A watery world of floating gardens, stilted villages and crumbling stupas,densely inhabited by many different tribes is located in the middle of Myanmar. Inle lake is a must for all Myanmar itineraries – at least 2 days to walk the village and tour the Inle lake, however you can easily spend weeks in this charming spot.
About 70,000 Inthars (people of the lake) live in 18 villages around the lake. Most of the Inthars are devout Buddhists thus a large number of Buddhist monasteries can be found int he area. The Inthars live in simple houses of wood and woven bamboo on stilts; they are largely self-sufficient farmers.
Local fishermen are known for practicing a distinctive rowing style which involves standing at the stern on one leg and wrapping the other leg around the oar. This unique style evolved for the reason that the lake is covered by reeds and floating plants making it difficult to see above them while sitting. Standing provides the rower with a view beyond the reeds.
Why Not Go
Great marketing tool, making the area a very touristy, commercialized area. Expensive accommodations are a norm! Nearby village of Nyaugshwe makes an interesting alternative.
High cost of boat (try to share with others), and entrance fees needed for the lake.
Inle Lake is a major tourist attraction, and this has led to some development of tourist infrastructure. Many small and large privately owned hotels and tour operations have arisen during the past few years. Local shops are flooded with consumer items, both local and foreign.
Best Time to Visit
In September and October, the Phaung Daw U festival runs for nearly three weeks and is followed by the Thadingyut festival, one of Myanmar’s best-known events.
Always cooler, Inle gets downright chilly at night in January and February.
Traditional boat racing, with dozens of leg-rowers in Shan dress in a team on each boat, is a famous event during the Hpaung Daw U Festival.
Where to Stay
Where & What to Eat
Inle cuisine is different from Shan cuisine, as it incorporates local natural produce. The most well-known Inle dish would be the Htamin jin – a rice, tomato and potato or fish salad kneaded into round balls dressed and garnished with crisp fried onion in oil, tamarind sauce, coriander and spring onions often with garlic, Chinese chives roots (ju myit), fried whole dried chili, grilled dried fermented beancakes (pè bouk) and fried dried topu (topu jauk kyaw) on the side.
Inle lake is also the “pancake capital of Myanmar”, so be sure to try them!
My to do List
Do some hiking around Inle Lake
spend at least one full day exploring the northern half of the lake by boat, from Nyaungshwe or a lakeside hotel.
A trip to Sankar at the far south end of the lake area is highly recommended – more expensive but scenically beautiful and less touristed.
Rent a bike and cycle around!
Stay Away From
The nearest airport is Heho which is 35 km away. There are flights from both Yangon and Mandalay. However, Taking a taxi from the airport can be quite expensive.
Yangon is 660 km distant by road, Mandalay 330 km.
Buses depart daily, and cost around US$20 from Yangon (13 hours) or time from Mandalay. A very slow and uncomfortable bus is available for $9 from Bagan.
PkTan is fascinated with this beautiful, complicated country. He love advising travellers to Myanmar and have developed this site to share all his knowledge of Myanmar with everyone.
- Myanmar Travel Itinerary – Yangon to Muruk U
- How much for taxi from Inle Lake to airport
- Mrauk U
- Myanmar Travel Itinerary
- Festivals in Myanmar (Burma)