Any Inle Lake visit will include stops at some of the numerous and still largely traditional their special fishing villages. Last but not least, this is probably an appropriate spot to mention the unique style used by Inle Lake’s fishermen. The Intha fishermen in their long thin wooden craft wrap one leg around the oar to propel, keeping both hands free to use their conical nets. It’s one of Burma’s most iconic images.
Though serious fishermen may not appreciate the wash or distraction of a boatload of camera-wielding foreigners rocking up to see them, some showmen hang around at the head of the lake, where the channel from Nyaung Shwe township arrives. Think of them as buskers; they’ll do rowing and fishing demonstrations to satisfy your photography needs in exchange for a little cash tossed into a hat handed round at the end, a win-win for everyone.
These guys traditional Intha gear – baggy beige trousers and bamboo hats — and some put on truly awesome demonstrations when fishing. The grace and balance of the best ones is just phenomenal and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to describe it as aquatic ballet. Get out early to catch the keen ones before any other boats arrive and the light is good.