This month Myanmar is celebrating the graceful Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival on Inle Lake.
On any other day of the year, the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda in Ywama houses five golden Buddha statues. Over the years, the statues have been smothered with so many gold leaves that they look more like golden snowmen. Locals flock here, one of the holiest sites in the area, to pay their respects to Buddha and these holy five.
But for three special weeks in October (sometimes starting in September), four of the statues embark a gold-laden boat modeled on a royal barge. The beautiful Inle Lake transforms into a gentle dancing floor for the gliding boats. At the head of the boats, dozens of leg-rowers clutch their huge paddles to their calves, stepping in synch as the boat shimmers over the waters.
Villages from nearby hill tribes flock to the shoreline to join the festivities. Dynamic boat races and traditional Shan dances grip their attention. The ceremonial boats are rowed from 14 villages around the lake–so travelers should try to time a village stay with a night stop.
The area of Inle Lake is peaceful, famed for its pagodas and ancient ruins. This is water country, full of twisting canals, floating gardens, houses built on stilts. A famous icon is the Inle Heritage House, a local feline sanctuary for Burmese Cats. Visitors can also check out a floating market, handicraft workshops and a monastery. Definitely worth a stop on any Southeast Itinerary!
Our Agents at Willamette Intl Travel have sent numerous clients to Southeast Asia. The country of Myanmar is still blossoming, having opened its borders just a few years ago. We would love to set up a magical visit to Myanmar for you and your loved ones. Our established contacts and guides work hard to ensure you have the best vacation. Do give us a call at 503-224-0180 or email@example.com.
Images provided in part by our friends and SE Asia experts, Vexplore Tours.