Nestled among the rugged mountains of southwestern Shan State and dotted with spectacular stilt villages and floating gardens, serene and scenic Inle Lake is thought to be the most popular address out of Burma’s so-called Big Four tourist destinations – the others being Yangon, Bagan and Mandalay.
In spite of a large number of tourists coming here, thanks to its enormous size and the villages and temples so spreading out, Inle itself is never too crowded.
Traditional handicraft workshops and gilded pagodas make for stopping-off points on a journey around this mysterious watery world while an early-morning cruise, a ride through the peaceful countryside to get closer into the surrounding hills and villages are what most travelers take some time to do to explore one of Myanmar's most iconic destinations.
Bicycling the shores of Inle Lake, boating to its far-flung corners and meeting and talking with the friendly fishermen and people, particularly given the cool upland temperatures making it different from a baking midday sun in Bagan, will be the most exciting way to explore the most touristy town in Myanmar.
If you want to take part in a much more tiring activity, Kalaw, a former hill station set in a gorgeous landscape of forest-capped hills and surrounded by Buddhist pagodas, is a top trekking destination.
However, for all kinds of travelers coming to this region, the must-enjoy activity and the most naturally favorite way to discover must be a boat trip onto the water from the base for setting out on motorboat trips - Nyaungshwe, which is located on the northern edge of the lake.
From here, you will be transported to so many natural, cultural, historic, religious sites and lakeside markets, where you can see ethnic minority hilltribal people descending from the mountains with their ox-carts,
In addition to admiring the imposing scenery of the unique watery world of Inle Lake, on this interesting boat tour, you will keep your eyes open to see a one-of-a-kind image of Intha fisherman rowing canoes with one leg, gardens float, and wooden homes perch above the water on rickety stilts.
In this rural town, you can easily find a wide variety of food from local Inthar dishes or Shan cuisine, much more than Western-style dishes. Dishes cooked in Shan style – an authentic tool of cooking have a unique taste.
For vegetarians, Shan State’s famous tofu produced in Khaung Daing, an Intha village, is a must-eat dish. Made with split yellow pea flour, Shan tofu can be enjoyed as a dish itself or as a utensil in a tofu thoke (tofu salad) for a few hundred Kyat.
The highest season, as elsewhere in Burma, is from October to February, since the temperatures abate after monsoon season and the second peak is in the end of July and August corresponding to European school holidays.
What makes October the best time to visit? It is the annual Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival when four revered Buddha images from the pagoda of the same name taken on a lake-wide procession in a golden badge!