Lying to the south-east of Mandalay, in the middle of Myanmar, Inle Lake is a serene spot of great natural beauty. Home to the stilt villages of the Intha, amongst many other different tribes, the lake is 22 km long and a popular spot for both tourists and locals.
It goes without saying that any visit here should start with a boat trip on the lake, and there are plenty of options to choose from. If you’re planning on souvenir shopping, ask your boat man to take you to the workshops selling souvenirs, the lotus fibre weaving factory or the little shop selling handmade cigars. Made from a unique blend of anise, banana, honey, tamarind, rice flour and tobacco, you’re paying for the intricate box these are sold in, but they make a great gift for friends and family back home. If you’re not in the mood for shopping, you can ask your boat man to take you to one of the lake’s restaurants, the monastery or the Phaung Daw U Pagoda.
For adventurous types, it’s also possible to explore a little further afield with a boat trip from Inle Lake to the Tharkong Pagoda or Sankar Village. This is a longer trip lasting around three hours each way. Make sure you pack plenty of sun lotion, waterproofs and some warm clothes, as it can be very cold in the early morning out on the water!
There are a couple of things we absolutely love to do when visiting Inle Lake. Renting a mountain bike and cycling the 3 km trail to the Red Mountain Winery for a wine tasting is a great afternoon out, and there’s an on-site restaurant where you can stay for dinner too. On scorching hot sunny days, head for the Htat Eian Cave Temple (make sure you pack a torch) where you can spot Buddha statues inside, as well as locals meditating.
Inle Lake is the perfect place to chill out on your trip to Myanmar and makes a great spot from which to explore the surrounding area by boat. If you’re feeling a bit frazzled after staying in Mandalay or Yangon, or a little worn out from trekking in Hsipaw, this is most definitely the place to come to! We love it for its relaxed vibe, natural beauty and friendly locals – and we think you will too.
Plan your trip to Inle Lake today.