Inle Lake

Inle Lake is remarkably different from the three key tourist destinations of Myanmar: Yangon, Bagan and Mandalay. It is significantly smaller compared to the aforementioned main cities. It does not have as many attractions, but it is an established tourist centre in the country. This is because Inle Lake presents its visitors a different side of Myanmar; it is an example of a rural countryside town that is calm and peaceful, perfect for a vacation of relaxation. The views are also amazing. Tourists get to see the diverse landscape of Myanmar through the areas that surrounds the lake. 

Just like in other places in Myanmar, most of the attractions in Inle Lake are pagodas. The Inthas, the inhabitants of the area, are devout Buddhists and places frequently visited in their area are proof of their religious beliefs. One monastery is also a popular attraction, mainly because of the interesting performance of in-house felines. Lastly, Inle Lake is home to a different kind of garden, something that visitors from all over the world delight to see.

Alodaw Pauk Pagoda 
The Alodaw Pauk Pagoda is one of the 84,000 pagodas built by the famous king Thiri Dhamma Thawka. When King Anawrahta arrived in Inle Lake, he rebuilt the pagoda because the only thing that was left was the foot of the original. The pagoda was originally named the Innphaya Pagoda, but it was changed into Yadana Pagoda before assuming its current name. The Alodaw Pauk Pagoda is home to the gem-encrusted Shan-style Buddha stupa. Location: Nampan Village, Nyaung Shwe Township. 

Inle Floating Gardens 
Inle Lake has a unique style of aquaculture. The Inthas live on the lake and also live off of it, thanks to their floating gardens. Intha farmers grow flowers and vegetables such as tomatoes and squash on long strips of floating land. The land is formed through the collection of tangled water hyacinth, weeds and reeds that accumulate on the rim of the lake; the Inthas tie the land down to the bottom of the lake with long bamboo poles. Location: Nampan Village, Nyaung Shwe Township. 

Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery/ Jumping Cats Monastery 
The Nga Phe Kyaung is the biggest and oldest monastery in Inle Lake. It is a beautiful wooden structure that was built on stilts over the lake at the end of the 1850s. The monastery is home to a collection of ancient Bagan, Shan, Tibet and Ava-style Buddha images. However, it’s most famous for the jumping cats. An abbot at the monastery has trained the cats to jump through a hoop like in a circus. Location: Nga Phe Kyaung Village.

Inle Lake is remarkably different from the three key tourist destinations of Myanmar: Yangon, Bagan and Mandalay. It is significantly smaller compared to the aforementioned main cities. It does not have as many attractions, but it is an established tourist centre in the country. This is because Inle Lake presents its visitors a different side of Myanmar; it is an example of a rural countryside town that is calm and peaceful, perfect for a vacation of relaxation. The views are also amazing. Tourists get to see the diverse landscape of Myanmar through the areas that surrounds the lake. 

Just like in other places in Myanmar, most of the attractions in Inle Lake are pagodas. The Inthas, the inhabitants of the area, are devout Buddhists and places frequently visited in their area are proof of their religious beliefs. One monastery is also a popular attraction, mainly because of the interesting performance of in-house felines. Lastly, Inle Lake is home to a different kind of garden, something that visitors from all over the world delight to see.

Alodaw Pauk Pagoda 
The Alodaw Pauk Pagoda is one of the 84,000 pagodas built by the famous king Thiri Dhamma Thawka. When King Anawrahta arrived in Inle Lake, he rebuilt the pagoda because the only thing that was left was the foot of the original. The pagoda was originally named the Innphaya Pagoda, but it was changed into Yadana Pagoda before assuming its current name. The Alodaw Pauk Pagoda is home to the gem-encrusted Shan-style Buddha stupa. Location: Nampan Village, Nyaung Shwe Township. 

Inle Floating Gardens 
Inle Lake has a unique style of aquaculture. The Inthas live on the lake and also live off of it, thanks to their floating gardens. Intha farmers grow flowers and vegetables such as tomatoes and squash on long strips of floating land. The land is formed through the collection of tangled water hyacinth, weeds and reeds that accumulate on the rim of the lake; the Inthas tie the land down to the bottom of the lake with long bamboo poles. Location: Nampan Village, Nyaung Shwe Township. 

Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery/ Jumping Cats Monastery 
The Nga Phe Kyaung is the biggest and oldest monastery in Inle Lake. It is a beautiful wooden structure that was built on stilts over the lake at the end of the 1850s. The monastery is home to a collection of ancient Bagan, Shan, Tibet and Ava-style Buddha images. However, it’s most famous for the jumping cats. An abbot at the monastery has trained the cats to jump through a hoop like in a circus. Location: Nga Phe Kyaung Village.

Nyaung Oak Pagodas 
The village of Indein is a tourist destination for the ruins of ancient pagodas, and Nyaung Oak is one of them. Nyaung Oak is not a single pagoda; rather, it is a group of pagodas found immediately behind the village. The ancient pagodas may be crumbling, but the intricate details of the structures can still be seen. In some parts, the elaborate stucco carvings of celestial beings and mythical animals are still apparent. Location: Indein Village. 

