Situated nearly 900 metres above sea level and surrounded by blue and hazy mountain ranges in the Shan State, Inle Lake is often referred to as the ‘Venice of the East’ when floating through the canals and stilted villages by boat.
Heho, a small town is the primary air gateway to this serene lake area, whilst Nyaung Shwe is the principal town just north of the lake with a port that buzzes with local fishermen. Travelling by road is the only option into Nyaung Shwe as there aren’t any trains along this stretch yet, although that’s probably for the best, as trains in Myanmar can be painfully slow. The vibrant town bustles yet still gives off a relaxed vibe and tends to be a pleasurable place to just hang out. With a selection of boutique hotels, staying in Nyaung Shwe offers a great alternative to staying on the lake itself, however even if you do not stay here, you’re likely to pass through at some stage of your journey. The dusty main street is home to an ever-growing selection of restaurants, shops and the Mingalar Market – find fresh produce from the lake, handicrafts and local food stalls here. You’re also likely to come across the Shwe Yaung Gwe Monastery with its rustic teakwood architecture and famed oval windows – as a teaching monastery, you’ll often find young novice monks gazing out from the windows. Adjacent to the monastery is Yadana Manaung Pagoda with its gold and crimson colour tones.
|Official Language||Burmese, minority languages|