Based in the Shan State, Inle Lake is most famous for its stunning and quite unique floating villages and gardens. It is hugely interesting to see the quirky way of life the locals have here with their whole community based on water. The lake itself is a long 22km in length and 10km wide which is tucked away in a valley with two mountain ranges either side. You will see that all houses are built on stilts with many narrow fishing boats gently pushing their way through the water. Together with fishing handmade crafts makes up most of the local economy to them making it very important. As with all of Myanmar religion plays a huge roll in their day to day lives meaning there are many temples and pagodas which are placed on the water and around its shores. The fish restaurants as you can probably guess are very good due to the wide range of extremely fresh fish on offer. Inle is one the more popular places to visit for tourists in Myanmar so inevitably there will be a few more tourists than some other places in the country however, you should not let this put you off. In many places, the sites are wide enough apart that it is very easy to find an untouristed area which would be much quieter. Getting around the lake is fairly easy. Most boats go from Nyaung Shwe, a few km north and can take you around the lake to wherever you may fancy. The main hotels are also in Nyaung Shwe, but you can pay a little more to get even more beautiful accommodation on the lake itself which in addition boasts some stunning views across the lake. There is a lot to see in the area so try to be careful with your time if you are here for less than about 3 days then do pick carefully what you would like to do. The boat drivers are very helpful so If you have a question then they are more than likely to know the answer and are happy to help.
Key Attractionssee the surroundings
Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda
One of the famous principal shrines in Myanmar, this pagoda houses five small Buddha images. Once a year, the Lights Festival coincident with PhaungDawOo Pagoda festival from end September to early October. The festival revolves around the procession of four sacred images, which usually reside with a fifth image at PhaungDawOo Pagoda for worship by the faithful all year round. For 18 days, the four images are taken out of PhaungDawOo Pagoda and carried in a spectacular procession around the 200 villages dotting Inlay Lake, with an overnight stop at a pagoda in one of the villages.
Ngaphechaung Monastery is located in Inle Lake, on the way to Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda. This is an attractive wooden monastery built on stilts over the lake at the end of the 1850s. Aside from its collection of Buddhas the monastery may be of interest to visit because its monks have taught a few of the many cats living with them to jump through hoops. 25 minutes boat ride to visit and ancient monastery built on huge pieces of teak wood with traditional architecture and see the popular jumping cats leap through the hoops.
The monastery is also known for a collection of old Myanmar’s Buddha images from different areas that are worth seeing. NgaPheChaug is the biggest and oldest monastery on the Inle Lake and is worth visiting for its historical purposes and architecture as well as its cats.
Shwe Indein Pagoda
This mysterious place is one of the small villages of Inle Lake located on the western bank of the lake. A Buddha image has enshrined at a whitewashed stupa, which is on the summit of a hill. Below the stupa around the hill are cluster of hundreds of ancient stupas most are ruins overgrown with bushes. The pagoda hill is quiet and calm. One could feel the pleasant cool breeze with the sweet rings of the bells hanging at the umbrella of the stupa. Mesmerizing view from pagoda hill releases the fatigue and refreshes everybody who ascends to the peak. This mysterious place is at the end of the marvellous Indein creek, which connected with Inle Lake just after the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda.
Mint Thauk Market
Usually the Mint Thauk Market is open after every 5 days. A large and bustling market where one can find a real local atmosphere with a variety of produce from the lake. Other places of interest near the market in the lake are PayaPauk Pagoda, Zakah Village and NgaPheChaung monastery. Accessible by ferry boats in Inle.