Inle Lake FAQs
There is so much information about Inle Lake it can be hard to find the exact answer to a specific and straight forward question you may have. So here are some frequently asked questions that I had before I went and that I have heard people ask. Even a question that seems obvious once you get there can feel like a struggle to find the answer for before you leave. So I hope these will make it easier to plan your trip.
Scroll down for answers to these questions and more…
• Where is Inle lake?
• Where to eat inle lake?
• Where to stay Inle Lake / Inle Lake accommodation
• What to see and do Inle lake?
• How to go Inle lake?
• How long to spend at Inle Lake?
• How big is Inle Lake?
• Inle Lake Airport?
• Inle Lake or Nyaung Shwe
• Inle lake or Mandalay
• Inle Lake or Bagan
• Inle Lake or Hsipaw
• What’s the Inle Lake Festival?
• Is there an Inle Lake Winery?
Where is Inle Lake?
It is in the Shan state in Myanmar. It is north east of Yangon and takes approx. 10 hours to get there from Yangon.
Where to eat at Inle Lake?
Inle Lake, or more specifically the town of Nyaung Shwe where most people stay has it’s fair share of restaurants, all mostly serving the same stuff. A couple of stand out ‘must go to’ restaurants are:
Star Flower restaurant, you must go! It is an Italian restaurant in Nyaung Shwe away from the main strip. A lovely pizza place with great food, wonderful service and fresh garden grown Basil. The owner was a delight, so charming, he brought out all the ingredients imported from Italy and proudly presented them to the table, then let us all have a wonder around the kitchen before ordering, proudly presenting us his traditional pizza oven. The food was tasty and served with a good atmosphere.
A no-name Indian place with exceptionally spicy food is at the top of the main strip on Yone Gyi Street somewhere near Inle Inn, you’ll see it, it is very popular and always busy. You choose what flavour curry you like, that is the only decision you need ot make as each curry comes with the same dishes of random veg and other variety of foods I could not distinguish. It was cheap, but the food will burn twice.
If you fancy something a little bit more upmarket or you are a vegan sort head to The ViewPoint Lodge on the bridge. The raw food brownie was delicious and they have the fastest wifi in the land! Be prepared to part with your money though.
Where to stay Inle Lake / Inle Lake accommodation?
Unless you have a slightly bigger budget and can afford to stay at the resorts on the actual Lake, you will likely be staying in the town of Nyaung Shwe at the north end of the lake. You will take a little canal to get there if coming by boat. Again there is an abundance of places to stay for those on a backpacker budget, although most are approx. $30 for a basic room.
Stay away from the Lady Princess Hotel on Myawaddy Road. Although the room was clean and the place was well kept with a good breakfast, the woman who owned the place was a monster! She not only ripped us off with the boat tour, but was generally horribly rude and un-necessarily nasty. She also forgot to tell us that she locks the gate at 9.30pm so we were locked out after coming back from dinner. The location isn’t that great either. AVOID!
In comparison, some friends were staying at the more centrally located Richland Motel, and although maybe not as clean, it was very adequate, cheap, the staff were friendly, location fantastic and a rooftop restaurant, oh and sometimes the wifi even worked!
What to see and do Inle Lake?
Fishermen and locals going about their life on the lake, tending to their floating gardens and admiring the surrounding scenery is the main drawcard here, and a boatrip on the lake is the obvious must-do activity. Be careful with these trips however as you can often spend more time ‘shopping’ than enjoying the beautiful lake scenery. You can read more about that here …
If you want to sped some time out of the water, you can rent a bicycle for the day and cycle around the lake (with a river crossing in the middle). This gives you the oppertunity to see surrounding monasteries, towns and even a vineyard! More info about all of that and specifically the bike ride here.
For something a bit different, have some fun at the local roller-skate park in Nyaung Shwe. It’s on the main strip close to the lake, and for a couple of dollars you can borrow some old school roller skates and skate around to some old school classic tunes.
How to go Inle Lake?
Check out the travel to and from Inle Lake page here to see how to visit Inle Lake and how to get there from the main hubs such as Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan.
How long to spend at Inle Lake?
Many people want to know how many days to spend at Inle Lake. It is a personal preference, a full day boat trip from sunrise to sunset can encompass most of the sites and give you a glimpse of life on the lake so if you only have a day to spend, that is ok. I would say though that 3-4 days is about the right amount of time to do and see lots of different things and really get a feel for the place. I was there for 4 days and that was enough.
How big is Inle Lake?
13.5 miles long and 7 miles wide
Inle Lake Airport?
The local airport to Inle Lake is Heho.
Inle Lake or Nyaung Shwe?
Essentially the same place. Nyaung Shwe is the biggest town connected to the lake and where you will find the most budget friendly accommodation, shops and travel agents. It is possible to stay on the lake itself however these are mainly resorts and such are not backpacker pocket friendly.
Inle lake or Mandalay?
Inle Lake, for the scenery. Mandalay is just another city with not enough pavements.
Inle lake or Bagan?
This one is tough and if you can see both then I would highly recommend that. But if I had to choose one it would be Bagan, something really special about that place. But if you can then do both.
Inle lake or Hsipaw?
Both very different places. Hsipaw has a cooler climate and is more based around trekking and hilly scenery. In comparison Inle Lake is flat and you will spend most of your time in a boat on the still water.
What’s the Inle lake festival?
Also known as the Taunggyi balloon festival, the inle lake festival happens once a year around end of October/November time. You can read more about that here.
Is there an Inle lake winery?
Yes, there is a vineyard at Inle Lake. It is called the Red Mountain Estate Winery. It is very European and seems almost out of place in Myanmar. I was told it was run by a Chinese man. Red Mountain Estate is very easy to get to and is a quick 15 minute bicycle ride east from Nyaung Shwe. If you don’t see it, don’t worry, there is plenty more interesting places to visit around the lake.
Anymore questions or answers you can think of? Just comment below and I will try to help you out 🙂