Things to Do
Thanks to the nice weather conditions in January, doing some outdoor activities is highly recommended. Visiting a local market, exploring an ancient pagoda complex, and tasting some Myanmar-style wine will give you an unforgettable experience in Inle Lake.
Indein Village is one of the places that holds a five-day market. This is a gathering for the local people to sell or purchase goods every five days at different villages, giving you a great chance to observe the indigenous lifestyle of the Myanmar people.
At the market, there are a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, homemade produce, and some handicrafts. Wandering around the market, you will meet some ethnic minorities who are dressed in different ways, showcasing their own unique culture. Some of the older women wrap their heads with a turban while others wear black costumes, which they make themselves.
As you pass through the village, you will see kids playing in the water and washing water buffaloes, farmers plowing the farmland, and monks passing by the side of the river.
Recommended length of visit: 1–2 hours
Indein Pagoda Complex
Speaking of Inle Lake, lots of people will think of picturesque lake scenery. There is, however, a site known as the Shwe Indein Pagoda complex, which holds hundreds of years of history of the Inle Lake region. It is a must-see when you visit Inle Lake and is not far away from Indein Village.
There is a covered walkway that leads you to the complex. Some stalls line up along the way, selling a variety of handicrafts and souvenirs. There is no need to worry about the vendors; they won’t hassle you if you are not interested in buying anything so you can take your time there.
The Shwe Indein Pagoda complex has over 1,000 pagodas, built between the 14th and 17th centuries.
Unlike the pagodas in Bagan, most of them are not restored but are covered by plants, making them appear to be shrouded in mystery. Even so, you can still find some delicate carvings and decorations on them, and you will feel like you are being transported back into the past.
Many of the shapes of the pagodas are the same, but the color of them ranges from white to gold to brick red. They seem more spectacular when the sunlight shines on them.
And if you reach the top of the walkway, you can enjoy an overall view of the complex as well as Inle Lake. It is an experience of a lifetime.
Recommended length of visit: 3 hours
Be aware: If you want to avoid the rush, get there early in the morning or in the late afternoon.
Red Mountain Estate Vineyards and Winery
If you are looking for a different traveling experience in Inle Lake, Red Mountain Estate Vineyards and Winery is the perfect place for you to spend some quality time. Located in the east of Inle Lake region, it is one of the first wineries in Myanmar.
In January, biking up there is the best way to enjoy your trip. Although it takes about 30 minutes to cycle there, it’s worth the effort.
Once you get there, you will be impressed by its pleasant ambiance. It’s surrounded by colorful flowers and other kinds of plants. There is a restaurant nearby, offering a diverse range of Western and Asian foods at reasonable prices.
Four types of wines are offered at the wine tasting area. While you taste the wine, the staff there will show you around, to help you learn more about the process of wine-making and the winery itself.
In addition, there is a patio in the yard, which affords you a great view when watching the stunning sunset.
Recommended length of visit: 3 hours
Be aware: It is a hot spot for tourists to watch a sunset, so getting there earlier in the afternoon is recommended.