CBT sites in Shan State
Samkar Lake CBT was born under the project EPIC (Economic Promotion of Inle Communities Through Cultural and Natural Heritage Valorization- AICS AID 10937) funded by Italian Agency for Cooperation and Development.
ICEI, leading organization, together with local partners Inle Speaks and Dear Myanmar cooperated with the communities of Samkar Lake area to develop CBT activities.
Samkar Lake CBT is located on Samkar shores, south of Inle lake and is made by 3 villages: Samkar, Tha Yar Khone and Khone Tar.
Three main ethnic groups live in the villages: Shan, Pa-O and Intha.
There are CBT Committees in each village, who take strategic decisions, and groups of service providers (e.g. cooks, pilots and community guides) who take care of the guests.
Both took part in intensive training and capacity building process since 2017 on themes as responsible tourism, food hygiene and sanitation, First Aid, leadership and management, bookkeeping.
Community-based Tourism means direct involvement of local communities.
Communities of Samkar Lake CBT manage the packaged tours and Samkar Kham community lodge and restaurant.
Your pilot, cook or community guide, as well as the workshop you visit, receive a fair fee for their contribution so they can have an additional income and support their families.
Moreover, an amount from each tour is set aside for community development initiatives.
In February 2020 Samkar Kham Community Lodge and Restaurant were inaugurated and lodge offers 3 rooms for a total of 12 guests capacity.
Samkar Lake CBT offers several packages according to the time spent and preferences, with unique experiences:
- Cultural heritage walking tours in the villages of Samkar and Tha Yar Khone, where a local conduction would lead the guests discovering the ancient history and traditions of their village as the Thar Kaung Pagoda or the 28 stupas site. During the tour there is also the chance to visit local traditional workshops of blacksmith, bamboo weaving, the traditional rice alcohol and rice crackers producers;
- Traditional lunch at a local family available in Samkar and Tha Yar Khone village, where our trained cooks would prepare and offer a traditional lunch; food may vary and it reflects cooks ethnic group traditions;
- A Multi-Ethnic Food Experience, a buffet style lunch in Samkar village, with three different menus, Shan, Pa-O and Intha, prepared locally and handmade by our cooks to make the guests taste genuine an traditional flavors (most suitable for groups);
- A relaxing tour on the bamboo raft, departing from Khone Tar village up to the ancient aqueduct in the lake; during the trip a local conductor would explain the legends of the area and our pilot would drive you and the calm waters using the leg-rowing technique, while the guests would be offered traditional delicacies;
- An interesting canoe tour, departing from Tha Yar Khone village, would lead tourists discover the floating pagodas in the lake, not far from the village. The community guide would share the story of the dam construction and area flooding which results in a unique and charming scenery.
Samkar Kham Community Lodge and Restaurant offer a charming and relaxing atmosphere in the center of Samkar village for overnight stays.
It can accommodate up to 12 guests in three rooms with separate toilet and shower facilities. It also offer
free bikes to the guests to explore the surroundings.
The lodge is made in bamboo, designed to reflect traditional houses shapes and it is equipped with solar panels and high efficiency appliances to respect the environment. Guests are also encouraged to bring their own water bottle. Indeed, in the lodge, as well as in other points located in the three villages, there are water refill stations available for guests.
CBT cooks welcome the guests in the restaurant with a refreshing meal after the long day spent on the lake and delicious breakfasts.
On request, there are also evening activities for lodge guests as soap making workshop, held by the CBT handicraft group, or martial art workshop, leaded by village senior experts.
Destinations around Sakar CBT village
Numerous scenic trails and traditional villages surround Samkar Lake CBT area.
Samkar Kham community lodge offers free bikes for its guests to explore the surroundings.
All the cultural and natural heritage, living traditions and religious sites have been mapped and are included in the “Interpretation Plan” book, available in hard copy or soft copy at CBT.
Starting from this context mapping, an application for mobile has been developed, called “Explore Samkar – Inle”.
The application, available for Android and iOS, allows to obtain information on several sites and villages through a list subdivided in the following sections:
All the sites have been geo-localized and they are accessible from a map with augmented reality as well.
Photos and additional contents complete the contents offered.
The application is now in English and soon would be available in Myanmar language as well.
An example of sites to visit is Naung Bo village with its pottery tradition, or Loi Laung pagoda, an ancient white Pagoda built by King Alaung Sithu, situated on top of Loi Laung mountain the site and it offers a breathtaking viewpoint over the lake. There are a lot of natural beauties as well as the water springs which are located in proximity to the village of Nam Huu. There are three pools in the compound. The water is very clear. In the lower pool everyone can swim, both men and women. In the upper pool, just the monks can swim, there is a water ordination hall.
Routes that visitors can go to CBT sites
Samkar Lake CBT can be reached by road or by boat. It is located on the shores of Samkar lake, south of Inle lake and connected through a channel which is navigable during high season.
It is located about 38 miles south of Nyaung Shwe. Samkar village, main hub of the CBT, is connected to Nyaung Shwe by the road on east side of Inle lake with a car trip of approximately one and a half hour. The village of Khone Tar is on the same shore just a few miles south. Tha Yar Khone village is located on the opposite side of the lake and it is better connected by boat from Samkar (around 15 minutes trip). All the villages are also accessible by boat with a 3 hours trip from Nyaung Shwe through the beautiful Inle lake.
Samkar Lake CBT half way between Nyaung Shwe, main access gate for the famous Inle lake, and Loikow, capital of Kayah State, near the Moebye dam in Pekon.
Samkar Lake CBT is happy to welcome its guests all throughout the year.
During the high season the weather is sunny and dry, with warm days and cool nights.
During the high season the area can be reached by boat from Nyaung Shwe, while in the other season the channel may be too dry so it is necessary to take a 1 and half hour trip by car from Nyaung Shwe.
Shan State is also famous for its nice weather and climate therefore, also during raining season, it gifts suitable weather for outdoor activities with magnificent light effects.
For information on Samkar Lake CBT packages, terms and conditions and rates please contact CBT Coordinator
Phone: +95 9 89 50 23 930
For bookings, reservations and payment:
- National and International Tour Operators can deal directly with CBT Coordinator who would provide rates and availabilities
Phone: +95 9 89 50 23 930
- International FIT can contact 2 travel agencies in Nyanung Shwe which sell Samkar Lake CBT packages
Thu Thu Travel +95 941003892, 09696321083
Fantastic Inle Travel&Tours +95 9968152252, 09454853638
- Domestic FIT can contact travel agencies in Nyaung Shwe which sell Samkar Lake CBT packages or if they no need to arrange transportation, they can contact CBT coordinator
Samkar Lake CBT website is under construction
Samkar Lake CBT has a Facebook page