Everyone who visits Myanmar, makes a stop at this massive lake at some point during their trip, and for a reason. The magnificent lake stretches over 22 km long and 10km wide and is surrounded by numerous floating little villages, home to over 70,000 local tribe people who literally live on the lake.
We were coming from a 2 day hike with a night slept on the floor so we decided to treat ourselves to a beautiful hotel on the lake – it was like arriving in heaven! Spectacular views on the lake, infinity pool, amazing restaurant… We loved it so much that we stayed three full days here.
What to do?
Kayak trip on the lake
Fully re-energized, we decided to rent some kayaks the next day and paddle to a nearby floating village – yes people still actually live here in houses on stilts on the water with floating gardens, floating markets and even a floating school! We have no words to describe the faces of the children when they saw these tourists in swimsuits arriving in shiny white kayaks next to the schoolyard! Whilst paddling through their backyards, we were wondering why these lake tribes did not decide to move to the mainland, but we realised they seemed so happy here and they have all they need! We saw floating tomato gardens, floating squash, floating rice fields.. an abundance of food we hadn’t seen anywhere else in the country.
Visit to traditional villages by boat
We also visited some larger villages by motorboat, where numerous handicrafts are still being exercised like silk and lotus weaving and silver carving. Needless to say who was their number one victim when we ended up in their shops. Whilst navigating from one village to another we also encountered the famous leg rowing fishermen, who manage to hold their paddle with one leg (whilst standing on the other one), and using both hands to pull up nets. It looked more like a dance show than actually fishing! They were forced to acquire this method of fishing because of the high waterplants who block their view.
Watch sunset on the lake
At down we returned to our hotel to watch the spectacular sunset on the lake with glowing red Shan mountains on the horizon. One night we were even treated to a tropical rainstorm whilst returning from a restaurant to the hotel. We’ve rarely encountered a rainfall so fierce and so strong, with rolling thunder and constant white flashes over our heads… and we were outside with nowhere to hide! We made it back safe, and like many tropical thunderstorms, it disappeared quickly, making space for the sound of crickets and the frogs. Myanmar keeps surprising us!
Where to sleep?
- Amata Garden Resort – a little oasis of luxury on the lake, with a pool offering spectacular views on the lake. Amazing price quality!