Why Inle Lake is Famous in the World?

9 Apr 2024

Why Inle Lake is Famous in the World?

Inle Lake is the second largest lake in Myanmar and is located at the heart of the country. The lake is surrounded by mountains on all sides offering a breathtaking natural view. The area is rich in animals and plant species and you can see some of the rarest species here. The lake is home to several ethnic tribes of Myanmar who follow well-preserved traditions and cultures. Inle Lake is one of the must-visit places in Myanmar. A visit will provide you with an opportunity to interact with locals and learn some of their traditional ways of planting, fishing, cooking and making handicrafts. The villagers are warm and friendly who are keen to to open up to tourists. You will feel their warmth when you interact with them. Explore Inle and discover nature as you have never seen before.

Fascinating Facts

  • There are 17 villages on the shore and islands on Inle Lake. Each village has its own culture and traditions which are unique in its own way.
  • People live in houses made on stilts. In fact, spending a night or two at stilt houses are the main tourist attraction of Inle Lake.
  • Inle Lake offers one of its kind shopping experience. Each village has its own floating market where traders wander and sell their products.


Inle Lake provides the perfect balance of rural Myanmarese lifestyle as well as mesmerising natural beauty. There are 17 villages at this lake where the villagers belong to different ethnic groups such as the Intha who are called the people of Inle Lake, Shan, Taungyo, Pa-Oo, Danu, Kayah, Danaw and Bamar. People in this area are mostly Buddhists and are highly self-sufficient. The main source of livelihood is farming and fishing. The villagers are famous for a one-legged boat rowing technique that can only be seen at Inle Lake. The lake itself contains a variety of endemic species thus becoming one of the most naturally rich area in Myanmar.


  • Inle does not have an international airport. However, it can be reached easily from the nearest international airport located in Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon. The flight from Yangon to Inle takes about 1 hour 15 minutes and it takes only 30 minutes to fly from Mandalay to Inle.
  • Inle Lake is well-connected by bus with the rest of the country. You can take a bus from Yangon (12 hours), Mandalay (9 hours) and Bagan (9hours). An average taxi ride from Mandalay to Inle takes around 6 to 7 hours.
  • Train services are available from Yangon to Inle Lake. However, it requires an advanced booking of 5 days. The train departs at 11am.

Top Attractions

Inle Lake is flourished with the riches of nature. From exotic animal species and rare migratory birds to lush trees that adorn the landscape, the lake provides you with one of the best travel experiences. You can observe animals in the wild at the Inle Lake Wildlife Sanctuary, view protected species, ride on the one-leg rowed boats and do a range of activities which will make your trip memorable and worthwhile. You can also interact with the friendly villagers when you visit them at the unique stilt houses of Inle lake. The locals are warm and will be happy to guide you in learning the art of crafting silver and metal products. The knowledge has been passed over generations. There is a weekday market which offers the best local goods that you can browse through and purchase.

Five Days Market

One of the most popular things about Inle lake is to visit its floating market. A local market serves most common shopping needs and is held daily. The five days market rotates around the Inle Lake area, the towns of Shan State; Nyaung Shwe, Heho, Taunggyi, Minethauk, Shwe Nyaung, thus each of them hosting an itinerant market every fifth day. The different local tribe people rotate between five different locations over a 5-day period to sell their daily farm products.
The History of becoming a Five Days Market is quite interesting. Back in the old days, The Shan Sawbwa, leaders of Shan State, would go village to village and house to house to tax. It was quite time consuming and in order to be more efficient, they would gather the people from nearby villages in one town at a certain day. Slowly people started to bring goods and trade while waiting for the Sawbwa to collect tax. Even though there is no longer Sawbwa today, the tradition remained.

