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Shan State & Environment

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Inle

Location Latitude : 20˚ 46’ N, Longitude: 97˚ 01’ E
Temperature : Min 12 'C - Max 28 'C
Population : 80,000

Inle Lake is a huge lake (22 km long and 10km across) located in Shan State, over 900 meters above sea-level, and it is outrageously beautiful. The strangest thing about Inle is native lake-dwellers, living on ‘floating islands’. It is one of the most significant and productive ecological system supporting an immense variety of plants and animals and yielding great wealth for Myanmar through its occurrence of floating islands and the living style of the natives.

Inle Lake is stunning and to appreciate the extensive natural waterways from the lake shores and unsurpassed luxury accommodation of villas built over the waters and shores of one of Myanmar's most stunning natural and cultural wonders, Inle Lake. It is the perfect location in which to explore the wonders of this unique destination with private outdoor terrace for viewing a spectacular sunset over the lake and hills beyond.

PHAUNG TAW OO PAGODA

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Phaung Taw Oo Buddha Images are in a set of five, cherished by Bagan Emperor Alaung Sithu, and dedicated to five Buddhas of this planet Earth. These Buddha images are famous because many prayers came true, after praying at Phaung Taw Oo.

Phaung Taw Oo Pagoda Festival is held around late October, depending on the Myanmar traditional lunar calendar. Festivals in Myanmar mostly coincide with the full moons days and often related Buddhism. The Phaung Taw Oo festival is one of the most spectacular festivities in Myanmar. Only four of the five Buddha images of the pagoda are placed on a royal barge and are rowed from village to village around the lake, stopping at each monastery. The decorated royal barge is towed by leg-rowers around the lake. Boat races are held during this festival. In some boat races, each boat carry, over one hundred people each, standing upright and rowing with their legs in the traditional Inle style. Local and foreign visitors are crowded at such a time.

NYAUNG SHWE

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Nyaung Shwe is the capital town for Inle Lake area. One of the mostcolorful markets in Myanmar is the 5-day market of Nyaung Shwe, which is opened only on every 5th days. Women from various hilltribes that live in the Inle Lake region come to sell their home products, fruit and vegetables in this market. Nyaung Shwe is one of the palace taking the boat jetty to proceed sightseeing into the surrounding Inle Lake.

INDEIN

One of the 17 small villages of Inle Lake is on the west end. Visitors have to take 5-km boat ride from Ywama village, which is next to Nyaung Shwe. A Buddha Image is enshrined inside a white-washed stupa, on the summit of a hill. Below the stupa around the hill is a cluster of hundreds of ancient stupas. Many of them are ruined and overgrown with bushes.

NGA PHE KYAUNG

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This wooden monastery was built on stills of Inle, about 2 centuries age. Century-old wooden sculptures can be seen there. It is widely known as ‘Jumping Cat Monastery’ because cats from this monastery can jump and leap through hoops.

TAUNGGYI

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Taunggyi is the capital of Shan State, with a moderate climate. Hot-air Balloon Festival is famous and held every November in Taunggyi. Taunggyi has an estimated population of 205,000 As of 2010,[1] making it the fifth largest city in Myanmar and is at an elevation of 4,712 feet (1,436 m) above sea level. The name Taunggyi means "huge mountain" in the Burmese language, and is named after the ridge on the east of the city, part of the Shan Hills system, whose prominent high point is called Taung-chun or "The Spur." Locally this spur is popularly known as Phaya Taung. The ridge has a more prominent and more popular feature known as Chauk Talone, meaning the Craigs.

Although within the Shan State, the Shans are not the predominant population of this city. The Inthas and the Pa-Ohs, who are also the original inhabitants of the Shan Plateau, form the most visible population. They however are culturally and linguistically different from the Shan. Recently there has been a flood of Chinese immigrants. Taunggyi lies within the Myelat region of Shan State.

KEKKU PAGODA

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Kakku Pagodas are a group of over 2,000 stupas, only about 33 miles away from Taunggyi. Most of them are many centuries old, and it is a newly opened destination.

