Interesting Places >> Inle Lake
This vast picturesque lake. 900 metres above sea-level, is one of the main tourist attractions in Myanmar. The lake,22 km long and 10 km across, has a population of some 150,000, many of whom live on floating islands of vegetation. Inlay Lake, natural and unpolluted, is famous for its scenic beauty and the unique leg-rowing of the Inthas, the native lake dwellers.
How to get there
The most convenient way is to fly from Yangon to Heho, which is the nearest airport to the lake. There are daily flights to Heho which take about one hour. The flight from Mandalay to Heho takes only 20 minutes. Travelling by car along the uphill and winding road over the Shan Plateau, taking long hours, is interesting and well-worth taking. There is also a regular train service via Thazi Junction to Heho and Shwenyaung, the nearest station to the Lake.
Where to Stay
There are newly built cottage-style hotels with modern facilities on the Lake and modern-style hotels at Nyaung-shwe, which is the gateway to 1nlay Lake.
What to See
The largest village an the inlay Lake; its streets are a web of canals. There are some beautiful teak houses built on large wooden poles driven into the Lake bed. The main activity and attraction is at the floating market in the largest canal.
Phaung-daw U Pagoda
One of the famous principal shrines Myanmar, this pagoda houses five small Buddha images. Once a year, end Sept.early Oct.,there is a pagoda festival during which the five Buddha images are rowed around the Lake in a colourful barge.
5 Days Market
A large and bustling market where one can find a real local atmosphere with a variety of produce from the lake. Other places of interest in the Lake are Paya Pauk Pagoda, Zakah Village and Nga Phe monastery. The 5-days Market in Inle Region is a popular tourist destination in Myanmar. The five main places where the market is to open are Ywama, Mine Thauk & Phaung Daw Oo, Nan Pan, Pan Thaung and Taung To. The ethnics and the locals near the Inle region collect their home-made products and come to the market to trade and sell. Some travel in boats and some from the land. The 5-days Market is full of local made products.
Around inlay Lake
Taunggyi is situated in the southern Shan State and is the capital town of Shan States. It is 4,712feet above the sea level and has a moderate climate. Also located about 500 kilometers north of Yangon and about 10 kilometers southeast of Mandalay. The capital city of the Shan State, is situated on a high plateau surrounded by high mountains.
It is situated on a high plateau surrounded by high mountains. As Taunggyi lies on a hill region, the atmosphere is conducive to good health especially by means of the salubrious mountain air. It usually rains in Taunggyi from June to November and average annual rainfall is 32.68 inches. To reach Taunggyi you first have to fly to Heho, about 40 kilometers to the West, because the town itself does not boast an airfield.
Taunggyi can be reached by road, rail or air from all parts of the country. The distance between Yangon and Taunggyi is 456 miles and can be reached by road directly. The road to Taunggyi is full of bends and zigzags and, seen from above, resembles a snake. One can have a good view of the surrounding area while travelling along this road. As soon as you enter Taunggyi, the magnificent Sao Sam Htun Hospital can be seen first and further on there are the Taunggyi Department Store, the market, Dhammayon (congregation hall), Agricultural Bank, cinemas and shops and stores, restaurants, churches, Shan State Cultural Museum. Taunggyi Degree College, the golf course and residential buildings.There are pines, cherry and eucalyptus trees growing all over the town and the whole area is green and pleasant. The busiest part of Taunggyi is the Myoma Market, a place where people from the environs used to flock only once every five days to buy and sell their regional products. Now it has become a daily market and is constantly crowded with people. It is also the gathering point of different national races residing in Taunggyi.
In Taunggyi, the capital city of the Shan State, the people celebrate the Tazaungdine festival with Kahtein (offering of monk robes) as well as the releasing up fire-balloons into the sky. Balloons in the shape of elephant, ox, horse, water-buffalo, bird, pig, fish, owl and parrot are released. The Taunggyi festival is the biggest festival in the country. It is attended not only by Taunggyi Citizens but also by people from southern Shan State and many different races. Taungyi's Kahtein tradition is amazing and worthy of reverence.
One of the Asia's largest and most spectacular ancient monuments is a wonderful Pagoda named Kakku. It contains over 2,000 stupas with origins dating back many centuries. Its exists not only as an outstanding example of tradition art and architecture but also as a testament to the religious devotion of one of Myanmar's many ethnic minorities, the Pa-Oh. For many centuries, the Pa-Oh has lived in peace, cultivating their land and devoting much of their energy and limited wealth to creating monasteries and pagodas. Kakku is about 33 miles from Taunggyi. It will take about 3 hours drive by car. Kakku is located in the Shan State. Kakku is in the territory of Pa-Oh people.
There are over 2000 stupas packed closely together in ranks and covering an area perhaps a square kilometer. The main stupa is around 40 meters high, the mass of the spire surrounding it uniformly. But each one is an individual masterpiece. The particular remarkable about the whole site is its good state of preservation. Originally each one must have been topped by a gilded metal hti, the multi tiered umbrella-like feature, which is typical of Myanmar Pagodas. Many of these are tilted on fallen. External rendering of mortar and stucco has crumbled away on others, exposing the brick core while trees have established themselves in a few, threatening to split them apart. But so much of the originals still exist that this site must be free of the destructive force of earthquakes, which have periodically ravaged many of the Myanmar's other monuments.
External decoration on many of the stupas is simple, almost sparse, the builders, having concentrated on pure grace and form for effect, but other features elaborate decoration. Traditional motifs weave intricate patterns of arabesques and stems, to create a delicate tracery of the highest artistic merit.
Even more fascinating are the many figures, carved in stucco and apparently originally brightly painted, which adorn corner or pay silent homage beside the niches in the base, many of which still contain antique Buddha images. Angels, musicians, dancers- all created with consummate skill.
The remoteness of the site and reluctance of the local people allow visitors has helped to preserve its sculptures and artistic treasures to a degree, unknown in other ancient monuments in Myanmar. Kakku is a priceless piece of mankind heritage, a truly splendid example of the creative talent of remarkable people. It will take about 3 hours drive by car.
Kalaw, another hill station, is 1400 metres above sea-level. Many of the Tudor-style houses and English gardens of colonial days remain. It is located 70 km west of Taunggyi.
About 45 km drive from Kalaw is Pindaya, well known for its extensive limestone caves. The caves are set deep in the hillsides and there stands at the entrance, a 15 meter high Shwe U Min Pagoda. There are some 6000 Buddha images and interesting stalagmites.
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