Along with fishing, traditional handicrafts are an important part of the local economy, and you will get to see silk weavers and silversmiths plying their trade on the lake. And as with all of Myanmar, religion plays a massive part in local life, and numerous pagodas and monasteries can be found on the lake and its shores. There also are many restaurants dotted around, where you can indulge in their delicious catches of the day.
Inle Lake is one of Myanmar’s most popular destinations for travelers, so when you travel around the lake, part of what you see will inevitably be geared towards tourists. You may be taken to one too many handicraft workshops, The women sell items in some village shops, wearing the traditional rings which elongate their necks; taking photos of them is encouraged, but the tribe is not in fact indigenous to this area – their own home is in the hills south west of Loikaw.
However, in many places the authentic life on the lake shines through, and it is so large – and the sites sufficiently spread out – that, outside of the villages and markets, it is always possible to find quiet, untouristy corners. Furthermore, steps are being taken to protect the area from man-made damage, including UNESCO designating Inle as a biosphere reserve.