Inle and Around
There is a unique way of life that exists on Inle, a serene, freshwater lake situated in the middle of Shan State. The locals, referred to as the Inthars, live on floating villages, grow vegetation on mobile, suspending gardens and travel like only Inthars do best...as one legged rowers. Ywama is one of many such villages where you can observe the unparalleled Inle culture. This includes teak homes built into the lake bed, floating markets, production of water hyacinths, their floating house of worship, Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, and during festival season, the prominent leg rower's race. A local market called 5 days 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 a market every fifth day. Here is the link on our facebook showing the rotation according to dates for year 2014. : https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.647184142026530.1073741835.319579101453704&type=3
Hsipaw, one of the Shan plateau's best kept secret, is beginning to be discovered for the travel destination it is. This scenic town located an hour away from Pyin U Lwin, has much to offer. When it comes to action, there are trekking and cycling through its charming countryside. You can also simmer in its natural hot spring or mountain bike to the Nam Hu Nwe waterfall and take a dip in its pool. End the day by climbing up the Five Buddha Hill to delight in the amazing sunset view.
Along Nong Long lake is the picturesque town of Kyaing Tong, an ancient walled city that is inhabited to this day by the Shan, the Khun, and the Thai Lue people. Pa Leng gate is all that remains of the mighty fortress that once stood there. Apart from its gorgeous lakes, you will find its terraced, green valleys of rice fields to be a true photographer's treat. You can also enjoy the variety of colorful garments and dynamic dances of its plethora of ethnic groups that reside there such as the Loi, Akha, and the Eng when trekking into its unspoiled villages.
Kalaw, once a hill station for the British, is quickly becoming a popular haven for trekkers. Located 1300 meters above sea level, it's no wonder why its breathtaking mountainous backdrop with pine forests, cool weather, and colorful ethnic mix are drawing in visitors. Take your taste buds on an adventure and try native dishes of its Indian and Nepalese community with a distinct Myanmar twist. Travel to Kalaw hills, visit its tea plantations, and witness the village life of rarely seen hilltribes such as the Padaung, Danu, and PaO.
In Pindaya, you will find the main attraction here to be its enchanting limestone caves. Within the labyrinth like passages of the caves dwell thousands of Buddha figures made of various material such as teak, marble, lacquer, and cement mounted by devotees across time since the 11th century. Walk or for some of the smaller caves crawl through to visit the tranquil chambers which have become the idyllic place for meditation by monks and hermits alike