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Sagar on the banks of the Beluo Chaung, Inle Lake, Burma

Sagar on the banks of the Beluo Chaung River, Burma.

Sagar, originally part of the Shan state once ruled by the Sabwas people, ruthlessly eliminated by the Burmese military dictator Ne Win  who took power not long after the end of the second world war and is largely responsible for the destruction of Burma. The village itself is now little more than a crumbling, yet friendly, place reached by boat from Nyaung Shwe and taking around two and a half to 3 hours to reach. It is nonetheless a fascinating and worthwhile place to visit.

Sagar on the banks of the Beluo Chaung river, Burma (1)
 Sagar on the banks of the Beluo Chaung river, Burma (5)
Sagar on the banks of the Beluo Chaung river, Burma (2)
 A recently restored Stupa, restoration in Burma favours restoring to what the Stupa would have looked like when first constructed.
Sagar on the banks of the Beluo Chaung river, Burma (4)
Sagar on the banks of the Beluo Chaung river, Burma (7)
 Oxen are still very much a regular feature of the Burmese landscape, here pictured on the way home from a days work. These animals are very well looked after by the farmer.
Sagar on the banks of the Beluo Chaung river, Burma (9)
The local convenience store.

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Asia Myanmar

Indein, Inle Lake, Burma

Indein Stupas

Just a few pictures here. What struck, and a sight oft repeated throughout Burma, is the coexistence of world heritage sites and daily lives. These are not places of museum set in aspic but very much an integral part of the local lived in landscape.

 

Indein The Stupas Inle Lake Burma by David Keegan 2015 (1)

Indein The Stupas Inle Lake Burma by David Keegan 2015 (2)

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Asia Myanmar

The Fishermen of Inle Lake, Burma

Fishermen of Inle Lake (post 4 of 7)

Inle, or Intha, is the second largest lake in Myanmar It is listed in the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves, being added to the list in 2015.  The lake is also home to over twenty species of snails and nine species of fish that are unique to the lake, not being found anywhere else in the world.  Local fishermen are known for practicing a distinctive rowing style which involves standing at the stern on one leg and wrapping the other leg around the oar. This unique style evolved as the lake is being covered by reeds and floating plants made it difficult to see above them while sitting. Standing provides the rower with a view beyond the reeds.  It is also now one of the major tourist draws on the Lake.  A number of fishermen have taken to exploiting this by hanging around the entrance to the lake posing for dollars rather than actually fishing. This has given the fishermen and the lakes a bad name with some and is in danger of destroying the authenticity of the lakes in general. Travel further into the lakes and you can witness fishermen fishing in this traditional style for real and without the request for dollars. Yopu will also witness another popular techniques requring the fishermen to work in teams. This involves one hitting/slapping the water  the water and therby driving the fish into nets held by the others. Whatever the technique there is a grace and poise to these mens movements as they go about their fishing. All of my featured pictures in this blog post were taken without payment, and are of fishermen genuinely going about their business of fishing. The best time of the year to visit is during September and October

 

The Fishermen of Inle Lake, Burma by David Keegan 2015 (1)

The Fishermen of Inle Lake, Burma by David Keegan 2015 (2)

The Fishermen of Inle Lake, Burma by David Keegan 2015 (3)

The Fishermen of Inle Lake, Burma by David Keegan 2015 (4)

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Asia Myanmar

Nyaung Shwe, Inle Lake, Burma

Leaving Rangoon for Nyaung Shwe

Leaving Yangon on an overnight bus we begin the long and arduous journey to Inle Lake. We travel on the VIP express bus (JJ Express) which has a seat configuration of what is known as 2+1, basically means 3 seats to a line, so much bigger seats and a lot more comfortable than a standard bus. I bought tickets for this in advance from ticket agent in Rangoon and all went without hitch. They were very communicative and professional in their dealings. You can find them at this linkhttp://myanmarbusticket.com/   The bus station itself is a good hour’s taxi ride outside the center of Rangoon but can take a lot longer depending on time of day and traffic. If you need a driver in Rangoon then I can heartily recommend a chap called San a wonderful chap with a winning smile great local knowledge and very reliable. I only have his email address but I found him very responsive via email:  rememberme116@gmail.com

