Lake Inle - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Lake Inle

Lake Inle

Inle Lake, beautifully located at the base of steep green hills, is remarkable because of its inhabitants. Thousands of people live around the lake but, most impressively, many live on it. Whole villages rest on stilts surrounded by water, rather like a bamboo and teakVenice where men steer rowing boats through water roads. The men have adapted a unique way to row, wrapping one leg around an oar and standing with the other, their hands are often busy fishing.

Tourists can hire a boat and driver to lead them through floating markets and workshops making silks, cigars (cheroots) and jewellery. An impressive wooden temple is also able to be visited; the months are famous for having trained cats to jump through hoops and perform tricks.

Visitors first arrive to the town of Nyaugshwe to a host of river side guesthouses and restaurants. Boat hire can be done through hotels or independently at the town's river. Expensive hotels on the lake can be booked before hand. Depending on season the town can flood making the experience of living on water a little more practical than it first seemed.

Information & Facts

Burmese is the official language, yet English is widely spoken and understood. Burmese's alphabet is made up of circular and semi-circular characters. Other languages spoken are Karen, Shan and Kachin.

The official currency is the Kyat (MMK) pronounced 'Chat'. The best currency to travel on in Myanmar is the US Dollar. The Foreign Exchange Certificate (FEC) is a legal currency for visiting tourists that is usable in government shops and hotels. It is no longer a requirement to convert US$200 into FEC upon arrival in Myanmar. One FEC is equivalent to one US Dollar. It is recommended to use US Dollars. It is difficult to cash American Express travellers cheques in certain cities, such as Mandalay, and even when it is possible the commission can be as high as 10 percent. US Dollar notes will not be accepted if they are damaged or torn in any way, or have pen marks on them. There is a big difference between the official and unofficial exchange rates; street moneychangers offer favourable rates at hotels and Scott Market. As a rough guide, the black market rate is in the region of US$1 = MMK 1000 - a dramatic difference when compared to the official government rate. Very few major hotels, airlines, shops and restaurants accept credit cards and ATM cards can rarely, if ever, be used. It is advisable to carry cash. Banks are closed on weekends.

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