Home Travel Guide Myanmar Travel Guide Inle Lake Travel Guide

Inle Lake Travel Guide


Inle Lake, located in a basin in the northern highlands of Myanmar, is the second-largest lake in the country. It is a popular summer resort in Myanmar, famous for its floating islands, houses on the water, and fishermen’s superb rowing skills. More than 970 meters above sea level and surrounded by mountains on three sides, the lake boasts very wide and clear waters and a rich aquatic resource with a large variety of fish.

There are more than 30 villages on Inle Lake, where people have been living for generations. Floating on the lake are water gardens, known locally as “floating islands”, which can rise and fall with the lake water’s ebb and flow, and can be rowed around like a boat. The vegetables on the islands will neither be flooded by the lake’s high water nor die from drought.

Top Things to Do in Inle Lake

1. Get a Glimpse of the Local Floating Market

The floating market is one of the features of Inle Lake. It is the largest floating market in Myanmar and is held every five days in several locations on the lake, selling a wide variety of daily necessities, fresh fruits & vegetables, and mountain goods. Besides, tourists will find ethnic handicrafts and souvenirs, such as wood carvings and lacquerware. Generally, the floating market closes before 11 a.m. Be sure to inquire about the exact business hours in advance.

cai rang floarting market

2. Enjoy the Sunset in Red Mountain While Sipping Winery

Red Mountain Estate Vineyards Winery, located on the side of Inle Lake, produces some of Myanmar’s finest wines. Set halfway up a hill, the estate offers excellent views of the northern half of Inle Lake. The winery’s restaurant is semi-open, where visitors can take in a full view of the stunning sunset while sipping wine and snacks.

cai rang floarting market

3. Explore the Ancient Pagoda Forest in Shwe Indein Pagoda

Shwe Indein Pagoda is an ancient relic with fine reliefs, located in the village of Indein, the most important religious area of the Inle Lake region. Visitors can reach the heart of the pagoda on the hill through a corridor of more than 1,000 meters, where you will enjoy a spectacular view of the densely packed pagodas. The oldest of these pagodas is said to date back to 273-232 B.C., but the remaining reliefs are still quite exquisite, especially the nymphs at the entrance, with their vivid expressions and movements.

cai rang floarting market

4. Spenda Leisurely Afternoon at Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

Known locally as the Jumping Cat Temple, it is an all-wooden temple with a history of 155 years and relatively few visitors. A monk in the monastery once had the whim to train a cat to jump through hoops after he happened to catch a glimpse of a cat jumping away from him. Later, more and more cats were successfully trained. Today, there are only about two dozen cats left, and dozing on the floor and enjoying the sun. Spend a pleasant afternoon at this temple, looking out over the green hills and waters of Inle Lake.

cai rang floarting market

5. Be Impressed by the Grand Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival

Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda is the most famous temple in Shan and one of the landmarks of Inle Lake. It is also called the Five Buddha Temple because of the five small Buddha statues from the 12th century that are treasured in the temple. In September and October every year, a grand Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival is held in the Inle Lake area to welcome the Buddha, during which visitors will witness the magnificent scene of five golden Buddhas swimming in the lake carried by a gilded phoenix boat.

cai rang floarting market

6. Have a Unique Perspective on the Culture of the local Long Neck people

Visit some of the local craft villages, such as Ywama, a water village where visitors will meet long-necked women who wear heavy copper rings around their necks. For generations, they have made their living selling handicrafts, including silver jewelry and wood carvings. These women are very good at weaving cloth and making beautiful clothes. If you are interested, you can learn how to use the old loom from them. It will be a very special and interesting experience.

Recommended Itinerary

Inle Lake Weather

Inle Lake is located at an altitude of 1,300 meters above sea level in a highland area with a monsoon climate, featuring three seasons: cool, dry, and rainy, and an average annual temperature of 26 ºC. The cool season from October to February is the best time to visit Inle Lake, when the weather is sunny and the temperature is appropriate, with daytime temperatures between 20 ºC and 30 ºC. However, at night you will experience a significant cooling down.

Boat trips and outdoor hikes in the Inle Lake area are unforgettable experiences during these months. If you visit Inle Lake in October, you are likely to witness the grand Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival, a religious festival where you will see exciting rowing competitions and the sight of gilded boats carrying golden Buddhas around the lake.

April is the hottest month in Inle Lake, with the highest temperature rising to 38 ºC. The region’s rainy season begins in May and ends in October, during which the roads are muddy and not suitable for outdoor activities.


☛ See also: Myanmar Weather & Best Time to Visit Myanmar

Inle Lake Transportation

How to Get to Inle Lake

Visitors can get to Inle Lake in three ways – by plane, train, and long-distance bus.

1. By Plane

Air is the most comfortable and time-saving way to get to the Inle Lake area. Heho Airport (HEH) is the closest airport to Inle Lake, about 55 minutes by car. Visitors can take direct flights from Yangon, Bagan, and Mandalay to Heho Airport. It takes about 1 hour to fly to Heho from Yangon and costs about US$110; 25 minutes from Mandalay, about $55; 45 minutes from Bagan, about $75 (fares vary depending on low and high seasons).

Upon arrival at Heho Airport, you can take a local taxi to Inle Lake, which costs about 25,000 kyats (US$12).

cai rang floarting market

2. By Train

Shwe Nyaung Train Station, 12 km north of Inle Lake, is the closest train station to the Inle Lake area. The train ride will reward you with beautiful scenery along the way, but you will expect a very slow-moving speed.

Usually, traveling from Yangon to Shwe Nyaung by train takes about 24 hours, with several stops, and is not the best option. The trains are not very frequent and tourists have to buy tickets in advance. You are suggested to book your train tickets through a local travel agency or your hotel front desk and ask for a transfer service.

3. By Long-distance Bus

The coach is a convenient option for traveling in Myanmar and is very popular among backpackers because of its high-cost performance. Generally speaking, it takes around 8 hours to get to Inle Lake by bus from Banga.

Since there is no bus station in the Inle Lake area, tourists need to reach Shwe Nyaung Bus Station first and then take a taxi to Inle Lake ( about 30 minutes, 3,000 kyats). Many bus companies, travel agencies, and hotels offer shuttle services from Shwe Nyaung Bus Station to the Inle Lake area, saving tourists the trouble of making the transfer themselves.

How to Get around Inle Lake

1. Motor Boats

Motor boats are the most common means of transportation and certainly the best way to get around Inle Lake, with prices ranging from about 15,000-20,000 kyats (US$7.2-9.6) per day. Tourists can book in advance at the hotel reception or a local travel agency. The regular excursions are the floating village & the handicraft workshops – the floating vegetable garden – The Jumping Cat Temple – Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda. If you want to visit Indein Village, you need to pay an extra 5,000 kyats.

2. Chartered Cars

Chartered Car is another way to get around Inle Lake, which is quite convenient. Visitors need to transfer to chartered cars to go to some places that cannot be reached by wooden boats, such as the Red Mountain Estate Vineyards Winery.

3. Bicycles

Cycling around the Inle Lake region, with the fresh air and green mountain views, is a great experience. There are many local stores offering bicycle rental services. In addition, you can rent bicycles directly from the hotel where you are staying. If you need to change to a boat during the tour, you can take your bike on board.

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