This UNESCO designated Biosphere Reserved is the second largest natural lake in Myanmar located in the middle of the great depression in Nyaungshwe valley between the two parallel mountain ranges running north to south in the southern Shan State. This vast picturesque lake, located 900 meters above sea-level is one of the main tourist attractions in Myanmar. The lake, 22 km long and 10 km across, has a population of some 200,000 and many of whom live on floating islands of vegetation. Inle Lake, natural and unpolluted, is famous for its scenic beauty and the unique leg-rowing of the Inthas, the native lake dwellers.
The best time of the year to visit Inle Lake is from October to March. During the three week long ceremonial Hpaung Daw U Pagoda Festival in October , a colourful procession of hundreds of boats following the gilded Buddha images towed by Leg rowed Barge is an event not to miss. Another high light is the traditional boat racing. With about 50 leg-rowers on each boat, it is also a famous event during the festival.
What to do in Inle lake :
- • Boat tour in the lake visiting the unique leg-rowers and see their special method of fishing from above their small fishing canoes, how they collect seaweed, mud from the bottom etc to make floating gardens.
- • Visit the local handicrafts, silk weaving, wooden handlooms and traditional blacksmith methods along the way.Visiting Inle Lake is not just about being on the water but also about discovering the Shan and Intha villages on the banks of the river. Pass the endless floating gardens, houses, monasteries built on stilts on the lake. Stop at Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery then proceed to Nampan village and see local cheroot factory (where the Burmese cigars are made) and canoe carving.
- • Visit the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, to meet the locals and see what they do at this holy site of southern Shan State. Not to miss is Indein village, located at the western side of the lake which is the hidden treasure of Inle Lake( 45 mins boat trip). Passing Nyaung-Oak Monastery and follow a stair path lined up with many hundreds of wooden columns, you finally will reach the impressive Shwe Indein complex. You will enjoy the nature beauty on the way like vegetable gardens, child and young monks (novices) enjoying their morning bath in the clear stream, water buffaloes and people working in the paddy fields etc.
Plan to stay long in Inle lake
Apart from normal sightseeing mentioned above, many more activities are available so plan to stay at least 3 to 4 nights in Inle.
- • Bird watching with a guide to see water birds of this wild life sanctuary.
- • Short or full day bike ride to surrounding villages.
- • Short or full day trekking to surrounding hills.
- • A visit to Red Mountain winery for wine tasting
- • A visit to local Cooking class
- • Day return trip to Pindaya caves, Kalaw, Kakku etc
Tours around Inle lake