The second largest lake in Myanmar, Inle Lake stands at the heart of Shan State, a culturally vibrant, untouched corner of the world where time seems to stand just as still as the waters. Along its shores is an at once fascinating and humbling panorama of bamboo-stilted homes, self-sufficient floating farms, and warm Burmese people representing Intha, Shan, Taungyo, and various unique ethnicities still unhindered by the effects of tourism.
Inle Lake is renowned for its weaving industry, acting as the primary producer of the popular Shan tote bags. The weaving village of Inn Paw Khone is the perfect place witness the process in action. The most iconic snapshots of Inle Lake, however, are found in either the local cheroot-making factories where handmade cigars are assembled en masse from tobacco, honey, rice flour, anise, and banana, or on the lake itself where the region’s famous leg-rowing fishermen glide across the still waters with one leg wrapped around the oar. Traveling across the waters of the lake is perhaps the best way to capture all of its beauty, from the stilted homes of the local residents to the flood-resistant floating gardens, which are anchored to the bottom of the lake with bamboo poles that rise and fall with changes in the water level.
Others may find the charms of Inle Lake elsewhere: in the rotating markets that travel by boat around the towns; the stunning bird sanctuaries rich in wildfowl enveloping the waters; the lake’s most religious site in the form of the floating Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda; the lovely hot springs in Kaung Daing; or in Maing Thauk with its wooden bridge joining the land-based half of the village with its stilt-house water-based half. The nearby landing of Indein also offers an exotic Shan picnic spot in the shadows of the ancient Belle Époque pagodas and ruins, a marvel of peace steeped in unbelievable history.
For all of its time-honored traditions, Inle Lake is also the site of some of the country’s most impressive luxury resorts. Respective of heritage yet gracious in their offerings, these contemplative properties ensure a truly cultural and comfortable stay on the shores of Inle Lake. Contact a Ker & Downey luxury travel consultant today to incorporate one of our esteemed Inle Lake resorts into your upcoming Southeast Asia itinerary.