a pagoda would have to be something special...

stupas at Inn Tain Pagoda (c) 2018 by David Ourisman, all rights reserved

... for me to rave about it. At this point, twelve days into our trip to Vietnam and Myanmar, we have seen countless pagodas. Each is something special, but this one was extraordinary.

We are staying on Inle Lake, a vast lake in the center of Myanmar, 13 miles long and 7 miles wide. The lake is becoming a major tourist area with resorts springing up on its shores. We met our guide at 9:30 a.m. this morning and joined her in a long boat ... the equivalent of having a car and driver in this area. We motored south along the lake, seeing fishermen at work, cruising through a hydroponic tomato farm, then turning upstream heading towards the hills. Upon reaching our destination, we each paid the equivalent of 50¢ in "camera fees" and began a short hike up a hill. Note to visitors: be sure to bring the umbrella from your boat — not for rain but to shield you from the intense sun.

Arriving at the Inn Tain pagoda complex, it was immediately apparent we had reached a most unique attraction. Over one thousand stupas, dating from the 16th to the early 18th century, covered the hillside. I immediately began snapping photos. Our guide knew the best route up through the stupas, pointing out many interesting carvings (including elephants kneeling to the Buddha). I've previously written how a great guide can help travelers make the most of their time in any destination, and today's experience reinforces that conviction. The photo above will remain one of my treasured take-aways from this trip.

After spending quite a bit of time in the pagoda at the top of the hill, we walked back down and enjoyed lunch by the river at a local restaurant called Golden Kite (which I can recommend). After lunch, we visited several craft villages and a monastery before returning back home to our home for these two days, Pristine Lotus Resort.

copyright  (c)  2018 by Ourisman Travel LLC.  All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso® member. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

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