Inle Lake

Inle Lake

Inle Lake situated in Shan Hills of Myanmar. A destination explored by so many travelers who visit Myanmar as it is one of the most anticipated destinations in this country. Around the lake there are many settlements like Indein famous for its Shwe Inn Dein Pagoda which is showing off its field of gold spires, Maing Thauk where people live on both, land and water or Nampan which market is overrun by foreign visitors.

Despite many travelers flocking the region it still justifies the hype. Picturesque, vast and serene lake surrounded by fisherman villages inhabited by many different local tribes such as Intha fisher folk or “Long Neck” people, bordered by marshes and floating gardens or glided Buddhist temples which stupas rise above the greenery. There are vast majority of attractions to visit or things to do here while exploring the surroundings of Inle Lake and few people leave this place disappointed with what they have seen and done.

Nyaungshwe – the main city where you will find accommodation and transportation around Inle Lake situated in the north of the lake. It could be called a transport hub and even though it is quite shabby and untidy town, its serves its purpose quite well and in the end tidiness will not matter. Dozens of hotels and guest houses, increasing number of restaurants and pleasant vibe with relaxing atmosphere in the downtown area is what defines the city today.

Nampan Market – a photogenic marketplace in the south eastern edge of the lake. Salesman here can be caught selling their production from boats. A downside to this market is that most of the time it has higher number of foreign visitors trying to get best picture than actual locals working. Even though it is very photogenic, we believe it is highly overrated place compared to other markets around Inle Lake.

As for instance Indein village in the West of Inle Lake, which is famous for its market and two groups of ancient pagodas. Indein is one the the villages that host the Inle “5-day market”. It is a market which goes around in a cycle through five different villages around the lake.

Despite the markets Indein is best known for its many ancient pagodas in many shapes and sizes. From which main is Shwe Indein Pagoda complex consisting of a group of Buddhist pagodas with different states of preservation. The village can be reached either by land or in rainy and winter season by boat taking 8 kilometers scenic boat ride through Inn Thein creek, a long narrow canal.

Helpful tips

Restaurants. There are multiple places in the city where you can find descent food. In most of the local restaurants you will find price and quality ratio alright and food fresh, especially fish as cities are surrounding Inle Lake. Here they are growing lots of vegetables and fishing. Stop by and try local food in street markets, look for a cleaner place and enjoy!

We enjoyed snacks in Night market of Nyaungshwe which occurs every day. To try local cuisine in this village we chose “Sin Yaw” and “Sixty-Eight” restaurants which both shared great price and quality ratio.

Markets. In Inle lake region as in almost every other region or city in Myanmar you will not easily find a lot of cheap souvenirs to put on your fridge. However, we encourage to walk around and look for hand made goods in local markets. Here they will charge you less the less you look like a tourist and if you know some simple Myanmar phrases, that will melt their hearts away. In shops all over city prices vary around same level, thus, choose a more convenient for you. We did not find any shop which would accept card payment, thus, be prepared and have some cash with you!

Transportation. To get to Inle Lake region you can use car, bus if you want to go directly or train which will take you to nearby town. We decided to hike to Inle Lake from Kalaw, we chose a three day longer route through magnificent mountain villages, jungles, lakes and fields surrounding the region. The hike was incredible, and it needs a whole article to be expressed, it was so easy to enjoy the trip not only the destination.

Inside the region you will find yourself using local Tuk Tuk’s, taxies, boats or bikes which are one of the most convenient transportation devices used to get around.

Best of luck planning your holidays in Myanmar!

Is there anything else you would like to visit while in Myanmar?

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