Lotus Weaving

Legend & Origin of Lotus Weaving in Inle Lake

The birth of lotus weaving in Inle Lake is said to date back to more than century ago when an artisan named Paw Sar Ou started noticing at the fine fibers of lotus stems on the blossoming lotus growing on the lake. That when she cut the lotus stem and pulled the halves gently, the thread appeared. Additionally, the beauty of the lotus symbolizes of the purity in the Buddhist mind that inspired her to devote the elegant flowers into a special robe to the head Abbot at the Buddhist temple that she visited. Legend said that it took her a whole year to extract and weave lotus fibers into a robe and gave it to the Abbot as an offering.As one of Myanmar’s iconic textiles, one can only find lotus woven products in Inle Lake, Shan State. The material of lotus silk is unlike any other. It is known for its versatile functions, which the wearer will be kept warm in the cold weather, and cool when it is hot. It also never wrinkles. For decades, women of Inle weave lotus fibre into scarves and garments using traditional looms using knowledge and skill passed down by their ancestors and remembered by heart. The result? An elegant piece of handwoven lotus fibre fabric that is smooth and soft to the touch. The process of weaving this fine piece of art is complex and time-consuming — it takes up to an entire day to complete a single scarf. This exotic textile can be sold at a very high price, depending on its quality and detail.Lotus silk is not only a precious heritage that makes up part of Myanmar’s identity, but it also holds a traditional value to the people of Inle. Weavers believe that wearing lotus fabric wards off bad elements and brings good luck.

Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda

Phaung Daw Oo pagoda is one of the holiest sites in Shan State and the shrine is huge and features five ancient golden Buddhas. There is the large golden barge, a replica of the one said to have been used by King Alaung Sithu to travel around the country, which makes an annual tour during the pagoda festival to over 20 villages towed by long boats. In 1965, when the boat was carrying these five images, the boat sunk and all of these fell into the lake. People dived into the lake and searched for those and they could recover four of them but one image remained lost. Finally they gave up on searching for the 5 th one and backed to the Phaung Daw Oo pagoda. At that time, they extraordinarly found the lost one in its shrine. Since then, the 5 th one is always remained in its shrine when carrying the images around Inle lake. Pagoda festival is annually held an 18-day from September to October during Thadingyut. This festival is the fundamental one to visit for not only visitors but also locals because of the renowned activity; rowing competitions between the villages, using the local one leg rowing style. Besides, you should have a look for incredible experiences around Inle Lake by exploring at the traditional workshops such as lotus weaving, cigar making (cheroot making), Silver Smith, boat making, pottery and Shan paper umbrella making workshops. And also, you can receive the generous smiles by local people.

Shwe Inn Daing

Shwe Inn Dein Pagoda is the groups of stupas in the Inn Dein Village of Inle lake in Shan State, Myanmar. The pagodas still remains its architectures and structure back to ancient times. Traditions holds that they were built by King Ashoka and renewed by King Anawrahta. There are around 1000 pagodas in this area.

Why should visit?

A pagoda which you should definitely visit when you are at Inle Lake is Shwe Indein Pagoda. There is a Buddha image placed in a white-washed stupa in this pagoda. Below the stupa, you will find hundreds of these stupas close to hundreds of years old. This pagoda is in Idein Village and it takes a 5 kilometres boat ride to reach this place from Ywama Village. The boat ride itself will take you through Inle Lake and enable you to explore the best of the lake.


The best time to visit is in the morning when you can explore the histories of pagodas and take beautiful photos. The opening hours is within 8:00 am to 6:30 pm.


There are many interesting and adventurous trekking routes in Myanmar and the best trekking season is November to early March. One of the most popular treks is Kalaw to Inle lake through the Shan Hills and here your soul will relax with sceneary landscapes and peaceful town. The weather of Kalaw is superficially cooler, and thus it makes you to release exhausting by trekking. Besides, if you will trek by a local tour guide, he will bring you to local’s home and you can try lots of traditional delicious food . There is no doubt you shall explore authentic experiences about the villages you pass through. Therefore you shouldn’t miss to pack your things and trekking paradise , Kalaw in Myanmar.

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