Calm waters, lush hilltops and brilliant sky blues — the Inle Lake region of Myanmar is a luxuriously beautiful destination with river valleys and verdant vineyards. Home to a diversity of flora and fauna, the region is fringed by floating gardens and stilt-house villages. The people of Inle Lake, or Intha, are often known as the ‘sons of the lake’ as they reside along the shores of the still waters. Here, you can witness their famous traditional leg-rowing techniques on small boats.
Where to Stay
ViewPoint Lodge & Fine Cuisines
Located in the Nyaungshwe Township, ViewPoint Lodge & Fine Cuisines is a rustic chic lodge which is only a 20-minute drive from Inle Lake. We had initially chosen the lodge for its location, as it is situated near the mouth of Nan Chaung Canal. However, ViewPoint offered much more than that. Featuring 16 Cottage Suites and eight Superior Rooms built on stilts over the waters, the lodge is full of pleasant surprises – from rejuvenating Burmese herbal spa treatments to sumptuous breakfast served on a miniature wooden boat.
ViewPoint Lodge & Fine Cuisines, Yone Gyi St, Nyaungshwe, Myanmar; +95 81 209 062; inleviewpoint.com
Myanmar Treasure Resort
Set amidst the shimmering Inle Lake, Myanmar Treasure Resort offers stilted bungalows that are beautifully furnished with golden teakwood. Each of the bungalows feature stunning views of the calm waters and a comfortable four-poster bed. Each morning, you can wake up to a sea of lotus blooms and the soft chirps of shorebirds. With a selection of exotic fruits delivered to your bungalow daily, you get to try some of the freshest local produce in the comfort of your room.
Myanmar Treasure Resort, Taunggyi, Myanmar; +95 1 399 3347; myanmartreasureresorts.com
What to See
One of the best ways to explore Inle Lake, or the close by Nyaungshwe Township, is by cycling. The two towns are connected by backroads, and it is fairly easy to rental a simple bike from the hotel. We would recommend start cycling in the morning while the weather is still relatively cool. You can cycle to many of the attractions listed below and cycle back to your hotel in the late afternoon.
Red Mountain Estate Vineyards & Winery
Join a wine tour at Red Mountain Estate Vineyards & Winery, which is roughly a 7-km bike ride from Inle Lake. All the grapes are imported from France and Spain, and the vineyard is managed by a French winemaker named Francois Raynal. Here, you can sample a variety of their luscious wines, as well as enjoy a lovely lunch with stunning views of the vineyards.
Red Mountain Estate, Taung Chay Village Group, Nyaungshwe Township, Southern Shan State, Myanmar; +95 081 209366; redmountain-estate.com
Shwe Yan Pyay
Built in the 19th century, Shwe Yan Pyay is a beautiful Burmese monastery adorned with wood-carved flames and oval-windows. Shwe Yan Pyay is a serene, ideal place to learn more about the local traditions. Here, you can pray, meditate or just enjoy the peaceful tranquillity.
This contemporary gallery features a wonderful collection of fine art photography and watercolour paintings that depict the lives of Burmese residents, as well as other minority groups.
No trip to Inle Lake is complete without a boat tour. Savour the serene views and witness the Intha fisherman’s skilful leg-rowing techniques. At times, the lake is smooth and still as glass, reflecting the wispy clouds and brilliant blue sky like a mirror. We also suggest stopping by a lotus weaving factory, the floating gardens of Inle Lake and Maing Thauk Village. The latter is also accessible by cycling. Maing Thauk Village is a small, authentic village, where you can explore and find little local trinkets. Other recommendations include: Indein Village and the Jumping Cat Monastery.
Where to Eat & Play
Some of the best places to eat in Inle Lake or Nyaungshwe Township are simple, hole-in-the-wall restaurants with a humble local vibe. We recommend sampling the local Shan cuisine and dining at restaurants that are on stilts over the waters. As you probably know already, Inle Lake is not a town with vibrant nightlife entertainment; you will not find any pubs or clubs. More of a serene oasis, Inle Lake is perfect for those who enjoy culture shows, boat racing or simply winding down with a glass of wine in the evening.