Today I am sharing the Inle lake travel guide. It will include how to get to Inle Lake, things to do, where to eat and more.
Please note this is not a ‘top ten list’. I’m just sharing some of the things I enjoyed while I was there.
Inle lake travel guide
How to get to Inle Lake
One of the ways is through 3 days trekking from Kalaw. But I had enough trekking done by this point. So, I opted for a second option which is a 2 hours minivan ride. Turns out the minivan DOES NOT drop you off at the Inle Lake. It stops at Nyaungshwe, which is the town 20mins far from Inle Lake.
Something worth mentioning is, most Inle Lake tours leave from Nyuangshwe and, after a day exploring the lake, return to Nyuangshwe. It might sound nice to some but there is nothing to see here except the bars, restaurants, and stray dogs.
If you have met and chatted with fellow travelers in the minivan then you might be sharing the cost of the cab to Inle lake or if you are on your own, haggle a bit before agreeing on the final price. Cab price varies between 20000-60000 Kyat depending on the location of your hotel in Inle Lake.
So, before heading to Inle Lake, coffee and lunch were needed to refresh and restart the day! Glad to report both items were pretty good at viewpoint eco-lodge, restaurant. The view is from the roof of the restaurant.
Note: There is a domestic airport at He Ho an hour away from Inle Lake if you require it.
Where to stay in Inle Lake
Seeing the sunrise over the lake with a cup of tea in my hand from my bathtub (although it was a cloudy morning), seeing the sunset over the lake with a glass of fancy cocktail in hand and sleeping in a hotel overlooking Inle Lake – the ease of the private boat tour and the nature surrounding in the background is a dream setup! If you want to truly explore Inle Lake, make sure your travel includes all of the above (cocktail: optional). All of the above were possible at the stay in Ananta Inle Hotel. You can check their cost per night and book it here, or here.
For Food, Ananta Inle served free breakfast, BLT sandwich with fries was great and dinner was decent too. I tried a Burmese meal. You can watch the quick food videos here -> check out the “Myanmar” stories on Instagram.
I spent the afternoon watching the sunsets over the lake with a cocktail. Then took me to dinner, WIFI fix and slept like a baby.
And, with all that in mind, here’s the
Inle lake travel guide
What to do in Inle Lake
What follows is a summary of my private tour organized by the hotel.
The standard private boat tours are usually set up as a full-day tour, but you can tailor it to suit you. It was a cloudy day and I didn’t want to be stuck in a boat all day. So, instead of a full day boat tour, I went with half but note that the price didn’t change!
The next morning, after breakfast, a private boat was waiting outside the hotel.
The first ‘sight’ on my boat tour of Inle Lake was the houses and hotels built on stilts with wooden legs out of the water! That was impressive! Tourism is only just starting to blossom on Inle Lake, where locals are slowly opening their doors to foreigners. I figured manual labour is the mainstay of the people here, and the local market sails into town only once a week.
Local people are known as Itha which means the children of the lake, and they live from the lake’s resources. Whether it be floating veggie garden or fishing. Although the boat driver spoke no English, he pointed out the tomatoes on the lake. It was interesting to see the farming done on the lake!
Then, I saw some local fishermen who were expertly balancing at the back of their boat. I’d seen this unique style of fishing online before I got to Inle Lake but to see it live in action was a “Waah” moment!
The second stop was to witness the rare art of lotus weaving. A local Burmese girl explained how the lotus weaving works. This is a rare process because it’s labor-intensive and because many Burmese are Buddhist; I read that not many local people prepared to make silk because it requires them to kill the silkworm. Hence they prefer the lotus scarfs. This was a new experience for me as I didn’t know lotus stem can be used for scarf making!
Silversmith was the third place we went to. There is a lot that goes into the whole process of finding the stone to the finished material. It was great to see the silver making art in person. Somewhere it occurred to me, perhaps they wanted us to buy some of these things but there was no pressure of any kind.
The next one was, the tobacco rolling craft! You have to watch the quick video to understand how they roll it! I don’t smoke and don’t encourage smoking but let me just say, cigarettes are wrapped in churro leaves and tobaccos are mixed with different flavors. Such as mint, banana, and cinnamon flavors.
Where there are people, there are pagodas that are so true in Myanmar! After passing a bunch of them, my boat made a stop in front of a house which at the entrance looked like a shop but I quickly notice the 3 long neck ladies sitting across the balcony.
The final stop was to meet the ladies from the long neck tribe. Though I had met them before on the golden triangle in Chaing Mai, Thailand, it seemed like a better option than visiting more pagodas.
I had the opportunity to sit down with them, say hello, watch them weave, check out their cool gold neckwear, lucky to try some myself, and take some photographs as well as share a smile.
It’s hard to guess if they feel like celebrities when people take their photos or unhappy being sat down as some kind of show materials for money! (There was a tips basket next to the ladies which meant after you take pictures, drop some kyat)
The elder long neck lady was inside the shop weaving. It looked like they had piles of woven wares for sale. The shop was also selling rare stones such as ruby, sapphire, pearls and stylish pieces of jewelry.
If you want to watch the quick videos from Inle Lake check out the “Myanmar” stories on Instagram.
I hope this Inle lake travel guide helped you!
What I used to take these photos:
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