By Thiha Lu Lin (Thiha, The Traveller)
Photo : Min Hsann, Thiha Lu Lin
There are some floating houses in the world, like in Inn Lay. Mainly, it is more common in neighbouring countries. I’ve been to places like this before, but I came back with a different feeling than Inn Lay because I suppose that the residents are not friendly like Innthas, they don’t row the boat by foot to catch the fish, and there are no authentic traditional cultures like in Inn Lay.
That is why I love Inn Lay. I am afraid that Inn Lay Lake will disappear. I am terrified that the way of life and culture of the Innthas will change.
Among other things, friendliness could not be matched by even the best neighbours in terms of tourism revenue.
If you smile at an Inntha in Inn Lay, he or she will smile at you friendly. I noticed it from this trip to Inn Lay.
Places to visit in Inn Lay
As Inn Lay can be visited through Nyaungshwe, most people usually stay in Nyaungshwe and visit Inn Lay by boat. It takes quite some time to get to Inn Lay from Nyaungshwe. We need to be more careful if the weather is not okay. The best way to enjoy the true natural beauty of Inn Lay is to stay at the nearest place to the Inn Lay Lake. It also saves time, and we can visit many more places.
Here are some must-see
places in Inn Lay
Phaung Taw Oo Pagoda
Phaung Taw Oo Pagoda was made of sandalwood given by the Sakka to King Alaung Sithu. The King received the wood from the Ogress and made five pieces of Buddha statues. People also say four parts are Buddha statues, and one is an Arhat statue. On the way to bringing the statues to Taung Nyo mountain ranges to be worshipped by the King, the elephants carrying them stopped at Than Taung place. The King, then, built the pagoda at that place.
In 1359, during the reign of Saopha Si Hsai Pha in Nyaungshwe, the villagers found the statues by the time they saw lighting ray while clearing the bushes near the cave. Afterwards, they were brought to the Haw Nan, the palace of the Saopha and worshipped.
In 1515, during the reign of Saopha Sao Nan Phe, the statues were placed to Indein Ywa Ma monastery and taken to the Haw Nan on every 7th day of the Waxing Thadingyut. While doing so on one day, the boat carrying the statues sank due to the strong wind, and only four statues were recovered. The last one was found extraordinarily surrounded by algae in the Gandhakuti Temple. Since then, only four statues were taken around for being paid homage.
When the two previous places were burnt down, the statues were brought here. That is, indeed, a must-visit place in Inn Lay.
Historically renowned Alo Taw Paut Pagoda
This pagoda is also renowned as Alo Taw Pyay Pagoda located in Nan Pan village.
Nga Phe Chaung Monastery
Nga Phe Chaung Monastery, also known as Cat Jump Monastery, still has many cats as before. But after the death of the monk, who used to train the cats to jump, there is no trainer anymore and the monastery has become just a pilgrim site.
Shwe Indein Pagodas
One unique thing about the way to Indein village is that there are narrow paths which allow only one boat to cross, and by the time the boat passes it, it feels like riding a roller coaster. In some parts of the waterway, the path becomes smaller, but some are wide as well. The pagodas are situated near Indein village on the west part of the Shwe U Daung mountain’s foot.
The pagodas can be reached through the passage or by motorbike. Since the government has allowed to renovate or rebuild the pagodas there, you can see many new pagodas. There were altogether 1,054 ancient stupas before the renovation.
Mine Thout Bridge
This bridge is, indeed, a perfect place to watch the sunset. It can be even said as the U Bein Bridge of Inn Lay. During the festival times, the bridge is usually alive with many people and shops.
Boat trip to Inn Villages
It is absolute fun to take a boat trip to the floating villages in Inn Lay as it provides the scenes of the people of Inn Lay, their lifestyle, changing water system of the lake as well as the socio-economy of the residents.
People say Inn Lay was called this name because there were four villages in the lake. One more exciting things about visiting these floating villages is that they have interesting workshops of the beautiful authentic handicrafts. People can thoroughly study the traditional textile and weaving industry where visitors can buy traditional clothes, scarves and longyi as souvenirs. Also, the silversmith in Inn Lay Lake is worth exploring.
