Top 10 Reasons to Visit Inle Lake, Myanmar
1. Iconic Place in Myanmar
Inle Lake is the second largest lake in Myanmar(formerly known as Burma). The freshwater lake is located Nyaungshwe or Nyaung Shwe in Shan State District and a part of the Shan Hills. Home of the famous floating villages, farm gardens, markets and the traditional fishermen.
There's an entrance fee when you get in town so prepare those kyat bills ahead of time. The money could be use for conservation and registration purposes.
Inle Lake Compulsory Tourist Entrance Fee: 12,500 Kyat/ 10 USD/ 10 EURO
2. Experience the long boat tour
It's not everyday that you get to ride a long boat in a beautiful lake. The most traditional way of making your way around the lake passing by floating villages and gardens. Make sure to bring a jacket with you as it gets really cold in the early morning and at the same time bring along a hat, your sunglasses, bottled water and sunblock as the temperature changes after the sunrise, the heat will tear you down so protect your skin and hydrate yourself.
When we reached the town of Ngaung Shwe early in the morning a boat operator approached us and offered us a deal right away. If we were wide awake we could have haggled with the price.
Boat Tour: 25,000 Kyat
3. Beautiful Sunrise
I'm a big fan of this gigantic ball of fire staring down at planet earth with all its might. When I'm in a new country I would try to see the sun in different angles, despite knowing we are sharing the same sunlight around the world. However, the feel of each sunrise and sunset in new places is extremely unique in every way.
A love Inle Lake the serenity of the calm water is a perfect match with the invigorating sunrise in the horizon. It's not a common place to see the first light of the day in a lake which makes it a definite bucketlist when in Myanmar.
This image reminds me of milk somehow, I can't explain it in words. Try to get a glass of milk and taste it, and that's how weird I am Ahahahaa.
4. The Unique Art of Fishing
This is definitely the number one reason to visit Inle Lake. The traditional way of fishing is so unique it will leave you mesmerize. The fishermen in Inle lake has mastered the technique of rowing using one leg, yes you read that right, as they effortlessly balance on the edge of the boat.
5. Floating Villages
A different kind of community nestled on the banks of Inle Lake. They have approximately 14 villages nestled around the lake. When we were making our way to one village I was worried when I saw the archway from a far, you will need precise boat skills here as the you are just given a small passage through the bridge. They also have this in Thailand but the ones in Myanmar boast a unique factor, and that is that the village is settled quietly in a lake instead of the river.
On our to another village we saw long boats fully booked with passengers making their way to the mainland. The birds hover on top of their heads as the boat speeds up to their destination. Don't forget to say Hello and Wave back with a smile when the kids wave at you. You are entering their water world, a place different from where you are used to, be kind and humble to say grace to their welcoming hearts.
6. Farm Gardens
Unique Argricultural Farming. This is the only farm I've seen in a lake. The farmers get on their boat and rows from here and there to cultivate the land and to take a look at their produce.
7. Silk, Metal, Silver Shophouse
Check out the villagers workplace and hand-made products. Everything is well made so bring along kyat bills to purchase some of the items.
I personally love the silk factory. Love and dedication are seen in their products. The old folks of Inle Lake still has the magic in their hands to create such beautiful silk tops, scarves and more. Seeing the authenticity of the products makes sense why they sell the items at a higher price.
8. Pagoda in the Lake
Check out the Hpaung Daw Oo or Phaung Daw Oo, a pagoda which can only be reached by boat in Inle Lake. It houses 5 buddhas in its monastery, they said every year around end of September or early week of October they have this festival where the buddhas are placed in a golden barge and conveyed in all 14 villages followed by devotees on a boat.
9. Lake Store
Another favorite of mine is passing by this unique store in the village. It reminded of Philippines "sari-sari store" or convenient store in English. I excitedly pointed at it like a little kid who just spotted an ice cream truck. I find this truly amusing to be rowing to a store and buying some stuff then row back home again. I bet the villagers here have fine,strong upper arm muscles while the fishermen has those metal block like calves they got from rowing the whole day. A town with herculean characteristics hiding from the chaos of the world.
10. The Feel
Lastly, it's not just about the scenery and the unique environment. It's seeing right before your very eyes the simplicity of their life. The calmness they feel with every stroke they put their stride on in the waters. How the birds joyously walks on water like its a normal thing for a bird to be doing. The mysterious mist in the morning, how it all clears up when the sun shows up in the morning light. All can be explained in science but the human hearts knows a deeper sense of wisdom. It's our connection with nature.
I haven't traveled to Africa where the river talks to people in some way but I have cultivated my wanderlust soul to have an intimate relationship with nature. Seeing how the people love Inle Lake makes me feel happy that people and nature are intertwined in a beautiful way. Carbon to Carbon. I feel like mentioning the compound as we are all and should be working hand in hand with nature.
Inle Lake is a must see when in Myanmar. Make sure to visit the lake when you're in town and experience its magical beauty.