The bus station, a noisy, crowded, chaotic and hectic place in itself. As for the bus journey I would love to be able to say this is a great way to travel, and it might well be if it wasn’t for the bus operator’s insistence on having the air con turned to artic cold conditions. I seriously mean it’s so cold even the provided blanket will struggle to keep you warm, moral of the story if you intend to catch the bus bring warm clothes. But hey it’s a lot cheaper than the overpriced internal flights, and given the travel is overnight means you are not wasting a day on travel. Our destination for discovering Inle Lake will be Nyaung Shwe where we will stay for our 5 day stay in Inle. We stayed in Princess Garden Hotel which cannot be booked online,  but you can book directly via email. princessgardenhotel@gmail.com

To read more about this place check out the reviews on trip advisor

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Review-g303662-d1896917-Reviews-Princess_Garden_Hotel-Nyaungshwe_Shan_State.html#REVIEWS

The only other downside of the bus is arriving in Nyaung Shwe at 5 am in the morning meaning a 6 hour wait before we could check in as all the chalets were fully booked

 

Nyaung Shwe, Inle Lake (post 3 of 7).

Pictures post 1 (3) Nyaung Shwe, Burma By David Keegan

Bustling main street

Pictures post 1 (1) Nyaung Shwe, Burma By David Keegan

If you are taking a boat trip on the lake (of course you are, otherwise why are you here) you will most likely board at one of these jetty’s but this is also a working lake as the picture shows so you will most likely share it with locals as they go about their daily business.

 

The Market

The market moves to a different location every week, being held in Nyaung Shwe once a month. If you are fortunate enough to be in town for market day its well worth a visit and is the perfect opportunity to mingle with the locals as they do their shopping.

Pictures post 1 (2) Nyaung Shwe, Burma By David Keegan

Pictures post 1 (5) Nyaung Shwe, Burma By David Keegan

The Tea Seller

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Asia Myanmar

Inle Lake Burma, The Floating Gardens.

Floating Gardens, Inle Lake (post 2 of 7).

Inle Lake Burma The Floating Gardens (1) By David Keegan

Father and son with boat full of weeds collected from the bottom of the lake which will be used to form part of their floating garden. These gardens are not only spectacular they are truly amazing in their ingenuity. No visit to Inle lake would be complete without a trip to see the floating gardens. Most hotels and guest houses can arrange, or help to find, a suitable boat trip. Top tip go as early as possible in the morning to avoid the midday crowds!

Inle Lake Burma The Floating Gardens (2) By David Keegan

Inle Lake Burma The Floating Gardens (3) By David Keegan

Inle Lake Burma The Floating Gardens (4) By David Keegan

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Asia Myanmar

Life on the Lakes, Inle Lake, Myanmar in Pictures and a few words.

The people and place Inle Lake Myanmar (Part 1 of 7)

Inle Lake shimmering in the early morning sunlight like some precious ghostly jewel. It is a place like no other with its crystal clear and icy calm waters, it fishermen, along with its many lake side towns, pagodas and stupas. I have read some really inane comments on Trip Advisor, some suggesting that Inle is nothing special and is just like many other lakes around the world, the other that the one legged fishermen don’t really fish that way anymore and its now a tourist gimmick. Well they are both wrong. This is not Disneyland, or a circus, its magical place that was closed to the outside world for many many years. Yes there are those who will perform for the tourist dollar, but the fishermen of Inle still fish in the traditional manner, you just have to venture onto the lake proper early in the morning to see them and not just stop at the mouth of the lake. Life is very much lived on and around the lake with its floating gardens, fishermen and the continuous too and fro of boats carrying an array of cargo and people .This is one on the most magical and unique landscapes on earth so  if you are going to travel half way around the globe to see it use a bit of common sense, do some research to get the most from your trip. Chances are you will only ever visit this place once in a lifetime so give it the attention, time and respect it deserves and you will be richly rewarded. I would put it at the top of my top five places i have visited in the world, in fact it is most out of this world, glowing as it does in another worldly silvery light. Enjoy and go soon as i cannot imagine it will stay as untainted by the outside world for much longer now that Myanmar is opening up to the outside world. How long before the big hotels spoil the whole place?

