The sharper edge to traveling in Asia

WoWasis Top 6 sights in Inle Lake, Burma

Written By: herbrunbridge - Jun• 30•10

Fishing on Burma’s Inle Lake

Welcome to Inle Lake, one of Southeast Asia’s most picturesque and relaxing spots. Here, we at WoWasis found boatmen who power their wooden crafts by wrapping one leg around an oar, then pulling the oar through the water.  Their conical fishing nets add a wonderful local touch, and you’ll see them everywhere on this calm lake ringed by hills, and measuring 22 km by 10 km. The Intha people occupy the lake area, and there are 17 stilted villages, and several lakeside markets here. You’ll also find over 100 Buddhist temples or shrines, hundreds of stupas, and a flourishing crafts culture, encompassing weaving, blacksmithing, and cheroot-rolling. Tour Inle Lake now!

The pretty town of Nyaungshwe is on the northern side of the lake, and worth a short visit.  There are lakeside resorts that have wonderful views, and anything you can’t find at your hotel, you can certainly buy by paying a few kyat and hiring a small boat and boatman to take you to Nyaungshwe. 

On a day’s outing, hire a boat (your hotel will assist) to take you to markets, temples, and craftspeople, who operate in small shops or factories.   All are accessible by water channels leading outward from the alike. Cost for a day’s outing is roughly $10 USD. 

Top 6 Highlights 

1)  The town of Nyaungshwe boasts beautiful wooden buildings, and is worth a walk.  There are many temples (paya) in town, including the oldest, Yadana Man Aung, which has a stepped stupa.  While in Nyaungshwe, don’t fail to see the Museum of Shan Chiefs, located in a teak and masonry palace that was the home of the last Shan Prince, who died in Burmese captivity.  It’s the best surviving example of a Shan palace in Burma, and features Shan costumes, furniture, and a throne room.  The palace is a short carriage ride from the boat landing.

Museum of Shan Chiefs (Yaunghwe Haw Museum)
Open Tuesday through Sunday, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm

2)  Floating markets 

These operate on a five-day revolving plan, and are located at several spots around the lake.  The evening before your visit, ask your hotel to book you a boat to the market of the following day, and get there early to avoid the heat and tourist crowds. 

3)  Phaung Daw U Paya 

This impressive temple sits above the village of Ywama.  Each year, at the Phaung Daw U festival (September-October), four deities are taken around the lake, and you can see them enshrined here, and view the colorful boats which ferry them at the boat landing. 

4)  Indein village 

The impressive Shwe Inn Thein temple sits above the village of Indein, and the immediate area is filled with picturesque ruined stupas.  A long, covered walkway takes you to the temple, and you can find interesting artifacts in the stalls set up along the path.  The buildings are largely unrestored, and the veneer of the ages provides a charm not found in modernized temples. 

5)  Nga Phe Kyaung (Jumping Cat Monastery) 

Located a short distance north of Ywama is this beautiful wooden monastery built on stilts.  The monastery is famous for the cats that monks have trained to jump through hoops, but the highlights here are the architecture, lakeside views, and the Shan, Inwa, and Bagan styles. 

6)  Crafts villages 

On your visits to the markets, Phaung Daw U Paya, and Nga Phe Kyaung, ask for boatman to stop at a weaving factory, the blacksmith’s shop, and cheroot factory.  Several of these line the lake, and the goods are made by hand.  Here at WoWasis, we were impressed by the hand-forged scissors, which have the name of the shop stamped into the blade.  They make great gifts for friends at home, and never seem to get dulled. 


There are many in the area, but our favorite, right on the lake, was:
Royal Orchid Hotel
Inlay Khaung Daing Village
Tel: +(95) 812-919 

Getting to Inle Lake is easy by airplane from Mandalay, which takes you to the airport at Heho, a 40 km taxi ride from Nyaungshwe.   You can also take buses from Mandalay (8 hours) and Rangoon (overnight). The bus stops at the town of Taunggyi, 35 km from Inle Lake, and you can take a taxi.  Ask for bus information to Inle Lake at your hotel. From Bagan, you can fly to Mandalay, then take another flight to Heho, or travel by taxi (approximately $40 USD). Take a fascinating one-day tour of the Inle Lake area!

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.