Meet Locals in Inle Lake – Travel tips
Inle Lake is a highlight of many tourists’ Myanmar holiday- and for good reason. Laid back, lovely nature and a unique culture of living on the water. Yet perhaps because of accessibility on the water, it is also one of the hardest places to get away from the tourist trail. Yet it is still possible and here we highlight our favorite places for local interaction in and around the lake:
Khaung Daine Village:
Situated on the northeast of the lake, the village of Khaung Daine is known locally for its fabulous chickpea-based products. Since it is accessible by boat and land it is also an easy stop for visitors looking for something different to see. Take a short walk around the village and see local families making tofu, fried fritters and other tasty treats from chickpeas. The people of Khaung Daine are proud of their creations and happy to show visitors the processes step by step.
Nyaung Shwe Canal:
Passenger boats for Inle Lake leave from the Nyaung Shwe jetty where the canal runs north to south. Just around the corner is the trading canal used by farmers to bring their produce from the lake to the shore. Early in the morning and late in the afternoon, the canal is buzzing with activity. Boats laden with tomatoes, cucumbers or other fresh-from-the-garden items are unloaded and transported by truck or trishaw to warehouses where they will then be packaged to distributed throughout the country. It is amazing to see the amount of produce arrive each morning from the lake and a fun place to meet unassuming locals.
Roller Skate Park: Nyaung Shwe lacks the shopping malls and cinemas of larger towns like Yangon or Mandalay or even Taunggyi up the road. So when youth want to have a fun night out they head to the skate park. Although located in the centre of town, it is easy to miss as the park is quite small compared to western venues. The concrete floor has a few simple ramps and rails, booming speakers playing Myanmar pop and hip-hop and reasonably priced skates for rent. A visit to the skate park is sure to be a unique experience for the foreign traveler!
Daw Nyunt Yee and 58 Barbecue:
Inle Lake is a popular destination for local travelers and, as with many holidays, they look forward to their meals as much as they do the sightseeing. Two restaurants in Nyaung Shwe have gained a following of local travelers. Daw Nyunt Yee is located near the boat jetty and despite its unassuming appearance is extremely popular for its ‘reddish pork curry’. Frequently out of town visitors will order take-away to take to their friends and their families back home. 58 Barbeque is equally popular for its cheap beer and fresh barbque. Both places tend to be busy early in the evening and closing down by 9pm so go early to mix with the locals!