Inle Lake in Myanmar is one of the iconic tourist attractions in Shan State, for both grand overland tour and Mekong River Cruises. More and more people have come to cherish the tranquility of the lake, and especially, the leg-rowing style. As long as you’ve heard about the leg-rowers in Myanmar, then a to-go place is Inle Lake.
About Inle Lake in Myanmar
Inle Lake is a shallow, sincere, and spacious lake in the central region of Myanmar, in the southeast of Mandalay. It has the length of 22km and is the home to the friendly inhabitants who are famous for the exotic rowing style. Here, they use one leg to row well and the other leg to stand firmly on the boat. People living in Inle Lake might belong to various tribes. While the tribes make the areas around the lake lively and interesting, the lake itself sometimes look completely tranquil for the true comfort. Some travelers truly appreciate the time they relax and refresh in Inle Lake. What’s more, there are some floating vegetable gardens on the lake which make it green. And, on the bank of the lake, you see the colorful morning markets held up by the tribes, the stilted villages, and the silk and weaving craft shops. The boat trip to Inle Lake is not only stopping at sightseeing the local workshops, the markets, or the pagodas, but it also allows you to witness the distinctive leg-rowing style of the Intha residents who might use traditional conical nets to catch fish or taking care vegetables on the floating gardens. Interestingly, Inle Lake is where to celebrate the unique Leg Rower’s Running Race during the Inlay Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival in September or October. Discover what to see in Inle Lake before requesting the professional Burma Travel Agency to customize your own trip!
What to See in Inle Lake
Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery
This is a beautiful and significant monastery made from wood and erected in the early 19th century. The monastery includes the red-painted wood design with the oval windows and fascinatingly adorned with mosaics and the gilded ornaments. You now can easily arrive at the Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery in the area between Heho Airport and Inle Lake. From afar, the red-painted teak monastery attracts every eye. It owns the different decoration and carvings from the royal monasteries and religious sites in Mandalay. Differently, this monastery is dedicated to giving the poor regional boys the shelter and education. The monastery could be divided into two parts; one is the dormitory for the monks to live and the other is a temple with the beautifully carved ceiling and Buddha statues.
Nga Hpe Kyaung: Wooden Pagoda
This is a woodenpagodaerected on the stilts over the Inle Lake even 4 years before the building of Mandalay Palace. The pagoda itself is holy and praiseworthy with the ornate wooden architecture and mosaic decoration. Besides, Nga Hpe Kyaung has the popular name as Jumping Cat Monastery becausethe monks in this place do training some cats to leap through the little hoops. The Buddha statues in the monastery are also special in the Shan, Tibetan, Bagan, and Inwa styles. Believably, most of the art in the monastery is more than 100 years old. Just don’t miss it!
Nampan Village: with stilted houses and floating gardens
Nampan is a village built on the stilts over the water, including the stilted houses and floating gardens. If you are curious about the traditional villages in Inle Lake, then the village of Nampan is the fantastic example. Coming to Nampan, you can expect to meet the established hand-made cigar (called cheroot) factories and the significantly oldest pagoda in the area namely AlodawPauk Pagoda. Besides the long-lasting attractions, this village is now pictured with the contemporary restaurants and guesthouses. Anyhow, the floating gardens are the major highlights in Nampan where to meet various vegetables and flowers. These gardens reflect the traditional technique of agriculture in Inle Lake.
In Paw Khone Village: with silk weaving workshops
Whenever talking about In Paw Khone Village, there cannot help pointing out the major strength: the silk weaving workshops. In the area of Inle Lake, the kind of thin weave in the plain color is popular and kept by the generations of residents. In particular, to weave a robe for a monk, there needs to use the fibers from 120,000 stems of the dark pink lotus. At present, the dried lotus is also used to weave the scarves. So, just visit In Paw Khone, you’re assured to find a huge collection of woven items and learn about the woven designs.
Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda
This pagoda contains the 5 honorable and gold-plated Buddha statues, and Phaung Daw Oo itself is one of the most respected constructions in Myanmar. Within the southern Shan State, then Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda is the most revered site. Any trip to Inle Lake cannot be complete without a visit to this holy pagoda and pay homage to the 5 Buddha images which were rumored to be donated by King AlaungSithu. The interior of the site has several pictures depicting the festivals with numerous gilded boats. After all, the magnets of this pagoda are still the 5 recognized Buddha images that win the visitors’ faith. Only men are allowed to add gold leaves to these statues.
Padaung tribe: long-neck lady tribe
Traveling to Inle Lake, you are likely to meet the Padaung women who follow the long-neck customs. Padaung is one of the oldest tribes in Myanmar. The Padaung tribe lives in harmony with nature, and preserve their long-lasting custom of weaving several necklaces to possess the longer neck. And the term “long-neck lady tribe” has become unique in Inle Lake. They cover the long necks with the bronze necklace and often smile with the new guests. According to these ladies, the long necks make them uglier so that they can avoid human trafficking. But, there is also a legend telling that the necklaces are magical enough to help the tribes avoid tiger attack. That said, the girls at 5 years old begin to wear the necklaces to make the necks longer. The necklace are very significant to the ladies, and they are happy with them, and removing them are the bad things. The female adults might own up to 35 necklaces; the longer the necks are, the more pleasant the owners feel.
Mine Thauk Market
Mine Thauk Market is situated on the east bank of Inle Lake and stands out as the vital 5-day market filled with many hill tribes and visitors. During the market days, people come to sell various products of fruits, fish, cheroots, souvenirs, etc., and the holidaymakers come to make a favorite purchase. The local customs of trading and dressing are available for all to learn. The boat/canoe trip along the poetic Inle Lake to the Mine Thauk Village allows you to see the gorgeous green countryside and enjoy the stress-free and picturesque atmosphere.
When to Visit Inle Lake in Myanmar
- December and February: These months mark the cool and chilly conditions during the early mornings and the late evenings. Therefore, you’d better bring the adequate clothing to keep yourself warm.
- March to August: These are the wet months in Inle Lake, and this region owns the monsoons with the high amount of rainfall every year. The wettest months are from May to September.
- September and November: These are the best time to visit Inle Lake, due to the significant Phaung Da Woo Festival which is held in 3 week from the late September to the early October. Meanwhile, the weather condition is comfortable for the festival participation.