Inle Lake is a freshwater lake in eastern Myanmar. The village with the hotels and hostels is located in the Nyaungshwe township of the Shan State. It’s a beautiful little town with lovely restaurants.
Unfortunately, my time in Inle coincided with the rains, and I didn’t get to see any sunrises or sunsets on the lake. And since there was no worthwhile sunrise or sunset, I didn’t take the effort to make it to the lake to watch the local fishermen at sunrise – something which is apparently worth checking out at Inle.
I did however go down to the Indein Village, which hosts temples from somewhere between the 12th to 14th centuries. No one knows when exactly, and there’s a debate on who built them as well. To reach the village, you have to travel an hour by boat through the lake itself. There’s farm lands all around, and you can see lots of flowers, rice and whatever else grows in marshy lands.
My problem with Indein though is similar to the one I have with Bagan. There’s restoration work underway, and they are simply replacing the old bricks with newer ones, and sealing them with cement. Some even get painted for a nice polished look, making them look like they were built a few months back, and not hundreds of years ago. A girl from the hostel I was with on the tour to Indein told me about how the place was described in an article she read: beautiful temples, being restored, they’d give an archeologist a heart attack. I agree with those words.
It’s unfortunate, but for what it’s worth, a lot of the original and crumbling stupas still exist, and while they’re a lovely site, they are in desperate need of restoration. I just wish they restored them by reusing the bricks rather than replacing them.
From the many restaurants (all of them were excellent), Innlay Hut Indian Food House was my favourite. It’s run by an Indian origin guy who’s heavily influenced by Eminem. He raps as a part of his normal speech and has the mannerisms of a rapper you’d see in a music video. He calls himself Stan (from the song Stan, obviously), but his real name is Kumar (can it be more Indian?). The restaurant also has Eminem lyrics painted all over its walls, and the entertainment value alone made it a worthwhile visit.