Inle Lake is located in Eastern Myanmar and is one of the most frequented tourist destinations. It is a beautiful site full of traditional fishermen and beautiful villages waiting along its shores waiting to be explored.
Getting to the lake isn’t an easy task and you will most likely want to stay around here for at least a day or two. Many people will choose to stay in the town of Nyaungshwe and it is well suited to tourists and offers some great accommodations and eateries.
You can get to Inle Lake with a relatively cheap flight to Heho which is 25 miles away from Nyaungshwe and you can get a taxi there for $20. You can choose to take the overnight bus from Mandalay or Yangon, just take the bus to Taunggyi and get dropped off on the way. You will find you spend most of the day on the bus though (with trips between 12 and 20 hours) but you will save a lot of money as it will only cost you between 10,000 and 14,000 kyat.
Where to Visit
The most logical thing to do when visiting a lake is to get out on it via a boat and luckily the lake is more than well equipped to give you a tour of the place. The most popular way to do this is with one of the motorized canoes that frequent Inle’s shores.
The main boat station is simple to find and you’ll come across many sailors that are happy to take you on a tour for the day which should cost you around 20,000 kyat and you can tell them where you want to go and which sites are a must see for you. The most popular are the Phaung Daw Oo Paya, the floating gardens and Nga Phe Village.
Make sure to state you want to see these things and that you don’t want to visit too many shops and you would like to stay out until sunset if you intend to do those things.
Entry into most of the main destinations is free and they are all worth a visit. Phaung Daw Oo Paya is a fascinating and beautiful temple and the floating garden is a magnificent row of vegetables growing where you can watch local farmers tend their crops.
Make sure to take adequate protection from the sun and you might want to consider using some earplugs because the canoes can be phenomenally loud.
Where to Eat
There are lots of places to eat around the lake and some interesting floating restaurants to try out. If you choose not to stay in the town you may be stuck for places to eat outside your hotel restaurant so make sure you stay somewhere that suits your needs.
Inn Thar Lay at Tha Ley is moderately priced, clean and gets it vegetables straight from its own gardens. Well worth a visit during your stay.
Diamond Restaurant on Phaung Daw Pyan Road offers delicious Indian food at relatively low^ prices and offers a great range of dishes for all tastes.
Unique Superb Food on Myawady Road has a bizarre name but really ends up delivering on its namesake. Don’t expect snappy service but stick around for the low^ prices and delicious offerings.
Where to stay
There are many places to stay near the lake and also in the town of Nyaungshwe if you want more variety to choose from and more choice to move around. Prices are generally quite good but the quality of the accommodation can vary a lot and can be competitive in the high tourist season.
Bright Hotel on Phaung Daw Side Road in Nyaungshwe is a pleasant and small hotel with all the amenities you could want and a good breakfast. At $20 a room this is a worthy option.
Joy Hotel on Jetty Road is a reasonably priced hotel that comes without air conditioning but is in a relaxed part of the town and a more authentic feel to your stay. Rooms are between $18 and $22 a night.
Princess Garden Hotel on Mine Li Street is a very cute guest house that offers several bungalows to stay in each coming with their own fridge and Wi-Fi. Good value at around $40 in tourist season.