Inle Lake, Myanmar

Delicate stilted villages and floating gardens rest on the glistening surface of the lake and its green shores.


Inle Lake is vast and difficult to see where the lake ends and the marshes begin. Nyaungshwe is the main tourist hub and access point to Inle Lake. There is a 15,000 kyat fee to enter the lake area.


Without a doubt the best way to experience Inle Lake in on the water. Head out before dawn to watch the colours of the water change from purple to gold to pastel blue then green as the sun rises. As darkness fades you’ll see Intha fishermen in small wooden canoes.

Spend time visiting the small villages and shops around the lake. Silversmiths and blacksmiths operate in wooden buildings over the water.


Nyaung Ohak & Shwe Inn Thein Paya at Inthein Village
Directly behind the small village of Inthein are the crumbling jungle of stupas known as Nyaung Ohak. Some are almost covered by vines and greenery, disguising detailed carvings of devas and chinthe. Devas are one of many types of non-humans who share the godlike characteristics in Buddhism. Chinthe are lion like creatures known as leogryph, which can be seen in other Southeast Asian countries in varying styles.
Beyond Nyaung Ohak is Shwe Inn Thein Paya, a complex of over 1000 stupas, some of which have been restored.

Nga Hpe Kyaung Monastery 
Also known as The Jumping Cat Monastery because of its unique performances where cats (trained by monks) jump through hoops. The main reason to visit is the collection of Buddha images in Shan, Tibetan, Bagan and Inwa styles.

Shwe Oo Min Natural Cave Pagoda
A complex of natural caves and tunnels filled with buddha images.

Phaung Daw Oo Paya
A beautiful tiered pagoda holds five ancient buddha images, none of which are distinguishable due to the volume of gold leaf applied by devotees. This sacred site is in the village of Tha Lay. In late September or early October the Phaung Daw Oo Paya Festival is held.


Nyaungshwe is the biggest town at the northern end of the lake. There are plenty of backpacker accommodation options.

If you’re looking for a more unique option, Inle Lake features bungalows which sit at the water’s edge.


By Bus
There are frequent buses from Mandalay and Bagan.

Trekking from Kalaw
If you the time and you’re looking for a more rewarding way to travel to Inle Lake, join one of the two or three day treks that pass through rural Myanmar.

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