Covering about 110 km2 of area, Inle Lake is a freshwater lake situated in Shan Plateau at an altitude of 900m. The majority of the people who live there are called Intha that spreading out in small villages on the water and along the shore. Together with them are other ethnic tribes such as Pa-O, Pa-Laung, Da-Nu, Taung-Yo, etc. Sandwiched by blue mountains, Inle Lake is one of the most beautiful spots rich in biodiversity.
Those of Intha people on the stern rowing boats with their legs, Bamboo houses built on stilts in the middle of water, crops grown on floating islands, traditional funnel baskets used in fishing, 5day rotating markets crowded with colorful tribes, etc. are a few of indigenous beauties and attractions. Set in peaceful and quiet environs, Inle Lake is the best place to retreat and rejuvenate.
INLE LAKE ATTRACTIONS:
Kalaw: Kalaw is accessible by car from Heho airport (1hr) and from Inle Lake (2hrs). A former British hill station built on an elevation of 1320meters, Kalaw is now a small resort town. Home to Shan, Myanmar, Indian Muslims, Gurkhas and other minority tribes, it’s a very diverse place. But, atmosphere is calm with cool air. Clean streets with green and leafy trees and villages in the surrounding hills offer many opportunities to trek.
Pindaya: A cozy little town hidden in mountains, Pindaya is a famous pilgrimage site for Buddhists. The 2hr-drive from Heho airport onto the winding road is so picturesque. It really looks like a colorful painting. Besides, the Pindaya Cave housing over 8000 Buddha images dating back to early 18th century draws and overwhelms the visitors. No other place in Myanmar has that much of collection impressively displaying Buddhist iconography. Homeland to Dhanu and Shan people who earn their living by growing tea-leaf, veggie and different crops on mountain slopes, Pindaya is a worthy place to stopover.
Indein: Called ‘“Little Angkor of Burma” and “Jungle Stupas” by foreign guests, Indien is a village on the west of Inle Lake. A boat-ride to Indein weaves its way through bamboo forest, jungle and rice fields. From the boat, one can see school children reading their lessons out loud in union, water buffaloes bathing in canal, women and children from nearby villages washing clothes. The excitement of boat-ride is totted up by the walk with many ruined stupas, leafy trees and pile of bricks in crescendo passage leading to Shwe Indein Pagoda complex atop. There hosting a cluster of over 1000stupas believed to be built by King Ashoka in 3rd BC in an effort of spreading and promoting Buddhism. Indein, really, is a hidden treasure!
Saggar: Saggar is noted for her 108stupas of 17-18th century. Some are partially underwater for a few months a year. Once a small kingdom under a Shan chief, Saggar is quietly located in the south end of Inle Lake. With very few tourists, it takes about 3hrs boat ride to get to there. Simple life, friendly Pa-O people, villages with mountain backdrop and the untouched natural beauty, the journey takes you into “authentic” Inle Lake.