4 Experiences Every Traveler Should Have at Inle Lake

Because of recent events in Myanmar, we at World Nomads have had a long hard think about whether we should even continue publishing articles about the country. In the end we decided we should. Our reasoning is explained in this piece about ethical travel: "Controversial Destinations: To Boycott or Not?" Please read it.

Home to the unique floating gardens and villages comprised of stilt-houses, Inle Lake offers a tranquil view into the lives of the Intha people – who base their existence entirely on water.

Trekking from Kalaw

Known as Myanmar’s trekking mecca, and where most travelers begin their journey to Inle Lake, Kalaw offers a variety of options for exploration.

The multi-day treks to Inle Lake put you in the heart of Myanmar’s scenic natural surrounds, and takes you back to the basics – if bucket showers and squat toilets aren’t your thing, then you’ll struggle on this trek.

The Padaung Tribe

Found in the Ywama village on Inle Lake, you’ll meet a group of women from the Padaung tribe – a subgroup from the larger Kayan tribe.

Weaving brightly colored scarves, bags, and selling their handicrafts, these women wear brass rings around their necks to give them the illusion of being elongated. The women are extremely friendly and encourage photographs, just don’t treat this as a trip to the zoo, ask politely before snapping photos, and do your best to say hello in the local language.

A woman from the Padaung tribe, Inle Lake. Photo credit: iStock

Local Fishermen

Dotting Inle Lake are the infamous one-legged fisherman, who steer their boats by wrapping one leg around their oar – their impressive balancing skills will leave you wanting to sign up to a yoga class.

Enjoy their catch-of-the-day at one of the stilt-restaurants that rise above the water lining the lake. 

Fisherman, Inle Lake. Photo credit: iStock

Boats, Bikes and Booze

Hire a wooden long tail boat and discover the magic of Myanmar while floating along the lake, with views of mountain ranges all around.

Biking around Inle is a great way to discover its beauty from a different angle. If hiring a bike, consider a trip to the Red Mountain Estate Vineyard, located on the lower slopes of the mountain rim, and offering stunning vistas down the valley – it’s a worthy half-day activity.

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