We discussed going to Lake Inle until the last moment. We were told it is the most touristic place in all Myanmar. But at the same time it is also a special place. So we decided to go.
Lake Inle is a beautiful lake with canals leading into it and villages on stilts surrounding it. There is busy traffic of longboats up and down the canals into the lake and villages carrying people and goods. The hills around the lake are sprinkled with golden pagodas which blink like diamonds in the sun.
But there are also expensive tourist resorts popping up all around the lake destroying the organic structure of the villages. There are taxi drivers and restaurant owners working diligently on squeezing the extra dollar out of tourists. And there are endless hustlers approaching you at every step to sell you the famous boat trips and guided tours to the fishermen who row their boats with one leg, the monastery with the jumping cats and workshops for jewelry and textile making.
We kept our sanity by ignoring the hustlers with their boat tours and rented bikes to cycle around the lake, sat at the canals and watched the busy life around us, and ate at local restaurants which are not listed in any guide book.