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The Unique Method of One-Legged Rowing of Fishermen On Inle Lake

People & Culture
The Unique Method of One-Legged Rowing of Fishermen On Inle Lake

Amasia | September 11, 2020

The Unique Method of One-Legged Rowing of Fishermen On Inle Lake

Located in the heart of Shan State, Inle Lake is the second largest freshwater lake in Myanmar, surrounded in by towering mountains and lush hills. It is not an ordinary lake though; Inle is a magical world of floating gardens and villages built on stilts.


At 900 meters above sea level, the lake – nestles snugly in the Nyaung Shwe Valley – is an eye-opener. You don’t just come to Inle Lake for its beauty, you go to see the traditions of the people who live there. The unique method of one-legged rowing is, perhaps, the most iconic representatives of the fascinating local culture.

The Burmese fishermen who have mastered an unusual technique when it comes to padding their boats, balance carefully on one leg, and wrap their second leg around the oar to guide the vessel through the freshwater lake. As there are many reeds and water plants in the lake, standing on the end of the boat helps them have a great view and can lead the way better.

Besides, they keep both their hands free to handle the cumbersome nets which are submerged in the lake, about 10ft deep. The fishermen trap the fish by throwing the cone-shape net into the water, pressing on it with their feet so that the net sinks to the bottom where the fish are. Then, with the cone sank and the fish trapped, they spear from above through the hole at the top of the cone.

Spending a day on a boat trip around Inle lake certainly brings astonishing, memorable, overwhelming experiences to you. Though to watch true fishermen and their art of traditional fishing at Inle Lake is easy, you will passed by them on the lake as the day progress. Like a ballet or symphony, it is fascinating to watch them perform a fishing method uniquely their own, a skills acquired since childhood.

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