Please note that this post may contain affiliate links and any sales made through such links will reward me a small commission – at no extra cost for you.
Inle Lake is a 13.5 mile long freshwater lake, located in the Shan Hills of Myanmar. The lake is located in the Nyaung Shwe township, not to be confused with Shwe Nyuang. Whether you are visiting Inle Lake after a long couple of days of hiking, or simply arriving by bus, this is your spot for relaxation. This quaint, beautiful lake-front town has tons to see and do. Read on for a full list of the best things to do in Inle Lake.
Best Things to do in Inle Lake:
Go on a Boat Tour
By far the best thing to do in Inle Lake is to go on a boat tour. There are many companies, including most of the hostels, that arrange full day boat tours. However if you are traveling in a group, it is much cheaper to rent your own boat. On average boat can be rented for 18,000 kyat ($13 USD) for a 5 hour tour. The boat are super narrow so you will sit single file on plastic chairs, but they can accommodate up to 5 people. Simply head down to the lake a break out your haggling skills.
There are tons of awesome things to do in Inle Lake on a boat tour. Most tours make a stop at Paw Khon to learn more about the traditional lotus fibre weaving process.
Another fun stop on an Inle Lake boat tour is to the Nga Hpe Kyaung Jumping Cat Monastery. The monastery was originally named after the cats that the resident monks would train to jump through hoops. It is a beautiful monastery to visit, however it is important to remember to wear attire that covers your shoulders and knees.
Visit the Five Day Market
The market is named after the fact that the market moves around five different lakeside villages, over a period of five days. I absolutely loved my early morning to the visit, watching as the locals sold everything from pastries to live fish. This is a great place to sample some local snacks, or buy some souvenirs. Most boat tours include a stop at the market, however make sure the let the operator know if it isn’t on your itinerary!
Capture the Iconic Fishermen
Although no longer practiced, many fishermen will put on a show for the passing tourists. This has become quite the tourist attraction in Inle Lake, so be prepared to tip if you plan to snap a photo. Although they are no longer using this traditional method to fish, it is an impressive show nonetheless.
Take in the Views at Red Mountain Winery
Go to Red Mountain Winery for the views, not the wine! I had read a number of reviews on the wine at Red Mountain Winery before going, however this still didn’t prepare us for what was definitely the worst wine that I had ever tasted. However, despite this I would definitely still recommend visiting. The views over the valley at sunset are worth the terrible wine.
Get a Massage
Throughout my time in Asia, I got a lot of massages. I typically got massages 3-4 times per week. Venus Massage in Inle Lake was easily one of the best massages that I experienced while traveling. At 7,000 kyat/hour ($5 USD), it is hard to beat! Following your 1 hour full body massage, you are offered complimentary tea, snacks, and a bottle of water.
Where to Stay in Inle Lake
Song of Travel
Song of Travel hostel is a great option for solo or budget travelers looking for a lively atmosphere. Dorm beds are on the higher end, at $11USD/bed, however they are clean and spacious. A large breakfast is included each day. Each afternoon they have a free snack cooking session, where to you can enjoy cooking some of the local snacks. There are free bicycles for rent, which is easily the best way to get around the area, unless you’re traveling by longboat of course. This hostel is centrally located in the town, making it super easy to get around
Hupin Inle Khaung Daing Village Resort
If you’re looking to stay right on the water, then Hupin Inle Khaung Daing Village Resort is a great, affordable option. A lake view room with a large breakfast average $50 USD a night for a room with a double bed. This is an awesome resort, but quite removed from the city center.
Where to Eat in Inle Lake
Sin Yaw is located right in the center of town. The restaurant serves a number of delicious local dishes for relatively cheap. Rice and noodle dishes average 2,000 kyat ($1.50 USD) a plate, while fish or meat dishes average 4,500 kyat ($3 USD). As a group we ordered six different dishes, and we were pleasantly surprised by how delicious they all were!
Ever Lite 2
Curries at Ever Lite 2 are some of the best that I had in Myanmar. It is not the cheapest option for those traveling on a budget, with most curries averaging 4,000 kyat ($2.80 USD), the food at this place is incredible. You can’t go wrong with the vegetable korma and some garlic naan.
What to Wear in Inle Lake:
It can be difficult to know what to wear in Myanmar. I found that some of the large cities in Myanmar were definitely more conservative than others. For example, I felt more comfortable covering up while in the larger cities of Yangon and Mandalay. In other regions, such as Nyaung Shwe, I felt more comfortable wearing shorts and/or having my shoulders exposed. It is still important, however, that you bring along something to cover up your knees and shoulders for entering any of the temples of pagodas.
What currency is used in Myanmar?
Myanmar currently uses the Kyat (pronounced ch-ah-t). As of March 2020, $1 USD equals approximately 1,395 Kyat. Both ATMs and money exchange stands are widely accessible throughout the country. I recommend always
What is the climate like in Myanmar?
While Myanmar is typically warm all year round, there are distinct dry and rainy seasons. The rainy season typically lasts from May/June to October. I recommend packing some long pants and a light sweater, no matter what time of year you are visiting.
Do I need a Visa to visit Myanmar?
A visa is required for most individuals to enter Myanmar. This visa can be purchased online in the form of an e-visa for $50. Make sure to allow 2-3 days for the visa to be processed. You must have a passport that is valid for at least six months after your departure from Myanmar.
If you’re traveling in Myanmar, here are some other articles that will be helpful:
Like what you read about the best things to do in Inle Lake? Be sure to Pin it for later!