Around Inle Lake, Myanmar: Part 2 – Indein
We loved our first day on the lake so much that we couldn’t wait to explore new parts of it on our second day. We ended up with the same boat driver — we were thrilled to see him again! — and headed off through the foggy morning air toward Indain / Indein (or, as the signs welcomed us, to “Inn Dain”… tomato, to-mah-to).
Our friends that had visited the region before us encouraged us not to miss Indain and Sakkar. However, they encouraged Sakkar “especially if the stupas are underwater” and, given that March is the dry season for Myanmar, they were definitely not under water. Furthermore, Sakkar is in the very south end of the lake and our hotel was at the tip-top of the north, so it would have taken a full day to get to and from Sakkar. Although we would have loved to visit if we had an extra day, we decided to visit Indain in lieu of Sakkar. Just know it comes highly recommended from our friends…
That being said, we headed off early in the morning for our half-day trip to Indain. After about an hour on the boat, we headed down a small tributary, passing water buffalo sun-bathing, boys skipping rocks and cows being herded on the river banks. Interestingly, as we headed down the narrow part of the river, we came upon small makeshift bamboo dam after small makeshift bamboo dam. These dams had the initial purpose of being the irrigation system for the nearby fields, but also sent us on a roller-coaster style boat ride.
When we got to Indain, we weren’t quite sure we were there yet. Because we had been taken to many different spots on the day before, we weren’t sure if this stop was our first or our only stop. It turned out to be our only stop. We walked past stalls of jewelry and souvenirs, through a small village of dirt roads and finally stumbled into the Shwe Indain Pagoda. Like some other pagodas we’d visited (especially Mandalay Hill’s pagoda), the pagoda had a long, narrow, covered walkway to the entrance. The walkway was shaded (YES!) but also completed filled with souvenir stalls. We looked admiringly at the hoards of statues, jewelry and Buddhist figurines but didn’t buy anything (the set of statues I did want were far overpriced). This pagoda is extra-special because it has many smaller pagodas surrounding it, so you can literally get lost in a sea of crumbling pagodas. It’s pretty surreal.
Once we were finished at the pagoda, we quickly headed back toward the boat (still unsure if this was just a part of our day — in which case, we were running very late — or our whole day — in which case, we were running very on time). We did stop along the main dirt road of Indain to watch an artist paint lake scenes. We purchased a painting roughly 11x15inch for only ~ $7 USD.
When we got back to our boat, our boat headed back to our hotel, so our time at Indain had (somewhat abruptly) ended. We realized that Indain is the pagoda, but it was well worth the hour-long journey to the magical and unbelievable destination– definitely a must-visit at Inle Lake.