“Welcome to Samkar Lake”

Samkar Lake, Myanmar. November 2019. (12 photos)

This is Part 7 of my posts about Myanmar, and Part 9 of my posts about my near month-long visit to Myanmar, Thailand and Singapore in November 2019.

We leave the magnificent golden splendour of The Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon in my previous post and visit a more rural setting. In case it isn’t apparent, there’s no particular sequence to my posts about Myanmar.

Samkar Lake is located to the south of Inle Lake, and connected with it through Belu Chaung creek. It is an artificial lake, created by the building of a dam further south. Travelling to Samkar Lake by longboat from my accomodation at the northern part of Inle Lake took a couple of hours but it’s an interesting journey passing stilted villages on the lake, floating crop gardens and travelling through floating fields of lotus flowers. I’ll post some photos from that journey another time, perhaps.

The two girls above greeted me with a lotus flower. In return they were coaxed into posing for the camera. πŸ™‚

“Fallen buddha”

Takhaung Stupa Complex was built in the 15th century. It has 236 Shan style stupas. I came across this Buddha head on the ground that had split into two parts. The top part of the head was very heavy – that’s all I’m saying about that.

“Workers in the field”

The stupas you see are on an island in Samkar Lake. Further in the background is another cluster of stupas.

“An Indiana Jones type moment”

Samkar Ancient Pagoda Complex is a ruined royal capital with ancient monasteries and pagodas, some partially covered in vegetation. Several of the stupas are at the lake’s edge and at certain times of the year become partially submerged in the lake.

“Samkar Ancient Pagoda Complex”

The tree growing on top of the stupa on the right reminded me of my visit to the ancient temples of Angkor.

“Decorated wall”

“Buddhas in the field”


I was photographing around a lakeside village when I saw a young girl waving for me to come over and take her photo. I motioned to the women in the background who approved (I assumed one of them was probably the mother) then shot off a few photos. I showed the photos to all of them and got some huge smiles back in return.

“Village life”

“Village grocery store”

The salient point being there were no refrigerated goods here.

“Reclining Buddha”


Mother watched on whilst her girls were being photographed. With a bit of encouragement she joined them for a photo. At the time, I didn’t even notice that her plastic bag had ” HAPPY πŸ™‚ ” on it. But now I’m very happy it did.


This is Part 7 of my posts about Myanmar, and Part 9 of my posts about my near month-long visit to Myanmar, Thailand and Singapore in November 2019.

Leica Etcetera, Photography Etcetera

Samkar Lake


49 thoughts on “Samkar Lake

    • Indeed, it pays off to get away from the more common tourist routes before they become popular. In that regard, Myanmar as a whole and particularly the border regions still offer many opportunities. Thanks, Julie. In case you’re wondering, yes I do have a bullwhip, leather jacket and fedora. πŸ™‚

  1. Alexandra says:

    I love the mix of ordinary life and 15-th century mystery in your photos, Indiana Jones πŸ™‚ Glad you could capture the lovely smiles of those girls!

    • Thanks, Alex. It’s good to get away from the everyday life and live the fantasy every now and then, Indiana Jones style. πŸ™‚

      Those girls were lovely and had beautiful smiles. An absolute pleasure to photograph.

    • I saw similar in road side stalls in rural Cambodia. Goods hanging off hooks and arranged on the floor that you need to step over. It gives a lot of character to the shop.

      Thank you very much. Those girls were such a delight. Fabulous smiles.

  2. I always enjoy your window-onto-another-world posts. It’s lovely to get a sense of the people happily interacting with you and in some cases directing your shots.

    • Thank you. From the moment the first person just came up to me and snapped a selfie with me, I realised interacting despite the language differences was not going to be a problem. It made the trip even more enjoyable than I expected.

  3. Wonderful first photo, completely natural smiles. I liked Burma for that; even without a common language, the people were wonderful. That will change as more tourists arrive, but something to enjoy in the meanwhile.

    Showing people, especially children, their own photos works wonders. Even in India.

    • Thank you. At the moment, tourists are still an object of interest and as a result, interactions with locals are generally pleasurable and friendly, rather than cursory or aloof. I wish I’d gone even a few years earlier, as you did.

      I felt I had to give something back to those I “imposed” upon, because I did take a lot of photos. It was rewarding to get so many smiles back, from adults and children.

  4. It is wonderful to see the happy children and the fallen Buddha( even he has a grin). The little girl has a lotus bud around her neck, so charming! Wishing you more happy faces!

    • Thanks. I must admit that when she presented me with a lotus flower, I was uncertain if something monetary was expected in return, but it wasn’t. Just huge smiles all round.

  5. I love the photograph of the mother with the two daughters. You captured such a beautiful moment. My most memorable stay in Myanmar by far was on Samkar Lake at Inle Lake Sanctuary. I loved Bagan, but think this part of Myanmar (Inle and Samkar Lake) was my favourite, perhaps because I had no expectatation before.

    • Thank you very much. I hadn’t heard of Samkar Lake before and had no idea what to expect either. That’s why it was only a day trip from Inle Lake, and I was confined to the northern parts of it only. I wished i had more time to explore, and get further off the tourist trail. Myanmar was amazing.

      • I completely agree. Myanmar is a country I would love to return to, especially as I now know how lovely the people are and how many other places there are to explore. I by accident stumbled upon the accommodation on Samkar Lake, and wish I knew beforehand how lovely the area was, as I would definitely have stayed longer.

  6. Delightful photos, Draco, capturing life in the past and present at Samkar Lake. My favorites are: Workers in the Field (for the workers, field, and distant mountains and stupas) and V (a quiet moment with the girls and women). Also really liked the two-part series of the girls selling lotus flowers and later, with their mother — so much happiness in these two photos.

    • Those two girls and their mother were an absolute delight. So was the girl making the V sign. I still smile when I recall that she deliberately called me over to photograph her and her sister. I have so many wonderful memories of Myanmar.

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