Photo: The delicate process of teasing out lotus threads.

Handicraft villages

Our rating:

Some of the lake’s villages specialise in various handicraft and cottage industries and the workshops form regular stops on most Inle Lake itineraries. Some are indigenous to the lake and others more contrived, but they are on the whole at least traditionally Burmese -- even the contrived ones create work and income for the villagers.





Stops at the villages provide some structure for your tour, and give you a chance to get out of the boat from time to time and stretch your legs in between gaping at the beautiful floating gardens and stilted houses. Most have souvenir stands or even occasionally full-on air-con showrooms, but they are never really a hard sell. Bear in mind that if you stopped at all of them it’d take all day, so which ones are actually interesting enough to stop for?

Hanging the silk out to dry, In Paw Khone Village. Photo taken in or around Handicraft villages, Inle Lake, Burma_myanmar by Mark Ord.

Hanging the silk out to dry, In Paw Khone Village. Photo: Mark Ord

Of course, the bosses rake in the cash and the cheroot workers, for example, are paid a relative pittance -- but that doesn’t only happen in Inle Lake. These tourist sites do provide employment plus many would go on, whether tourists visited or not.

The most controversial workshops are the ones employing Padaung or the so-called ‘long-neck Karen’. The women we’ve talked to, at least, say they are happier to be here than stuck in their remote home villages scraping together a monotonous living with no electricity or running water. The Padaung are not native to Inle. They originated from Kayah State just to the south.

Padaung woman at work weaving in traditional style. Photo taken in or around Handicraft villages, Inle Lake, Burma_myanmar by Mark Ord.

Padaung woman at work weaving in traditional style. Photo: Mark Ord

On a recent visit, the women were fascinated — and taking photos on their own phones — of an Englishwoman in our group who had a pierced tongue. "That must be really uncomfortable — doesn’t it hurt?" asked the Padaung women with several kilograms of brass around their necks. They sell various trinkets, jewellery and fabrics, and of course the deal is that you make a purchase and take a photo. Some speak basic English, or if you have a guide they can translate, so communication needn’t be a problem. Several workshops/handicraft stores are located in the area between Ywama and the start of the In ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


Don’t miss the boat!

Please subscribe to Travelfish.org to read the rest of this article, or log in here.


Subscribing to Travelfish costs A$35 per year and it gets you access to more than 200 downloadable guides to specific destinations, fabulous discount coupons and 50% off our personalised travel planning service. Sign up here.


By .





Start planning your holiday today

Sent every Monday, our newsletter is full of travel advice, news & special deals. Read past issues.

   

Popular attractions in Inle Lake

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Inle Lake.



Best places to stay in Inle Lake

A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Inle Lake.


What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Inle Lake.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Inle Lake.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Inle Lake.
 Read up on how to get to Inle Lake.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Inle Lake? Please read this.
 Browse the web securely while travelling with TunnelBear. Try with a 7–day free trial.


See below for more sights and activities in Inle Lake that are listed on Travelfish.org.


Top of page


Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Inle Lake? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Burma_myanmar.


Top of page