- Location: Shan State, Myanmar
- Time to Visit: September and October
- How to Reach: Nearest airport Heho is only 35 km. away. There are flights that connect this airport to international airports of Yangon and Mandalay. By road, it is 660 km from Yangon and 330 km. from Mandalay.
- Nearest International Airport: Mandalay International Airport. However, Yangon International Airport is better connected.
The best of the Buddhist works were made in the monasteries, using implements and tools that have come down for centuries. During your tour to the Lake Inle in Myanmar, make a visit to the monastery of Nanthe, the monk painter who resides and works there is not only a great artist, but a very interesting person to meet as well. The only thing that matches the tranquility of the people and the places around Lake Inle is Lake Inle itself.
Located in the mountains of Shan State in Myanmar, Lake Inle is the second largest lake in the country. Although it is believed to have shrunk considerably within living memory due to rising population and deforestation around the Lake area raising pertinent environmental issues, it is still extremely beautiful. Particularly the sunset on the lake horizon is something that must not be missed by a visitor, even if you have to pester the local ferryman to hang around for that long. The beautiful fishing villages that line the lake, with cottages built on stilts have an exotic charm. They make for excellent photographs, so stop for a while and take a few.
The Inle Lake is a vibrant ecological area, with a number of species unique to it including snails and fishes. At least nine species of fish are absolute endemic to the lake waters and cannot be found anywhere else. The tranquil waters of the lake invariably have a calming influence on your mind. It is suggested that you visit the Lake in the months of September and October, during the Hpang Daw U Festival, when the traditional boat racing is held. Locals dress in their traditional Shan costumes and divided in teams, frantically leg-row the boats for the top honors.
The greatest attraction of this fresh water lake is its people, the Intha or lake people, who inhabit the four towns on the shores of the lake, and often the lake itself. They row long boats in a very unique way, by standing on the boat with one foot set firm on the stern and the other one wrapped around the oar — leg-rowing. They are largely fisherman, and make a livelihood out of th abundant produce from the lake. The floating gardens are also rich, as the water makes the soil around the lake extremely fertile. These produces are often bought for sale on the floating market of the lake. It is a vibrant community and makes a visit to this beautiful lake all the more charming.
The steady growth of tourism in the Inle Lake has brought about a development of tourist infrastructure in the region. There are quite a few hotels and restaurants in the towns that line the lake, particularly Nyaungshwe. Nyaungshew is a kind of city you will fall in love with immediately, quiet, tranquil and quite small in size. You can take your time and still walk your way around to complete a circuit of the city. The museum is wonderful as are the Buddhist temples. Right on the edge of the city there are paddy fields you can walk through. It is very peaceful experience, provided you do not get too ambitious and inspired by the practiced locals, try riding a water-buffalo.
Shopping and dining are other favorite pastimes at Nyaungshew and other regions surrounding the Lake Inle. Tourists usually buy local artifacts, paintings, clothes and other such items of exotic value. You can also get a taste of some of the highly palatable local cuisines at the various restaurants over here. Remember, though, that some restaurants tend to be a little overpriced, largely because of the great tourist influx in this region.