Our second morning at Inle Lake began much as the first did; a great breakfast at the ViewPoint Lodge and then a boat trip with Ma Su back down the canal and into the lake. It took about 45-minutes to reach the lake and almost immediately we began to see more of the iconic one-leg rower fishermen.
As we reached the village of Kaungdain, we docked among other boats very close to the local monastery. A few minutes later we were at our first destination, the Kaungdain Market.
As we approached the market we saw a small shelter where local wood carvers had set up their display. Off to the right there was a large open field with lots of grass and a stream running through it. We saw a lot of the white oxen used to pull carts either eating or being washed by their owners. At first we though this might be the livestock section of the market where animals were for sale but eventually we came to the conclusion that this area was more of a parking lot for vendors who used ox carts to bring products to market
As the above video and photos below show, Kaungdain Market is a very colorful scene. Vendors set up their wares both under old shelters and on blankets laid on the ground. Many bring their children along. Vendors come from the local community and other villages in the nearby mountains and surrounding the lake. It is typical for the more remote villages to be made predominantly by a single ethnic group or tribe, identifiable by different colors and patterns and their clothes.
We really enjoyed walking through the rows and having Ma Su explain the different foods were seeing. The next day we had dinner at Ma Su’s Queen Inn and we recognized many of the items she served were items we saw her buy at this market. A more complete discussion of that meal is towards the bottom of our Inle Lake Restaurants page.
As with most of the villages along the lake, floating gardens with their narrow sometimes gated canals fill the water entry to Kaungdain. As we neared our next destination of Maing Thaouk Village, we passed by more floating gardens and stilt houses.
Along one side of the Maing Thaouk canal is a long elevated boardwalk and pier that provides villagers with a walking entry to rice fields opposite to the canal and eventually into the town. At the time of our visit, rice had just been harvested and had been set out on long elegant stands to dry in the sun. Farmers were loading the just dried rice plants onto ox carts for transport.
We took a short walk along one of the main streets in the town observing village life and made a short stop at the very friendly Maing Thaouk Image Restaurant for cold drinks. As we walked back towards the pier we passed by a worker weaving bamboo strips into panels that are used on walls, floors and ceilings of local houses.
And then came one of the unexpected highlights of our day. As we passed by a pre-school, we stopped to take a photo of some really cute little kids when one of their teachers walked over to us and invited us in. Eventually we were treated to a medly of songs in several languges that were in fact, a part of the school lesson.
The video below shows our water entry into Maing Thaouk, some village scenes and a couple minutes of our visit to the pre-school.
On our return to town we passed by more of the one-leg rowing fishermen, more floating gardens. And we also saw a good demonstration of fishermen disturbing the water surface to attract the attention of fish and lead them into their nets.