Saturday 23 March 2013

Floating gardens, Inle Lake

We arranged to meet our boat driver again today for a morning journey around the lake.
I liked the floating gardens best, and they are out in the middle of the lake, far away from land. They rise and fall with the water level and there is also a whole village that is built on stilts where the people who tend the gardens live.
On our approach, the first thing we saw were men collecting water weeds from out on the lake and piling it in to their boats. It looked extremely heavy and once their boat was full they paddled back to the gardens. They use one of their legs wrapped around the oar to paddle and it looks very strange, but effective.
We followed them down little water alleyways where the water weeds are piled up and clamped in place with bamboo poles. They end up as floating mats that are about a metre wide but really long.
We passed a field full of ladies, each sitting in their own little boat, planting tomato plants along the rows. They grow most of the tomatoes that are eaten in Myanmar here and it is a fantastic system as their roots are always in water so they don't need constant manual watering.
They also grow massive gourds, cabbages, beans and lots of other things that I didn't recognise.
Afterwards we sat in a restaurant eating tomato and potato salads. They were both excellent, but unbelievably heavy on the onions.
Ps, the Internet here is very slow and the electricity often cuts out. Yesterday, my blog kept getting uploaded and it looks as if the pictures didn't arrive. If anyone reads this, can you send a comment and let me know if this blog looks okay please.


  1. All looks fine now. Have you read about the ethnic violence that they say may spread to Mandalay? Take care...

  2. Hi Paul thanks for the info. We are following the problems and drove on a bus through Meiktila on a bus on the way to Mandalay. We thought that it looked pretty and were thinking about trying to book a night in a hotel there on our way to Inle Lake instead of an overnight bus. Fortunately we caught the bus instead and I followed our route on my tablet as it took way too long and along crazy tiny unmade roads. That was the night of the worst violence so the bus avoided it. I understand that the government have issued a state of emergency in Meiktila and tomorrow we are on another overnight bus to Yangon so I assume that the bus will take the same crazy route out. Reminds me a lot of our Tibet trip! Sure it will be fine.