Inle Lake is a beautiful freshwater lake located in central Myanmar that has a very special charm about it. Inle Lake is the second largest lake in Myanmar, with an elevation of 880m above sea level, and surprisingly is only 3.5 meters at its deepest point.
I spent 3 days and 2 nights at Inle Lake and have put together this complete guide on the 5 Best Things To Do In Inle Lake to help you plan your trip ahead of time.
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5 BEST THINGS TO DO IN INLE LAKE
#1 INLE LAKE BOAT TOUR
An Inle Lake boat tour should be on the top of your list of things to do in Inle Lake when you arrive.
I recommend taking an Inle Lake tour at sunrise or sunset to experience the true art of Myanmar’s balancing fisherman.
The Inle Lake fishermen have mastered a rather unusual method of paddling their boats with one leg, balancing on the other, and ultimately having two hands free to catch fish in their conical nets.
An Inle Lake boat tour will cost you around $30 USD for a full day and can be booked online in advance to guarantee the cheapest rate.
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Inle Lake boat tour – What to do in Inle Lake
#2 SHWE INDEIN PAGODA
The Shwe Indein Pagoda is a complex of ancient Buddhist stupas that lies on the western shore of Inle Lake in the small village of Indein and it’s not to be missed on your Inle Lake things to do list!
You can put in a request with your boat driver to take you across Inle lake to visit the Shwe Indein Pagoda, one of the best Burma temples in the country.
When you arrive in your boat to the river banks of Indein village, you’ll have to pay a 500 Kyat entrance fee before following the undercover stairway to the top of Shwe Indein Pagoda.
Inside the Shwe Indein Pagoda complex are hundreds of weather-beaten stupas, some are in rubble and covered in vines and others have been restored and freshly painted.
I spent an hour getting lost in between the colorful stupas and listening to the ringing of the bells that hang from the tops.
Must Read → 2 Week Myanmar Itinerary
Shwe Indein Pagoda
#3 HANDICRAFT WORKSHOPS IN YWAMA VILLAGE
Next on the list of things to do in Inle Lake is to visit the floating Ywama village in the very south of Inle Lake and boat-hop your way around to all the different handicraft workshops and markets.
In the traditional craft village, you will find gold and silver jewelers, boat makers, cigar rollers, weaving workshops, and woodcarvers.
It was incredible to see all of these artistic villagers getting creative and producing a high level of quality products and souvenirs.
Put your bartering skills to the test amongst the market owners trying to sell off their hand-made goods!
Textile weaving workshop
Cigar rolling workshops – Inle Lake Tour
Inle Lake boat tour – Inle Lake things to do
#4 KAYAN WOMEN – LONG NECK TRIBE
I remember as a kid seeing these long-necked women on a National Geographic documentary and I was very intrigued. To see the Kayan women in the flesh was an unforgettable experience.
The Kayan women are very welcoming to tourists and will most likely spend the time to get to know you and tell you all about their long neck tribe, so bring with you an open demeanor. The Kayan tribe women are also happy for you to take photos of them, an exotic experience you can save forever.
The significance of the golden brass rings around the Kayan women’s necks is a sign of beauty. They begin putting the brass rings on their necks at the age of 5 and by the time they are old women they have up to 25 brass coils weighing approximately 12kg.
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The long neck tribe – What to do in Inle Lake
The long neck tribe
#5 INLE LAKE MARKETS
Last but not least on the list of best things to do in Inle Lake is the famous five-day market. The Inle Lake markets work on a five-day rota system, moving between the Nyaungshwe, Heho, Taunggyi, Shwenyaung and Minethauk villages.
There is no official schedule for where and when these Inle Lake markets will be, though your hotel receptionist or boat driver will for sure know what is happening and where.
You can expect to see a mix of locals and tourists at the Inle Lake markets, jumping between the vendors for hand-made carvings, ornaments, textiles, and food products.
Must Read → 2 Week Myanmar Itinerary
Inle Lake Markets
The five-day market
WHERE TO STAY IN INLE LAKE
Inle Lake has dozens of accommodations to choose from, so I have narrowed it down to a few of the best places to stay in Inle Lake to suit the needs of luxury travelers, budget backpackers, and everyone in between.
See the list of accommodations below that I personally recommend:
Luxury: Sofitel Inle Lake
Mid Range: Serenity Inle Lake Resort
Budget: Joy Hotel
FOR ALL OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN INLE LAKE, SEARCH ON AGODA OR SEARCH ON BOOKING.COM
HOW TO GET TO INLE LAKE MYANMAR
There are a few ways of getting to Inle Lake and that is either by bus, train or plane.
Whether you are on a budget or not, I recommend traveling by bus throughout Myanmar. The main bus companies (JJ Express, Elite, Ok Express) are very efficient and will get you comfortably from A to B.
The cost of bus transportation between cities in Myanmar is on average around $10 to $30.
GET YOUR BUS TICKETS:
Yangon to Inle Lake / 10 hours / $22
Bagan to Inle Lake / 8 hours / $22
Mandalay to Inle Lake / 6 hours / $15
GET YOUR PLANE TICKETS:
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INLE LAKE MAP
INLE LAKE WEATHER & BEST TIME TO VISIT
The best time to visit Inle Lake is between the months of October and February in the cool/dry season.
As Inle lake is 880m above sea level the temperatures can get quite cold at night though you can expect an average of 30-degrees celsius during the days.
BEST MYANMAR TOURS
MORE MYANMAR TRAVEL GUIDES
Myanmar Guide: 2 Week Myanmar Itinerary
Bagan Guide: 5 Things To Do In Bagan
Mandalay Guide: 10 Things To Do In Mandalay
Hpa An Guide: 5 Things To Do In Hpa An
LONELY PLANET MYANMAR
One of the best books to take on your trip is the Lonely Planet Myanmar Guide!
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Thanks for reading this article and if you have any questions about Inle Lake, please leave me a comment below this post and I will get back to you as soon as I can.