Inle Lake Burma Life along the lakes by David Keegan 2015 (3)

Inle Lake Burma Life along the lakes by David Keegan 2015 (4)

Inle Lake Burma Life along the lakes by David Keegan 2015 (6)

Inle Lake Burma Life along the lakes by David Keegan 2015 (7)

Inle Lake Burma Life along the lakes by David Keegan 2015 (8)

Inle Lake Burma Life along the lakes by David Keegan 2015 (9)

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Asia Myanmar

Post 2 Street-life, Rangoon (Yangon), Burma, (Myanmar)

Street life and people of Rangoon Burma pictures b(2)Rangoon People & Place

Burma, when I think of Burma it is in its historical context and its recent and long closure to the outside world.

Burma colonised by the British in 1886 was only fully freed in 1948 from both Japanese and British occupation and rule. What should have presented a golden opportunity under the leadership of Aung Sang quickly turned to a period of chaos and uncertainty with his assassination, followed by ten years of unsteady rule, culminating in military takeover over and dictatorship which lasts even to this present day. Slowly this situation is changing with the release from house arrest of the figurehead for democracy and freedom from military dictatorship and oppression, Aung Sang Suu Kyi.

Rangoon formerly the capital of Burma is today a melting pot of peoples and cultures, all joined together in this chaotic, colorful, busy city, and seemingly living peacefully side by side. It is also a city of great neglect and poverty. It has the look of a crumbling worn out place that is slowly falling to the ground. That’s still part of it charm for the visitor but chain for the indigenous population. It is fast opening up to visitors and overseas investment is starting to flow into the city and the country. Perhaps in time these pictures will form a small part of a record of a city and people on the cusp of change. Unusually many looked straight into the cameras lenses with a mixture of question but also curiosity. For a country closed to the outside world the sudden influx of visitors must surely seem strange. How long I wonder before it feels like an intrusion. Continue Reading

Asia Myanmar

Post 1 Hindu Festival, Rangoon (Yangon), Burma, (Myanmar)

Rangoon Burma

Burma, when I think of Burma it is in its historical context and its recent and long closure to the outside world.

Burma colonised by the British in 1886 was only fully freed in 1948 from both Japanese and British occupation and rule. What should have presented a golden opportunity under the leadership of Aung Sang quickly turned to a period of chaos and uncertainty with his assassination, followed by ten years of unsteady rule, culminating in military takeover over and dictatorship which lasts even to this present day. Slowly this situation is changing with the release from house arrest of the figurehead for democracy and freedom from military dictatorship and oppression, Aung Sang Suu Kyi.

Rangoon formerly the capital of Burma is today a melting pot of peoples and cultures, all joined together in this chaotic, colorful, busy city, and seemingly living peacefully side by side. It is also a city of great neglect and poverty. It has the look of a crumbling worn out place that is slowly falling to the ground. That’s still part of it charm for the visitor but chain for the indigenous population. It is fast opening up to visitors and overseas investment is starting to flow into the city and the country. Perhaps in time these pictures will form a small part of a record of a city and people on the cusp of change. Unusually many looked straight into the cameras lenses with a mixture of question but also curiosity. For a country closed to the outside world the sudden influx of visitors must surely seem strange. How long I wonder before it feels like an intrusion.

Whilst wandering around the city one morning I chanced upon a Hindu festival so the pictures of this form the first part of the post.  Part 2 is a picture essay of the people and place as it goes about its daily and bustling business. Part 3 is a few pictures from the famous indoor market and 3 a couple of pictures of the fading facade of the city.

Rangoon Hindu Festival 2015

Rangoon, Burma, Hindu Festival 2015 pictures by Da(25)

Rangoon, Burma, Hindu Festival 2015 pictures by Da(5)

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