Inle Lake

Inle Lake

A Burmese highlight

Serene and scenic Inle Lake lies nestled among the rugged mountains of southwestern Shan State and is dotted with picturesque stilt villages and floating gardens. Lakeside markets see ethnic minority hilltribespeople descend from the mountains with their ox-carts, while traditional handicraft workshops and gilded pagodas make for stopping-off points on a journey around this magical watery world.

More on Inle Lake

Browse hotels in Inle Lake on Agoda

Provided by Travelfish partner Agoda.

Out of Burma’s so-called Big Four tourist destinations – the others being Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan – our favourite is probably Inle Lake. As much as we love the lot, hectic Yangon can overwhelm; traffic-clogged Mandalay can underwhelm and Bagan can on a bad day invite unflattering comparisons with Angkor. But Inle Lake? Satisfaction is guaranteed.

No shortage of stunning scenes. : Mark Ord.
No shortage of stunning scenes. Photo: Mark Ord

The shallow lake, around 22 kilometres long and six kilometres wide, is mostly bordered by marshlands. With lake villages creating floating gardens, as well as reclaiming land for building, it can be tricky to see where dry land and water meet. In theory at least the surrounded marshes have been designated as the Inle Wetland Bird Sanctuary; UNESCO added it to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves in 2015. Inle has a high density of villages with some on the lake shores, others on stilts over the lake itself and some a bit of both; none are actually ‘floating’, Tonle Sap-style, as some descriptions would lead you to believe.

Inle Lake is usually visited from the nearby town of Nyaung Shwe, four kilometres up the main channel (Nan Chaung) from the lake’s northern tip. The small town now forms the tourism epicentre of Inle and is home to the majority of accommodation and ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 1,500 words.)

Log in to Travelfish

Please sign in to read the rest of this page. The full text is around 1,500 words.

Log in now
Become a Travelfish member

Choose from a free two-day pass right through to a lifetime membership.

Find out more

10 other destinations in Central Burma Myanmar

Learn more about Bagan

So many temples, so little time

Learn more about Kalaw

Great trekking!

Learn more about Kengtung

An old Golden Triangle capital

Learn more about Hsipaw

A growing traveller centre

Learn more about Loikaw

A town of many pagodas

Learn more about Mandalay

The northern capital

Learn more about Kyaukme

Remote trekking

Learn more about Tachileik

Classic border town

Learn more about Thazi

You’re waiting for a bus or a train here

Learn more about Meiktila

Lakeside prettiness