A shallow 13.5-mile lake in the center of the country of Myanmar is a melting pot of traditions, culture, communities, and ecology. This peaceful freshwater lake is surrounded by mountains and gorgeous views. Inle Lake (အင်းလေးကန်) region is one of Myanmar’s trendiest destinations, and all the hype is warranted.

Inle lake consists of four cities and multiple small villages that surround the wetland. Most of the 70,000 people that call this lake their home live along the shores or on the lake itself. Many homes on the lake stand on wooden and bamboo stilts and are surrounded by floating farms. The population mostly consist of Intha, which are a Tibeto-Burman ethnic group. “In” actually stands for lake and “tha” translates to people in Burmese. Other ethnic groups like Shan, Pa-O, and Danu reside in the area. What makes Inle Lake so unique is the way of life. From their silversmithing techniques to their unique fishing style, Inle lake is sure to keep you entertained and curious to learn more about the traditions. One of the most iconic and mesmerizing aspects of Inle lake is the human flamingo’s gracefully fishing on the edge of their small wooden boats.


Photo by Michael Schulz

The lake people have a talent no other fishermen in the world have, a skill that is unique to this region in Myanmar. The Intha’s form of fishing is truly an art form that requires balance, strength, agility, and patience. Skillfully maneuvering their tiny wooden boats by rowing with one leg is a tradition that has been passed down for many generations. Some say that this technique dates back to the 12th century. It takes years of training to be able to control the pressure of the free leg, while the other leg steers and slows down the boat using the oar. Standing on the edge of their boats gives them an elevated view to spot thick weeds where fish hide. When they witness spates of bubbles coming up to the surface they know it is a good position to cast their large nets.

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