Inle Lake is still an absolute favourite. It is a unique and wonderful way of life which has left an impression on me still years later. Continue reading for travel advice and tips written during the adventure.
From Bagan we flew into Heho with Golden Myanmar airlines at a total cost of $45 USD incl. 20 kg baggage. It’s certainly worth it. The taxi cost 25,000 kyat for a shared taxi into Nuang Shee village and took approximately 45 minutes. Once you arrive to NS Village all foreign tourist must pay $10 USD admittance fee. When returning to the airport to depart Inle the taxi should cost no more then 18,000 shared.
Things to do:
Inle lake boasts two wineries, one with mountain views and one overlooking the lake. Red Mountain is only 15 minutes from NS village and Aythaya is about 40 minutes from NS. If you miss either you can purchase both wines at the airport upon departure.
You should definitely do a Day trip via boat around the lake. We were lucky enough to be in Inle lake at the time of one of Myanmar’s festival and got to witness first hand the Buddha procession through the mist which was magical. Our day trip cost us a total of 18,000 for a boat and driver for the day. There were only two of us travelling together so we had an awesome day at a low cost.
If you have the opportunity to go early in the morning certainly jump on board. The mist over the lake is mystical, eerie yet amazing and you will see many of locals and their wonderful fishing skills.
The lake day trip includes taking you around to the various villages, floating markets viewing: silver smiths, black smiths, umbrella makers, long neck ladies, lotus silk creators and cigar rollers. You get to view the gardens and make a visit to a monastery that used to train cats to jump. I bought a passport purse for $6 USD from the lotus/silk ladies, a bracelet from the long neck ladies for $3 and make sure you buy some locally made Cheroots (cigars). They make great and inexpensive gifts.
Foods, drinks and all that jazz:
The French Touch is a wonderful western restaurant boasting actual French food that tastes divine and transports you straight to Paris. The price for a Vol Au Vant with salad was 5,000 and desert ranges from 1,000-7000 so it’s more pricey then the local eateries but worth it.
I can not stress enough to eat as much tea leaf salad as you can. You are in the Shan district so indulge in their specialities. The best Tea Leaf Salad had in Myanmar was at She Yaw Restaurant. This has other great reviews and recommendations on trip adviser.
For comfortable, clean and affordable stay I would suggest the Good Will hotel. The staff are very hospitable, the breakfast is good and the rooms are clean. A standard twin room cost $25 USD/night.
What was magical for you about Inle Lake? Have you witnessed any Burmese Festivals?