Inle Lake is an escape from the chaos of Yangon and Mandalay as well as a respite from the unrelenting heat of Bagan. It’s up in the mountains of the Shan State, home of the Shan minority group and mostly inaccessible to travelers due to the precarious situation near the border. Visiting Inle Lake, however, is a completely safe and easy way to experience the region and culture. Inle Lake itself…well, it’s a big, beautiful lake. The highlight of a visit there is taking a boat to explore for the day. It’s about $15 to rent a boat, which is a little expensive, but it provides a full day of adventure.
Tradition looms large in this area. The lake is teeming with fishermen, still using local techniques to catch their fish. People still live in villages on stilts. Their lives are intimately tangled up with the water. While on my boat adventure, we stopped at a market. I was the only tourist there!
The floating gardens were another beautiful sight to see. Because of the warm and wet climate, the area around Inle Lake is heavily farmed, sometimes right onto the lake.
Inle Lake is truly stunning and absolutely worth the time and effort it takes to get there. Plus, Shan food is really, really good. So there’s that.