In a nation with more than 100 ethnic groups, exploring Myanmar, also known as Burma, can often feel like you’ve stumbled into a living edition of the National Geographic, c 1910! For all the momentous recent changes, Myanmar remains at heart a rural nation of traditional values.
Everywhere, you’ll encounter men wearing skirt-like longyi, both genders smothered in thanakha (traditional make-up) and betel-chewing grannies with mouths full of blood-red juice. People still get around in trishaws and, in rural areas, horse and cart. Drinking tea – a British colonial affectation – is enthusiastically embraced in thousands of traditional teahouses.
The Inle Lake Region is one of Myanmar’s most anticipated destinations and all the hype is justified. Picture a vast, serene lake – 13.5 miles long and seven miles wide – fringed by marshes and floating gardens, where stilt-house villages and Buddhist temples rise above the water, and Intha fisherfolk propel their boats along via their unique technique of leg-rowing.
Surrounding the lake are hills that are home to myriad minorities: Shan, Pa-O, Taung Yo, Danu, Kayah and Danaw, who descend from their villages for markets that hopscotch around the towns of the region on a five-day cycle.
Nyaungshwe is the accommodation and transport hub of the region. It’s a scrappy place, but once you’ve experienced the watery world that sits right by it and explored the environs of Inle Lake, that won’t matter. Few people leave here disappointed with what they’ve seen and done.
Floating villages and gardens in Inle lake – Myanmar. 2016
Shot with DJI Mavic.
Aerial Photography & Videography: Dimitar Karanikolov
Music: CloZee – Koto