Inle Lake, Myanmar
Inle Lake is surrounded by high mountains, and there are 17 villages on its shores. Artificial floating plantations made of hyacinth roots and algae plow the surface of the lake – peasants arrange beds and grow tomatoes on them. And in the large backwaters of the lake, water buffalo bathe – huge, but quite harmless. In the middle of the lake, the Jumping Cats Monastery was built on stilts, where only six monks live today – and they really tame and train cats. Once every five days, the natives arrange a floating market on the lake, gathering on boats in one heap. You can buy almost everything there: souvenirs, papyri, fruits, marine life, rugs embroidered with gold and silver threads, horsehair lacquer boxes (from 5 USD), teak wood carvings (around 15 USD). See citypopulationreview.com for weather information.
The best time to visit Inle Lake is September-October, when boats glowing with bright lights fill the lake for three weeks on the occasion of the sacred Paungdo U festival.
How to get there
From Bagan can be reached by bus. You can rent a minibus for 70000-80000 MMK. You can also take a bus from Yangon to Taunggyi passing through Bago. The cost is about 20000 MMK.
How to navigate
From the west, Ruau Rd stretches along the lake, which starts from the People’s Park and goes into the Yangon-Pyi highway, and from the east – Kaba Aye Pagoda Rd from Kandoji Lake to the airport. On the east side, the buildings of the embassies of Bangladesh, Cambodia and the Sedona Hotel are located. Behind the lake is the 34-meter Kaba Aye Pagoda, or Peace Pagoda.
Cuisine and restaurants
At Phaung Daw Pyan Street, there is a small family cafe where the menu contains only pancakes flavored with various fillings: vegetables, fish, chicken, cheese, jams, condensed milk and fruits. The cost of a serving is 1500–3500 MMK. Surprisingly good homemade yogurt, especially with honey. There is a cafe right next to the Teakwood guesthouse.
You can buy fresh fruits and vegetables, traditional lanji skirts, sweets in Yawnghwe village. A paradise for gluttons: from early morning until late at night, cauldrons of soups and vogues with fried meat are boiling on the streets. The most delicious Shan noodle soup, fresh river fish barbecue, coconut buns, bean patties and peanut cakes.
Attractions and attractions Inle
Near the lake, between two mountain ranges, the town of Nyaung Shwe is stuck, the starting point for traveling on the lake for all tourists. Almost the entire built of wood, undersized town is saturated with the atmosphere of the Wild West. You can stay at the Paradise Hotel, where a bungalow will cost 40 USD per night. Here you can rent a boat and start exploring the lake. Hikers will appreciate hiking in the mountains. A four-hour climb up the mountain, visiting the tracery villages of the White Pa-O tribe along the way, lunch at the monastery at the highest point of the area, a walk through the bamboo forest and again descending to the lake, from where a helpful motor boat takes you back to the city – a day full of impressions and self-satisfaction, secured.
A feature of this area is floating gardens.
The wooden temple in Nyaung Shwe, built of teak wood, is the oldest temple in Myanmar.
5 things to do in Inle Lake
- To make sure that the inhabitants of the coastal villages know how to skillfully control the oars with their feet.
- Stay overnight in an exotic “floating” hotel on stilts. The cost of a double room is from 80 USD. You can get there in an hour by boat from Nyaung Shwe Pier.
- Float in the hot springs near the town of Nyaung Shwe.
- Watch how clothes are made from lotus stems and other plants at a mini factory in Nyaung Shwe. Here you can also buy unusual clothes with national ornaments.
- It is good to buy an antique sword or dagger from the early 20th century, which can be bought at local markets for all sorts of things for 20-35 USD.
The Maitau village is built on the water, instead of streets and avenues there are canals, cute houses stand on stilts. The traditional life of the Burmese here is visible in full detail. On the mountain you can find a small forest monastery with an excellent viewing platform, and on the bridge leading to the village, local women in colorful robes crowd in the evenings, meeting tired husbands from fishing. There is a small cafe for tourists, the souvenir shop is constantly replenished with products made by the hands of local residents.
In the village of Indein, the Indein Monastery is guarded by a winding canal because the oldest stupa, over two thousand years old, is of great historical value to the Burmese. To get here, you need to take a boat up one of the channels in the western part of the lake.
The village of Iwama turns into the busiest place on the lake once every five days: there is a thriving boat trade. There is even a danger of getting stuck in a water “cork”. But it is better to buy souvenirs on the shore, where the assortment is larger, and prices are more readily discounted.
Temple Phaung Daw Oo
Temple Phaung Daw Oo, in the sanctuary of which five small figures of Buddha live, plastered with golden petals of tourists and pilgrims beyond recognition. Tranquility and silence are the main attractions of this area.