When Myanmar opened its doors to the outside world in the early 1990s, both many spectacular natural and man-made discoveries came to light to both the locals and the tourists. To discover places like this, such as the Kekku Pagoda Complex, seems almost like a miracle.

Kekku is 28 miles south of Taunggyi. Green fields stretch for miles on each side of the road. A long row of tall, thick-leafed trees, in pairs, disappear over the far hills: it is a shady road with trees planted by a monk to connect his village to a pagoda at the other end. Two hours by car from Taunggyi, a turn in a corner into a valley leads you straight to this wonderful sight of thousands of small pagodas clustered close to each other, surrounding a bigger spire set on a rise. The number of the pagodas are almost 7,622 all of them decorated with floral designs or figures of celestial beings or bird-men climbing up the sides, created out of stucco. Everything is still the huge trees nearby cast their shades on bees and butterflies fluttering in the meadows.

Every year, Kekku Pagoda Festival celebrated three days in March before the Full Moon of Tabaung by the Myanmar lunar calendar. The Kekku Pagoda Complex may have been only recently discovered by the outside world but for centuries the shrines have been the personal, intimate place of worship for the Pa O people called Kekku Mway Daw Pagoda, believing that a holy relic of the Buddha Gautama was enshrined under the main spire celebrate the pagoda festival, and tens of thousands of pilgrims come from all over the region, by cart, by river, or by walking through the woods. Hundreds of monks gather to recite the sutras on the morning of the Full Moon Day which is attended by thousands of devotees.

HTANSAN

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HtanSan is beautiful flower which can be found around the cave. We left from Htan San Cave at around 4:45pm. The driver told me, we should enter Taungyi as earlier as possible. Because there is a troublemaker security check at late evening.

Along our way to Htan San and Ho Pone Town, there was a very heavy rain which almost wash down our car from the mountain road. The heavy rain outside & moisture inside the car made the car glass blur and we were almost invisible to anything in font of the car. The car glass wiper cannot help in this kind of rain. But the driver kept driving with care and I helped him wipe the moisture from the car glass to give him clear view.

PINDAYA CAVE

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Pindaya is located north of Myanmar Inle Lake and Heho, the Shan State airport town, Pindaya makes a good escape from the tourist crowds (as much as Burma ever gets tourist crowds) and hustle of Inle Lake. It is a small quiet town perched on the bank of the placid Botoloke Lake. It is a huge cave where hundreds and thousands of Buddha images in various size and shape are donated and installed since the 11th century. The most attractive place in Pindaya is the ancient Shwe U Min cave which contains about 8,000 Buddha statues, which are collected over the centuries. It’s a good centre for walks into the surrounding hills, but it also has a popular tourist attraction.

There are certainly lots of Buddhas in there but the caves also feature a recreation of a local legend about a heroic prince saving helpless damsels from the giant spider with his trusty bow and arrow. Images of that nasty spider pop up all over town including a fine model of spider and prince at the entrance to the cave.

KALAW

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Kalaw stands high on the western edge of the Shan Plateau. It is 70km west of Taunggyi, about halfway along the Thazi-Taunggyi road. This was a popular hill resort in the British colonial period, and it is still a peaceful quiet place. A former colonial British hill station, this small-town offers cool temperatures (Kalaw sits at 1,320 meters elevation) and plenty of trekking opportunities. Traveling by car, it's about two hours west of Nyaungshwe on the western edge of the Shan hills. It is pleasantly cool and a good place for hiking amid pines, bamboo groves and rugged mountain scenery. Those around Kalaw are from four ethnics groups, Palaung, Pa-O, Danu and Taung Yoe.

The treks include the usual assortment of villages, agricultural life, and plenty of mountain scenery. This lively event runs on a five-day cycle moving each day from town to town around the Kalaw/Inle region. It's your typical outdoor market with nothing for the tourists and everything for the locals - meat, produce, herbs, and spices. Many of the participants hiked great distances from the surrounding Palaung villages - the area is hiking to later that same day crossing paths with many of the villagers as they returned home.

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