Sankar Mway Taw and Tarkhaung Mway Taw
Sankar Mway Taw and Tarkhaung Mway Taw are located near the San Kar lake, just one-hour drive from Inn Lay where the lake is connected with the Inn Lay Lake by Belu creek. For those who go by car will need to retake the boat to get to the pagodas.
Sankar Mway Taw pagodas are also called as Taw Mway Khaung pagoda. When the tide is up, the pagodas can be seen distinctly in the water. When there is no water, people can go around from one pagoda to another and pay homage to them. San Kar place was once alive as a big city with nine monasteries, but there is only one monastery now.
I personally like Tarkhaung Mway very much. The pagoda has been worshiped and expanded for generations from the King Alaung Sithu to Shan Saophas, monks and their people. There are 76 giant stupas, 54 small stupas and 106 pagoda stumps. Some are still standing tall as before, but most are restored in original forms.
It’s significant to know that most of the donors to restore the pagodas there are foreigners. The names of Singaporeans can be seen on the donor records. I suppose they are the donors of the Shwe Kyaung monk.
I will write separately about the visit to San Kar Mway Taw and Tar Khaung Mway Taw.
Riding horse at Inn Lay
One another thing to do when you get to Inn Lay is to learn how to ride a horse. It can be done at Inn Lay Horse Club. You might not want to go home as hotels offer various kinds of services.
If you do not want to go somewhere at Inn Lay, there are many spaces for you to play with your friends or take photos.
I would like to say some pleasant things that I encountered when I stayed at Amata Garden Resort, Inn Lay Lake Hotel. The Amata Garden Resort, Inn Lay Lake Hotel is the closest to Inn Lay Lake, and we can see Alodaw Pauk pagoda. It would be best if you chose these hotels as they are the closest to Alodaw Pauk and Phaung Taw Oo pagodas. It can be reached to Shwe Inn Dein and Sagar in a short time. So, I chose these hotels.
The hotels currently reduce their prices to lure travellers. They offer Inn Lay Lake View Villas. It costs K75,000 (for two persons, including breakfast). The next one is Deluxe that costs K59,000 (for two persons, including breakfast). They offer transport services to the airport and bus stations cheaper than the others. Then, you can pay a visit to Organic Farm free of charge, and you can take photos, ride canoes or paddle boats there. There is a beautiful swimming pool, and you can explore the surrounding areas by renting a bicycle. I visited Maing Thouk bridge by a bike and went to Nampang market to take photos.
The market is open under the health guidelines of the government. So, we can stay at the hotels at low prices. You can enjoy your vacation just in the hotel areas. What I like most is that they have ‘happy hour’. You can enjoy the food or beverages whatever you want as they offer a Buy-1-Get-1 promotion. They reduce the prices of food to 15pc and 20pc for the spa. The photos will prove their services.
Does Inn Lay offer trekking?
Of course, you can make trekking there. It is enjoyable while walking in the fields and village roads. You can get a new feeling from eating food at a hut in the area. The Amata Garden Resort and Inn Lay Lake Hotel create a new spot for those like trekking. The well-experienced local tour guides will take you to near the vicinity areas to enjoy the nature and living styles of the local populace. The tour starts with four persons at least. It will cost K35000 per person, including lunch. It is such a fair price. You can choose your tour destination depending on your walking capacity. I enjoy such tour as it needs to make more efforts than others and I have much experience for trekking. Some are worried about it as they have no experience in trekking before. But now, you can choose the type of tour that you prefer most.
As I mentioned above, the Inn Lay Lake is such a very rare lake in the world, and we should conserve it as a heritage. We need to value it by considering that what would happen if the lake is not in existence any more. Now is the best time to visit Inn Lay Lake to enjoy the most beautiful scene. The water level is high during the rainy season. But, it is a drought this year, and so it is such a good time to pay a visit there. I want the visitors there to choose Amata Garden Resort and Inn Lay Lake Hotel as they offer the best services at low prices. Although I haven’t stayed at there for high prices before, I now stay at these places during the promotion period. It would be best if you did not miss such hotels as you can do many fun activities at the hotels and it also offers trekking series. Don’t miss them when you pay a visit to Inn Lay.
May all you have a safe trip! (Translated by Ei Phyu Phyu Aung and Khine Thazin Han)