Fastest one-legged rowers on the planet!

If you’re planning a holiday to Burma this year, then one of the best times to go is October, combining good weather and the chance to experience the annual Buddhist Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda festival on Inle Lake, one of the biggest festivals in the Shan State region.

Phaung Daw Oo is the main pagoda of the beautiful Inle lake and plays host to five small gold Buddha images, four of which are displayed during the festival on the royal barge and taken on a celebratory voyage around 14 of the lake’s villages. Towed by the boats of the incredible leg-rowers, the procession really is an extraordinary sight to behold as hundreds of boats follow behind.

Along with funfairs and dance shows, arguably the most exciting and much anticipated part of the festival are the leg-rowers boat races. For those in the dark, leg-rowers are an absolute must see at Inle Lake. With incredible agility and skill they wrap one leg around an oar whilst balancing on the other one, and propel their small wooden boats along. The “Intha”, people of the lake, have lived and worked on Inle Lake for many generations and have travelled in this unique way for just as long.

This year’s Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival will begin on 16th October and end on 2nd November, with the annual leg-rowers boat races taking place on the 22nd October and 2nd November. This charming festival is the perfect way to feel involved and experience the spirit of Burma, as crowds of celebrating people gather along the banks of the lake.

The festival can easily be incorporated into a longer itinerary, including a 3 to 7 night Irrawaddy River cruise from Mandalay to Bagan with time on the beach at the end for some R&R after all of the festivities!

Thanks for reading

Sally Walters

Author: Sally Walters