The penultimate stop on our ‘big 4’ tour was the majestic Inle Lake, and if you’re looking for peace and tranquility in Myanmar look no further. Here we cover all the things to do in Inle Lake as well everything you need to know about the Inle Lake tour.
Things To Do In Inle Lake – Inle Lake Tour
With Yangon and Bagan complete, and Mandalay just around the corner, Inle Lake was a standout attraction amongst the temples and pagodas of Myanmar.
Hotels In Inle Lake
Usually we put this section at the end of our blogs although one of the first things you should know is that you don’t actually stay at hotels in Inle Lake…unless you’re super rich.
The general spot for most tourists is the town of Nyaung Shwe. Located just north of the lake and home to many souvenir shops and even western style restaurants, Nyaung Shwe is the best place to base yourself for your stay in Inle. So we’ve listed a few hotels in Inle Lake matching anyones budget.
Luxury – Villa Inle Resort & Spa – A great opportunity to sleep in style and wake up in luxury right on the lake itself.
Mid-Budget – View Point Eco Lodge Nyaung Shwe – Perfectly located, super spacious and great service.
Budget – Ostello Bello Nyaung Shwe – sleep at the most talked about and highly rated hostel in all of Myanmar. Everyone backpacking Myanmar will come across an Ostello Bello at one point or least hear about it more than enough times.
You can check out the prices of other places to stay in Nyaung Shwe here.
The price for entrance into the Inle zone itself is 13,500 Kyat. Don’t be surprised when the bus pulls up on the side of the highway and an officer stomps on demanding money…it means you’ve reached Inle.
The cost of hiring a boat and driver for the day varies but luckily, like everything in Asia is negotiable. We ended up paying 18,000 Kyat for the day – we shared this between four people so it was a pretty inexpensive trip considering we were out from 8am until sunset – well worth £3 per person.
The Boat Route & Inle Lake Tour
So most tours will have a route set out and if they don’t you can just tell them exactly where you’d like to go and what you’d like to see. Here are a few of the most popular tourist attractions:
These are impossible to miss. Gathered around the entrance/exit to the lake are the dancing fishermen. Balancing on one leg and showcasing the way in which they use their feet to control the oars, they are definitely interesting to watch and have mastered the art of Burmese dinner catching.
Inle Lake Markets
There are a choice of a few different markets around Inle Lake. One of many people’s favourite things to do in Inle Lake. Depending on which day you visit, your guide can take you for a bit of morning retail therapy.
Gold Smith & Silver Workshops
Producing gold and silver from its rawest form, the locals will guide you through a step by step process of how they make a living creating the beautiful jewellery you see on Burmese markets.
Burmese Cigarette Making
Take everything you know about your usual cigarettes and replace the ingredients with natural plant based substances. A combination of lake grown tobacco and corn husk filters all tightly rolled into a palm leaf and fixed together with sticky honey glue will have you mesmerised by how they utilise local resources. Also the workers are a bunch of crazy characters!
The Floating Gardens
Because everybody needs a vegetable patch, even if you live in the middle of a lake. Built and grown on a bamboo structure above the water the floating gardens will put your grandma’s greenhouse to shame!
Silk, Lotus & Cotton Hand Weaving Centres
From a lotus flower to a silk shirt – would you believe it. Watch another step by step guide through the family run factories of fabric production Burmese style.
Jumping Cat Monastery
There was something very different and some what special about this monastery. The little markets at the back gave a chance to grab afternoon snacks and also interact with some of the local children. Oh, and in case you’re wondering about the name…yes…expect a lot of furry friends!
Long Neck Tribe
This one is pretty self explanatory so enjoy the cultural experience. You have to meet these women. Make sure you put at the top of your list of things to do in Inle Lake.
Villages On Stilts
Not really a stop on the Inle Lake tour but more of a passing by, and an opportunity to take in the houses and local restaurants the people of Inle Lake have created. We’re all for alternative ways of living but this was something else!
Sunset On Inle Lake
Now there’s nothing more beautiful and relaxing than taking in a sunset. On Inle lake it was extra enjoyable because it forces you to sit back and take a moment and appreciate where you are.
Other Things To Do In Inle Lake?
Hire bicycles! The town of Nyaungshwe is worthy of a day exploring itself. We recommend grabbing a set of wheels and touring the markets, as well as the many restaurants and local monasteries.
Where To Eat
Taj Mahal Indian Restaurant – An absolute gem if, like us, you fancy a curry in Inle. The best curry we found throughout the whole of Myanmar and it was run by a lovely local family.
One Owl Grill – If you fancy something a bit more western, then this pub/grill has everything from burgers to hummus and pita.
For more things to do in Myanmar and which route to take, make sure to check out our break down – Things To Do In Myanmar – Our Myanmar Itinerary
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