Inle Lake, Myanmar
The 3 Best Activities Around Inle Lake.
Sadly, I was feeling unwell while I was in Myanmar so had to skip out on the 2-night hike from Kalaw to Inle Lake. Therefore I cheated and took the overnight VIP bus from Bagan. Can I say luxury? Comfy seats that rival Business class, personal TVs with movies and music, blankets, water, and snacks. Needless to say, I wasn’t too upset I didn’t hike.
I arrived at Nyaungshwe (Inle Lake) before sunrise and walked the one block to Ostello Bello Inle Lake and slept on the free beds they provide until the 2 pm check-in. I was exhausted and didn’t wake until noon. Since I still had a few hours until I had dorm access, I strolled through the small town of Nyaungshwe, had a delicious lunch and perused through the tiny market stalls. After, I chilled at the hostel then set out for an evening sunset boat ride – sadly it was uneventful due to the clouds, but still awesome to get my first taste of Inle Lake.
A 2-DAY ITINERARY OF INLE LAKE
DAY 1: BOAT CRUISE ON INLE LAKE
No one travels to Inle Lake without taking a boat cruise.
Book a long, wooden boat through your hotel or arrive at the docks before sunrise and hire one yourself. All the boats only accommodate 5 people and are equipt with 5 personal chairs, umbrellas, and bottled water.
Your driver, who won’t speak English will motor you around Inle Lake taking you to key destinations – Floating Gardens, The Phaung Daw Oo and Shwe Indein Pagodas, Cigar and Silk Weaving studios and the many villages on stilts.
You will cruise peacefully through floating green shrubbery, vibrant fuschia Lotus flowers while watching groups of monks wiz on by.
Learn to make teacups at a family run pottery studio then watch women weave scarves using the ‘thread’ from Lotus Roots.
As the sun sets over The Shan Hills, admire the group of ‘fisherman buskers’ who balance on their oars and use their conicals nets to wow you. Yes, it’s all for show, but it’s truly incredible how these older gentlemen can balance on one leg all while holding the nets in crazy positions.
After a long but rewarding day on Inle Lake head to the night market to feast on an array of Burmese dishes and buy yourself a piece of jewelry.
DAY 2: CYCLE TO RED MOUNTAIN WINERY AND HTAT EIAN CAVES
For a few dollars, rent a bicycle and cycle the easy 25 minutes out of town to Red Mountain Winery. Yes, you read correctly, there is a winery in Myanmar. How cool is that!!! Red Mountain Winery is beautifully nestled above a steep staircase with views of Inle Lake and the surrounding mountainside.
For a $5 flight sip on two whites and two reds accompanied with a side of salty peanuts. The whites are both crisp, fruity and easy to drink while the reds are robust, but not in a good way.
After head to their restaurant patio, with views of Inle Lake and drink a glass of Sauvignon Blanc or Rosé and delve into an array of scrumptious delights from their lunch menu. Even if wine does not agree with your drinking palate, do come for the alluring views and tranquil setting. No need to head to Tuscany or Napa Valley!
After a few hours of getting tipsy, bike to the Htat Eian Caves and wander through their dark passages then bike back to town for a sunset dinner at Sin Yaw Restaurant for the famous Shan Noodle Soup – OMG, the BEST!