- Category: Destination
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Inle Lake is the most famous scenic spot in the Shan State. It is the second largest lake in Myanmar. 22 km long, roughly 11 km wide, 875m above sea level and outrageously beautiful. It has very calm waters dotted with patch of floating vegetation and busy fishing canoes. Inlay Lake is the residence of the Intha People; one of the Shan hill tribes who can be found in this area, the famous "Leg Rowers". They are well-known for their rowing skills in having one leg locked along the handle of the paddle, the other just standing on the stern of the boat while keeping a perfect balance.
HOW TO GET THERE
By flight from Yangon, Bagan and Mandalay to Heho Airport and proceed by land to Nyaung Shwe.
How to get there?
You can travel to Heho by car or by air. It is advisable to travel by air or by car. The motor road from Yangon to Heho is 411 miles.
Where to stay there?
You can stay in modern hotels, motels and inns with warmth and hospitality.
Where to eat there?
You can try local food or any other continental food plus Asian cuisine.
Nyaung Shwe is a small town at the north end of Inle Lake. One can take a walk to nearby villages and countryside and find the ruins of the old monasteries. This is also the starting point of the trip into the Inle Lake.
Khaung Daing is the native village on the northwestern shore of the lake. It is known for its production of soybean cakes and noodles. There are some interesting Shan Buddhist monuments just outside the village. A little north of Khaung Daing is a hot spring where you can take a bath.
Famous places on Inle Lake are:
The largest village on the lake with beautiful houses built on large wooden poles driven into the Lake Bed. You can see the famed floating market according to the local five day market scheme. On market day it is a traffic jam of tourist boats and souvenir hawkers with a few local buyers.
PHAUNG DAW OO PAGODA
The holiest religious site for Buddhists in the southern area of the Shan State. Five images are enshrined in the center of the building, one that attracts the Buddhists and the non-Buddhists alike. As a result of over gilding with Gold leaf offerings, the images have turned into solid ball of gold.
JUMPING CAT MONASTERY
A wooden monastery on stilts over the lake, built four years before Mandalay Palace. The monks trained their cats to leap through small hoops. It is worth to visit for modest collection of Buddha images in Shan, Tibetan, Bagan and Inwa styles.
The quaint village of Indein on the western side of the lake is accessed by a winding river that is too shallow to use late in the dry season. Nyaung Oak (Under the shade of Banyan trees) Monastery has a nice, old moldering complex of shrines and stupa at the bottom of the hill. At the top is Shwe Indein reached by a long stairway with over 400 wooden columns. From the hillside there are great views across the lake to the hill in the east.
The capital of Shan State, the pine-clad hill station provides a cool break from the heat of the plains. It is a growing trade center for the south-western area of Shan State. Taunggyi is cool and pleasant all the year round. The market on every fifth day is crowded with ethnic minorities in their traditional dresses. It is famous for KAKKU; best described as a vast orchard of stupas and has been opened to foreign visitors not more than five years. Taunggyi is linked with motor road and railroad. The easy access to Taunggyi is by road. Heho is the transient town for tourists by air from Yangon. From Heho Airport to Taunggyi, you can go by car.
Kakku is a hidden treasure 46 km south of Taunggyi with a magnificent collection of centuries old Buddhist stupas. More than 2,000 stupas have been built here in a small area of just one square kilometer, surrounded by mountains and trees. This area, which is inhabited by the colorful Pa-O tribes with their distinctive habits, is opened to foreign tourists.
Halfway between Kalaw and Inle Lake is a picturesque small quiet town, Pindaya. It also became a popular location where many tourists would come for the Pindaya limestone caves in which thousands of centuries-old Buddha images are seated and picturesque Boutaloke Lake. It is a center for the Burmese speaking Taung-yoe people; one of the hill tribes. Local handicrafts such as – Shan Paper and Parasols made from mulberry bark can be seen. You can trek to Danu, Pa-o and Palaung hill tribes’ village from here.
Before arriving Inle Lake about 30 km away, lie a peaceful summer resort hill station in the British colonial days known as Kalaw and it is still a peaceful and quiet place with an atmosphere reminiscent of the colonial era. Since it is 1320m above sea level, it is pleasantly cool and a good place for hiking. Along the surrounding mountains of Kalaw is home for the ethnic minority tribes such as the Pa-O, Palaung and Danu. Outside of Kalaw, a short trekking trip to the tea growing villages perched in the mountains will bring you to the home of the Palaung. Here the people continue to wear their traditional colorful costume and headdress. Besides, you will see their simple way of living. Some of the long houses made of Bamboo or wood still exist in this area. The Palaung families are staying together in these long houses from grand parents to grand children.