kilometers long and an outstanding natural and cultural attraction. One of its many unique features is the cultivation of floating gardens where flowers, as well as tomatoes, beans, and cucumbers, grow. Local villages and markets make interesting sightseeing spots, while visitors also enjoy mouth-dropping sunrises and sunsets over the Shan mountains. Every year, on the eve of the full moon day in October, the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda festival is held, which sees the pagoda’s revered Buddha images displayed on the golden Karaweik – a replica of the ancient royal barge – and taken to villages around the lake.
Unlike most other pagoda festivals in Myanmar, which typically run for about three days, the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda festival goes for 18 days and also includes boat races that attract spectators near and far. The races provide exciting additional entertainment and are well worth watching, with separate events held for men and women.
If you visit Inle Lake you should taste the fish called “ Nga Hpein” locally. And a popular local dish is htamin gyin – ‘fermented’ rice kneaded with fish and potato. Hand-made goods for local use and trading are another source of commerce. Typical products include tools, carvings, and other ornamental objects, textiles, and chariot. A local market serves most common shopping needs and is held daily but the location of the event rotates through five different sites around the lake area, thus each of them hosting an itinerant market every fifth day. When held on the lake itself, trading is conducted from small boats. This ‘floating-market’ event tends to emphasize the Traveler.
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