If you are one of those people who enjoy boat tours, beautiful landscapes, unique cultures, and different destinations offering great insights into a country’s heritage, then the Inle lake boat tour is the perfect activity for you while visiting Myanmar!
Inle Lake is the second largest lake in Myanmar (Check our Bagan temple guide while visiting the country), located in Shan state’s heart, a culturally vibrant, intact corner of the world where time seems to stand just as still as the waters.
The Inle Lake is located in the Nyaungshwe Township of Taunggyi District of Shan State, part of Shan Hills in Myanmar (Burma). You can see the location Here.
There is a 15,000 kyat entrance fee per person to the lake, charged by the government. This is collected on the bus or the airport when you arrive!
The closest airport to Inle lake is the Heho Airport, which is 25.3 km. It will take a 1-hour taxi ride from Heho airport to go to Inle Lake.
The best time to visit Inle Lake is from October to February for several reasons. Firstly, it is the dry season, so lesser chances of the rain spoiling the trip. Secondly, it is the best time for bird watching because of the influx of thousands of migrant birds. Thirdly, the Phaung Daw Oo pagoda festival also occurs during the beginning of September or October, making the Inle lake boat trip eventful and worthwhile!
Inle Lake is one of the most popular tourist destinations of Myanmar, and if you are planning to explore the true beauty of the region, you will need a well-explained itinerary, and we are here for that! So let’s get on with our step-by-step guide for your one day trip to Inle Lake without a travel guide!
Inle Lake Boat Hiring
The best way to explore the lake’s beauty is by taking a ride on the slender long-tail wooden boats used by the locals. Making the Inle lake boat tour, experiencing the calmness and emptiness of the lake as dawn break is an absolute privilege!
You can easily hire a boat from Nyaungshwe– the closest town on the lake, and it’s the main access point. You can also ask the hotel you are staying at to book a boat for you according to your schedule and the places you want to visit! Expect to pay between 18000 to 20000 kyat for the boat. When you hire a boat, you will be accompanied by a guide who will show you the best sights of the lake!
Getting On With The Boat Tour
It is best to leave early at 8:30 am. The Inle lake boat tour will depart from the river inlet near the Tai Nan Bridge and head down to Nyaungshwe Canal before entering Inle Lake.
See The Fishermen
The main attraction at Inle Lake is the fishermen famous for their balancing skills. The balance on one leg while paddling with the other. At the same time, they hold with their hands a big, conical net. Is a sight worth seeing, don’t you think? This is a fascinating sight to see, and a must view experience when touring the Inle Lake!
Explore The Floating Villages
These are houses on stilts that are built above the waters of the lake, thus called floating villages. You will have to navigate through the narrow canals to get close to these floating houses and marvel at how the local life unfolds. You can also take a break here and have lunch at one of the mostly floating Inle lake restaurants.
Head On To The Floating Gardens
As we know, a typical garden is where the crops are grown in soil, but the people of Inle Lake have developed a unique gardening method to fit the environment, where they cultivate tomatoes. It is a beautiful sight to see the farmers rowing their boats between the crops, plucking the ripe tomatoes from the floating gardenswhich rise and fall with the waves!
Visit The Lotus Weavers
At Inle Lake, Lotus grows abundantly, so people have found a unique way to utilize it. Any guesses? They create beautiful textiles from it! Scarves, Blouses, and even the traditional longyi can be made from it! Visiting the Lotus weavers is one of the most significant Inle Lake boat tour!
When visiting the Lotus weavers, you will also come across the Padaung women or the long neck women. When the girls are young, they start wearing rings around their necks, and over the years, more rings are added, hence the name.
Visit The Five Day Market
This is one of the most unusual markets around the world and one of the must-visit attractions of Inle Lake. It is called the five-day market because local people rotate between five different locations every five days and provide fresh produce to people from other lake locations!
Visit The Goldsmiths And Silversmiths
This is also a must-visit part of the trip. When you enter the shops, the owner will take you on tour and explain or demonstrate the making of jewelry from gold or silver; here, you can also purchase souvenirs.
Shwe Indein Pagoda
This will be a change of scenery from the lake. Here you will find hundreds of Pagodas. Many of the stupas here have been restored, but some are still in their original form. You will be awestruck when viewing the stupas that tower above the complex like they are reaching out to the sky.
You can reach here after a walk of five minutes and then pass through a wooden tunnel and climb up the hill. There will be an entrance fee of 300 Kyats.
Visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda
This is the most important monastery at Inle Lake. It is located on a river stream connected to Inle Lake and you should add this to your Inle lake boat tour. It houses five 800 years old Buddha images. The locals come here and cover the Buddhas in gold leaves so much that they have become a solid mass of gold.
Lastly, Watch The Sunset At Inle Lake
The best ending to this wonderful trip would be to view the sunset from your boat. After a day full of activities and unique experiences, it will be the perfect way to relax. You can enjoy the incredible view of the sun setting between the mountains surrounding the lake!
To summarize the article, The Inle lake boat tour is the perfect way to relax, especially if you want to go on a short trip, enjoy a different culture, and get a beautifully unique experience! Make sure to follow our step by step guide to make the most out of your trip if you are traveling without a guide! Let us know in the comments below which part of the journey are you the most excited about?