Inle Lake – 3 Attractions to Keep You Entertained for 1 Day
March 24, 2018
The scenic Inle Lake is well known for the unique lifestyle of the Intha people and famous for its floating villages and gardens. The lake sits in a valley between two mountain ranges and the Intha people live in wooden houses built on stilts on the lake. I was very fascinated by how the Intha people adapt to their way of life. Do you know that they even grow their vegetables on floating gardens secured to the bottom of the lake with bamboo stakes? If you are fortunate enough to chance upon the local fishermen, you will notice their unique style of rowing the boat. Seeing them balance on one leg while using the other leg to push the oar through the water is a rare sight.
Due to the packed itinerary planned by the Myanmar Tourism Board, I only had a day to explore Inle Lake. You can consider the following 3 attractions when you are planning your itinerary.
There is a total of 1,054 ancient pagodas in many shapes, colours, textures and sizes at the Indein Village. While some are undergoing various states of preservation, others are in their original crumbling state. Follow the 700-metres covered walkway which leads up to the Shwe Inn Tain pagodas. The walkway is lined with stalls where vendors sell Shan shoulder bags, longyis, shirts and other items. There is also a market at the village where the Pa-Oh people who live in the surrounding hills sell their crops. You can also find beautiful handicrafts, local snacks, and souvenirs at the market.
Inle Heritage at Innpawkhon Village
Inle Heritage is a non-profit organization that looks after the cultural and natural heritage of the Inle Region, and helps it grow into a great place to live, work and visit. You can head to the restaurant to enjoy Intha and Shan cuisine on the lake. The recipes have been passed down by the older generation and they are open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. If you really love the food, you can learn to source for the food on the lake and cook authentic traditional Intha and Shan cuisine with the chef. There is a small Burmese Cat Village located here too. The family of repatriated pure-breed Burmese cats will steal your hearts. The Inle Heritage also provides accommodation for visitors, and there is a gift shop where you can get souvenirs.
Address: Innpawkhon Village, Inle Lake, Shan State, Myanmar
Contact: +95(9) 452 793 530 for accommodation and +95(9) 4931 2970, 528 1035 for dining reservation
Ywama Village & Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda
Ywama is a typical example of a traditional Inle Lake settlement, which is probably why this place is extremely touristic. You have to go early in the morning to avoid the crowds. The village is most renowned for its floating market. The Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, one of the holiest sites in Shan State, visited by Buddhist worshippers from all around Myanmar, is located here. The shrine is huge and features five ancient golden Buddhas. Pop by any of the restaurants along the canal leading to Ywama village to have a taste of local Shan food. You can also drop by any traditional silk weaving workshop to learn more about Myanmar textiles.
Where to Stay
I was hosted at the Aureum Palace Hotel & Resort at Inle Lake. The views from the villa and from the patio of the restaurant where I had breakfast are amazing. Guests who stay at this hotel are able to take the boats directly from the hotel and enjoy their journey and discovery of Inle Lake conveniently.
There is another accommodation, the Inle Princess Resort, which I stopped by for a sunset dinner at their restaurant. This resort is sheltered in a peaceful inlet on the Eastern shore, beneath the Blue Mountains that range across the high Shan plateau. The resort is very strict with regards to preserving the serenity in the area so motorized boats have to switch off their engines and the boatmen have to roll the boat in.
Inle Lake is one of Myanmar’s most popular destinations for travellers so always be firm with the boatmen and your guide when it comes to the places which you want to visit. Or else, you may be taken to many handicraft workshops where the guides get commission on sales. Not only did I get a glimpse into the local Intha people’s lifestyle, I also learnt more about the heritage and savoured scrumptious traditional cuisine. This was certainly a fruitful trip!