Perched at 1,328m above sea level, the Inle Lake is 22km long and 11km wide. Inle is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Shan State.
The lake is covered in floating vegetation and has many houses around it. Popularly known as one-legged rowers, the lake dwellers are called ‘Inthar’ which means ‘people of the lake’. Located around the lake are about 18 villages. The Inthar are Buddhists which explains why there are about a hundred Buddhist monasteries found here besides the large number of small pagodas that are scattered about Inle.
A gift of nature in this region is the floating water hyacinth. Handicrafts such as bags, baskets etc are made from the water hyacinth that is found here in abundance. Besides these they produce vegetables such as tomatoes, beans, cauliflower, cabbage, eggplant, garlic, onion, betel, melon, papaya and banana. Rice is also grown here by some villagers.
Yet another occupation and a major income generator for the Inthars, is fishing. The silk dresses and clothes of Inle are popular among locals as well as foreign visitors. A fascinating product of Inle is the fabulous silverware that is made here.