Burma (or Myanmar) isn’t the worst place we’ve been for vegetarians and we coped a lot better than we expected. This was largely due to the big Indian influence and the fact that in this Buddhist culture there is a well understood Burmese word for vegetarian. Being able to communicate this made things a lot easier.
A boat trip is the most popular way to explore Inle Lake but this beautiful area deserves more than just a day and a bike ride is another interesting way to explore. We spent a day cycling past rice paddy fields, canals, and villages of stilted houses; visiting hot springs, colourful tribal markets, and an incongruous winery; and making new friends along the way.
Inle Lake was our favourite part of Burma and one of its most famous attractions. The huge lake in Shan State is 22km long and 11km wide and is surrounded by mountains. As magnificent as the scenery is what we loved most was seeing how life is lived on and around the water. The lake and mountains were beautiful but it was the one-legged fishermen, the colourful tribal markets, the stilted wooden houses, and the impressive floating gardens that kept us at Inle Lake longer than we planned.
Burma (or Myanmar) is one of the least visited countries in Southeast Asia and has been ruled by a military dictatorship for fifty years. Many campaign groups urged a tourist boycott of the country until 2010 when democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was finally released from house arrest and changes slowly began to take place in the country.