Ask Locals

What is Thanaka?

Have you ever wonder what's the yellow stuff Burmese women put on their faces? Today we are going to solve that mystery.

The stuff is called Thanaka. 

What is Thanaka? 

Thanaka is the name of a slow-growing tree that thrives in the arid central parts of Myanmar. It is widely said that the tree must mature at least 35 years before becoming viable, but many newer thanaka "farms" are able to put product on the market after just 3 to 7 years of growth. It is said that Burmese have been using thanaka this way for 2,000 years. 

How to Apply to Your Face?

The eponymous paste is made from grinding the bark against a flat, wet stone and then applied to the face. Although part of the thanaka tree are used medicinally in other parts of Asia, it is only in Myanmar that it is used cosmetically. 

Why Use Thanaka?

It's a good protection from the sun, lightens the skin, and even works against acne. In addition, it can be very cooling (as any liquid dying on your skin would be). Understandably, not a lot of research money has been poured into studying thanaka, but one 2010 Thai study found that "extracts from thanaka bark showered strong anti-inflammatory, significant antioxidation, mild tyrosinase inhibition and slight antibacterial activities."

Who Wear Thanaka?

Every day you'll see most female and many boys and young men sporting thanaka patches on their faces, We used for sun protection during the day, thanaka is also applied at night after bathing in order to receive the other anti-inflammatory therapeutic benefits. 

Wanna try it yourself? Ask our lovely front desk.

Or book a sunrise/sunset boat trip and try it out in a local village. 

Have more questions for the locals? Send us an email or a message. Or just ask any of our staff if you live with us -


What is Five Day Market?

A very well-known tradition here at Shan State is the Five Day Market.

But, what is Five Day Market?

Back in the old days, there are several kingdoms in Myanmar. Inle Lake belongs to Shan States. The Shan Sawbwa (leaders) will go village to village and house to house to collect money (or tax). It was quite time consuming. In order to be more efficient, they gather the people from nearby villages in one town at a certain day. Slowly people started to bring goods and trade while waiting for the Sawbwa to collect tax. 

Even tho today, the Sawbwa was long gone. The tradition remained. :)

Have more questions for the locals? Send us an email or a message. Or just ask any of our staff if you live with us - 

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