The Irrawaddy

A Quick Guide to Inle Lake and Nyaung Shwe

Two girls rows the boat in front of Inle Heritage

Inle Lake is a uniquely Myanmar attraction that is very popular with tourists. It is famous for its floating gardens, fisherman who row canoes with one leg (Intha), and wooden houses on stilts.

Inle Lake is situated in southern Shan State, about 650km from Yangon. Nyaung Shwe is the principal town near the lake and offers many things to do while also being just a pleasant place to hang out.

Even though Inle Lake is surrounded by mountains, when summer comes it gets very hot. So winter, when the Phaungdawoo Pagoda festival is held, is the perfect time to visit.

How to get to Inle Lake

There are many options including private car, bus or train. You can choose the way that best suits you.

If you go by bus, it costs around USD18 for a round trip from Yangon and takes about 10 hours. The road is good but not straight. I recommended the following express bus services: JJ, Elite, Shwe Mandalar and Lumbini Express.

If you choose to fly, there are daily flights from Yangon to nearby Heho. At Heho airport you’ll need to take a 30-km taxi ride to Nyaung Shwe. Some hotels provide ferries for their guests; you just need to ask your concierge.

Where to stay

There is a wide range of accommodation depending on your budget and how many days you intend to stay in the area.

The entrance of the Novotel Inle Lake Myat Min/ Novotel Inle Lake
A view from the Novotel Inle’s swimming pool/ Novotel Inle Lake

If you want to stay at a luxury hotel, the Novotel Inle Lake, Sanctum Inle Resort, Myanmar Treasure Inle Lake, Inle Princess Resort and View Point Lodge are popular accommodations. Prices at these hotels start from USD150 per night.

The main building of the Sanctum Inle Resort/ Sanctum Inle Resort

If you are traveling on a tighter budget or just want to save your money to spend more time in Inle, the Inle Apex Hotel, Aquarius Inn, and The Hotel Emperor Inle have attracted a lot of good reviews. Rooms at these hotels start at USD40 per night.

Please note that these hotels are simply the writer’s choice and there are many other good accommodations from which to choose.

The entrance to the Inle Princess Resort / Inle Princess Resort

What to do in Inle Lake

Explore the lake by boat

Inle has really beautiful scenery and the combination of the lake and the surrounding hills offer an amazing landscape. You can enjoy this beautiful view by taking a boat, which also offers the best way to experience the floating villages, wooden houses on stilts, floating garden and many others things. It’s safe and the experience is amazing.

Lunch and visit the Burmese Cat Village at Inle Heritage

If you are a cat lover, you will definitely fall in love with this place. The entrance is free. You can look around the cat village and all the cats are friendly with people.

Inle Heritage also has an organic garden and you can have a fresh lunch at reasonable prices, and enjoy the terrific views.

Mine Thouk Village and Bridge

Mine Thouk Village can be accessed by bicycle from Nyaung Shwe. It takes only 20 or 30 minutes to get there and there is a pretty wooden bridge called ‘Mine Thouk Bridge’. It’s a fun experience to walk on the wooden bridge and watch the floating tomato gardens of the nearby villages.

Inle has many things to do depending on your travel dates. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning for an adventure around Inle!