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
After exploring beautiful Bagan and Kalaw, it was time to explore further in Inle Lake. There are two ways 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.
If you don’t have your flights to Myanmar yet, check out ways to book the cheapest fares here or here. but if planning and booking your trip is a hassle, let me help! Contact me now.
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:
Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II Digital Camera
This has been my favorite Camera so far. I love how my pictures come out crisp and colorful. It also has a screen which is useful when vblogging. You can check out what I meant on my Instagram which is here.
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This is the good old Go pro that I take with me everywhere. I recommend it because it is small, lightweight and waterproof. I have had made many memories with this trusted item and looking forward to more.
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I have been using SanDisk since my first camera which was back in 2009. They build quality memory cards. I recommend getting at least two, just in case something happens to one of them.
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21 thoughts on “Inle lake travel guide (updated 2020)”
Incredible post, Anna. Love the pictures you shared of Myanmar. Looks like an amazing place!
Thank you for sharing your travel story in Myanmar. Such a wonderful experience. Love the pictures!
Looks like a wonderful time! I would love to see the lotus weaving! Something that doesn’t happen in workshops near me so seeing something cultural to them is fascinating
Thanks for sharing your adventure with us! It looks like great fun!
What an awesome adventure! This area looks truly wonderful!
OH goodness. This looks so inviting. I”m jealous that I don’t live closer.
So adventurous. Thanks for sharing your travel experience with us. Your pictures are lovely.
This place looks so inviting and has so diverse culture. All the pictures are really lovely. Thanks for sharing.!!
first of all your pictures are beautiful, the color is amazing. I love this little discovered Lake and hope it keeps traditions as they are beautiful and real. Looks like you had a great experience. I would love this adventure
Dying to visit. This is so interesting, I love to travel and visit other cultures. Probably someday I’ll go and for sure I’ll follow your recommendations.
What an adventure! I wish I was brave enough to travel, but I’m a cozy homebody. However, if you never leave home, you never experience anything new, and that’s sad.
Myanmar has always been on my bucket list and now I have to add Inle lake to it.
This is such a beautiful destination. You did a great job of preparing any visitor to have a wonderful time there. It’s important to plan ahead when travelling.
Oh my goodness, what an amazing place! Your photos are beautiful as well! I love the picture of the lotus weaving!
We are planning to do a 6 country asian tour and Myanmar is included. Good thing I came across your blog. This gave me an insight!
This location is so very picturesque with a treasure trove of artisans to see. What was it like wearing one of the long neck necklaces? I think I could maybe wear that for two minutes tops!
Beautiful pictures looks like you had an awesome time. We would love to visit one day, this is on our bucket list
Beautiful pictures. Not to take away from your post about lake Myanmar, but your red jumpsuit is very pretty
I am planning to visit Myanmar soon and i am thinking of considering visiting Inle Lake. It looks pretty interesting and it sounds so much fun!
I loved my trip around this area, meeting and talking to the local tribes. The food is also amazing.
Great pictures and post about Lake Myanmar. I would visit, by the way, your red jumpsuit CUTE!!