Phaungdawoo Festival 
Because it is the most anticipated and most significant religious event in Inle Lake, the Phaungdawoo Festival can be considered as an attraction in its own right. The18-day event includes a grand procession of Buddha images, a boat race and other activities. Four of the five Buddha images in the Phaungdawoo Pagoda are transported on a royal barge which is pulled by big Inle traditional boats. The festival is generally held in September or October, depending on the Myanmar calendar. 

Phaungdawoo Pagoda 
The Phaungdawoo Pagoda is one of the most recognized shrines in Myanmar. In fact, it is the most sacred pagoda in the whole southern Shan State. It is found in Inle Lake, in the main boat landing in Ywama. The name 'Phaungdawoo' means ‘front of the raft’ in Burmese. The Phaungdawoo is home to five Buddha images, which were said to be donated by King Alaung Sithu. The pagoda was built for the purpose of keeping these Buddha images. A small entrance fee applies. Location: Ywama Village. 

Shwe Indein Pagoda 
The Shwe Indein Pagoda is situated at the end of the marvellous Indein creek, which is linked to the Inle Lake after the Phaungdawoo Pagoda. One can find a Buddha image enshrined in a whitewashed stupa found on the summit of a hill. Around the hill, there is a cluster of ancient stupas, most of which are ruins. It is said that the pagoda was built in the 17th and 18th century. Location: Indein Village.

Things to know
Inle Lake is one of the best places to go in Myanmar. It is in the Shan State, and is the area's main attraction. The state is expansive and unexplored, home to enigmatic and beautiful mountains that serve as the perfect backdrop for the lake, featuring floating communities, stilted homes and ancient stupas. 

Inle Lake is recommended for travellers who are looking for a relaxing vacation. The place provides escape from the fast-paced life of the city. Here, time passes slowly and every experience can be savoured – visitors can spend their days canoeing or trekking in the lush countryside or maybe watch the Inthar people do their tasks by the lake. This is a place where many people stay much longer than they originally planned. 

Compared to other places in Myanmar, it can be a bit cold thanks to the surrounding mountains and because of its location, it can also be tricky to travel to the lake. Tourists can travel by plane, but the airport is far from the lake and travelling by road can be a bumpy adventure in itself. However, the beauty of the place is worth the trip. 

Weather and Climate: The Best Time to Go To Inle Lake 
The climate in Inle Lake can be described as monsoonal, as it receives an average of 1,370 mm of rainfall every year and the wettest period falls between the months of May and September. However, dry season rain is quite frequent on the Shan Plateau, more frequent than in any other place in Myanmar. Because of the altitude, tourists can expect a cool climate and while mists are to be expected, visitors need not worry about frost. Throughout the year, the climate in the lake area is cool but it gets downright chilly during early mornings and evenings during the months of January and February. Tourists are advised to bring socks, sweaters or jackets to keep themselves warm. 
The best time to visit is September and October. This is mainly because of the ceremonial Phaungdawoo Festival, the most important event held there. This festival lasts for almost three weeks, and occurs between late September and early October. The Phaungdawoo Festival is closely followed by the Thadingyut, another festival and one of Myanmar's best-known events. The Inthar and Shan folks wear new clothes to celebrate the end of Buddhist Lent, or ‘Waso’.

How to Get to Inle Lake 
The best and common way of travelling to Inle Lake is by plane because all the other routes to the area are time-consuming. Heho is the entrance to the Inle Lake region, and all major airlines fly to this destination. These include Air Mandalay, Yangon Airways, Myanma Airways and Bagan Air. From Heho, a traveller still has 11km to go from Nyaungshwe or 20km from Taunggyi. 
Tourists with more time on their hands can travel by road from Bagan, Mandalay, Thazi or Kalaw. Means of transportation available for a road trip include buses, pick-ups and taxis. The departure point and last destination of all public transport is Taunggyi, but travellers in Nyaungshwe and Inle need not worry. They can wait by the side of the road in Shwenyaung junction, where buses stop and pick up passengers. Open pick-up trucks are also used to transport people to the lake. Around January, the trip can be very cold and passengers are advised to wear warm clothes. It is possible to take a taxi from airport to town, but drivers charge more. Shared taxis are better for groups. 
Things to Know When Travelling to Inle Lake 

  • Visitors are required to pay a fee of USD$3 to enter the Inle Lake zone. Payment can be made at Myanmar Travels and Tours at Chaung Road, Nyangshwe or at one of the hotels or guesthouses in town. 
  • In general, the recommended attire for people visiting Myanmar is light and casual cotton wear but because of the cool climate in Inle Lake, tourists are advised to bring warmer clothing. Cardigans and jackets are a must if travellers plan to visit during January and February. 
  • For footwear, sandals and slippers are recommended. No footwear is allowed in pagodas, monasteries as well as houses so easy-to-remove footwear is a practical choice. 
  • Respectable apparel should be worn when visiting pagodas and monasteries. Visitors are encouraged to bring sunblock, sun glasses, hats, umbrellas and insect repellent. 
  • Tourists should bring a personal medical kit, which includes medicine for diarrhoea. 
  • Visitors should only eat in decent restaurants. Food sold by street vendors is not recommended. 
  • The drinking of tap water is strongly discouraged. People should only drink boiled water or water from sealed bottles. The drinking of soft drinks is alright, as long as the bottle has not been previously opened.
     

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