A freshwater lake perched in the Shan Hills of Myanmar, Inle Lake is part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. Floating gardens give the lake a serene ambience, accentuated by the tiered Phaung Daw Oo Paya pagoda on its south-west side, which is decorated with gilded Buddhas.
Various Buddhist temples loom over small Inthein fishing boats propelled by the unique local tradition of leg-rowing. On boat-racing days, you can watch the leg-rowers compete while dressed in traditional Shan clothing. Near the stilt-house village of Inthein, you’ll find dozens of stupas at Shwe Inn Dein Pagoda.
Shopping is a big reason for visiting Inle Lake, as you’ll find a variety of handmade goods at roaming village markets. Silversmithing produces an array of silver jewellery, while silk workshops along the lake produce high-quality silk fabrics known as Inle longvi, often used for Buddha lotus robes. You’ll also find Shan handbags, wood carvings and cheroot cigars.
Getting around Inle Lake
You can travel to Inle Lake area from Heho Airport, which is about 35 kilometres from Nyaungshwe, the main transportation hub for Lake Inle. From there, you can take a bus, taxi, minivan or thoun bein motorcycle trishaw to the lake.