Head to the very southern region of Inle, where very few tourists visit – yet it is one of the most beautiful places in the Shan State, with the mountains forming a backdrop for the small villages and fishermen on the water. Indeed, the area was only opened to tourists in 2003.
The boat journey takes circa 3 hours but is full of fabulous views and home to many unique species of birds, both indigenous and migratory. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride through the channels.
Upon arriving in Sagar area several stops will be made (the order will vary – we need to play this one by ear based on timings and what’s going on locally). The main highlight for many travellers are the ‘sunken’ stupas of Sagar- 108 stupas from the 16-17th centuries that are partially underwater for a few months a year. There is also a local monastery and village that can be visited here.
Continue to the village of Thaya Gone, home to Pa-Oh, Shan and Inthar people and known for its production of local rice wine. Watch the process of distillation and then sample some of the local brew if you wish. In Thaya Gone there is also the chance to climb to the top of a small hill which there are great views of the lake and surrounding villages.
Another stop will be made in Sae Khaung Pottery Village to see the crafting of oil and water pots as well as the natural, underground kilns used by the villagers. On the western shores of the Sagar area is Tar Kaung, a series of more than 200 stupas which also make a fabulous photo stop.
Lunch will be arranged along the way – either a picnic at a small (and simple) restaurant.
You need to start thinking about turning back just after 2pm. Traveling back in the afternoon the light has shifted and the route looks much different on the return, with different activities occurring on the water and in the villages. Rice noodles can be seen drying in the sun, spun cotton is hung out to dry and kids are returning from school at this time of day.
You’ll reach your hotel early in the evening, in time to freshen up and watch the sunset.