Travel Sector Updates

8 Reasons We Love Inle Lake

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Photos - Phoe Nyan

The mystery of a lake lying high in the Shan hills, the enigma of fishermen who balance on one leg and row with the other, the allure of the peace and tranquility of the floating gardens – Inle Lake is place that keeps calling us back. Here are eight reasons to love Inle Lake.

1.       Natural Beauty
Surrounded by beautiful blue mountains, Inle Lake will impress you every time you visit. Add to this the shimmering waters of the lake, floating gardens and bursts of pink water lilies here and there and you’ll be gazing for hours.


 2.       Excellent Food
Shan food is probably the best ethnic cuisine in Myanmar and nowhere is it more fresh and delicious than in Shan State itself.

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The most basic and satisfying is the Shan noodle breakfast but tofu nway (noodles with warm gravy and meat topping) is another delight. The dishes come in a wide array of pleasurable flavours and are rarely served without a side of pickled vegetables to add in. Fried tofu for K1,000? I’ll have another plate please!

 

3.       Cool Weather
Located at about 900 metres above sea level, the lake area is a good deal cooler than other parts of Myanmar.

On our most recent visit, the temperature at Heho Airport (serving the Inle Lake area) was a balmy 23°C while Yangon festered at 36°C. Bring on the chilly evenings and sweaters!


4.      
Wine!

There are two vineyards producing good Myanmar wine and guess what – they are both located near Inle Lake! Red Mountain is on a popular biking circuit and can be easily reached from the town of Nyaung Shwe or the lake. Aythaya Vineyard is a more picturesque and peaceful option located a 30-minute drive away and offers very spectacular sunset views and wonderful food.


5.       Warm Shan People
The locals you will meet at Inle are incredibly warm and hospitable. Simple interactions and even small talk with people you meet along the way make for amicable warmth and fond memories. Lots of people living around Inle have good English and are interested in learning about you and where you come from. Share a smile and make a friend.

6.       Rich Heritage
Hpaung Daw Oo Pagoda, Indein pagoda complex, Jumping Cat Monastery and Inle Heritage are just a few of the great examples of Shan culture and Buddhist history. Workshops where tourists can observe the traditional crafts of lotus and silk weaving, silversmith, cigar making and lotus paper making are aplenty around the lake.


7.      
Outdoor Activities

There are now more outdoor activities available in the Inle Lake area than ever before. Apart from the boat trip around the lake and well-established hiking trails, there are now options for kayaking, horse riding, cooking classes and of course cycling too. Being outdoors and on the move is a fantastic way to take in the unique landscape, meet local villagers and observe rural Myanmar life.

8.      
Accessibility

Flights to Heho for Inle Lake are just an hour long and there are multiple departures from Yangon and other major towns every day. Unfortunately the flight tickets rarely cost less than $90 each way and you should be sure you’re buying a direct ticket or you may be paying a visit to Bagan and Mandalay on your way to the lake! If you have more time (and less cash) on your hands, there are a few bus companies with very comfortable and affordable overnight VIP buses leaving throughout the evening from Yangon. Tickets for the VIP buses cost around $25 and snacks, personal TVs and blankets come as standard.

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Marie is copy editor and writer at My Magical Myanmar since 2016. From Ireland but living in Myanmar for the past five years, she specializes in travel writing and hotel and restaurant reviews. Her writing and photography have been published in numerous local as well as major international publications including Al Jazeera and The Irish Times. Her passion lies with exploring unknown destinations and discovering diverse ethnic cuisines."""

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