Things to Do
May is the start of the low traveling season, but it is still a good time to travel, with its warm temperatures and cool breeze by the lake.
Doing some outdoor activities is highly recommended. You can visit a floating market to observe the authentic local people’s lives, or tour an age-old monastery, which is still in use, providing you with a chance to learn about the monks' routines.
Even if it rains from time to time in May, you can catch a different image of Inle Lake, with its mist-shrouded picturesque scenery.
Ywana Floating Market
Every five days, people gather at a market to buy and sell their produce. Ywana, the largest of all the floating markets, is a rotating hot spot for inhabitants to trade goods with other tribal people.
In the morning, loaded boats arriving from all directions line up in their own way to do business with locals and tourists. The items vary from daily supplies, fruit and vegetables, and homemade dried fish to exquisite handiwork, giving you an authentic taste of the Intha people’s lives.
After you have explored the market, you can pay a visit to Ywana village nearby.
The village is home to a pagoda complex, umbrella workshops, and a lotus silk weaving house. All its houses are built on the lake, with lots of bamboo walkways, and people travel around using canoes.
Note: It is highly recommended to get to the market in the early morning to avoid the peak hours and enjoy the serene atmosphere, for this is the largest floating market.
Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery
You might get a bit templed-out during your trip in Myanmar, but this monastery is worth a visit.
It is to one side of a main road, surrounded by water and rice fields and can be reached by motorbike in about 10 minutes. In May, the time for farmers to prepare for a new rice plantation, you can gain a closer look at the rural lives of the Myanmar people.
Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery stands out among the other golden pagodas, with its wooden ordination hall on stilts and two oval-shaped windows. It is a great spot for taking photos.
If you are lucky enough, you can catch a glimpse of novices playing with cats in the hall, or gazing unintentionally back at you by the windows.
The monastery is still in use, which means you can see how the novice monks study and how they live their daily lives. You can listen to them chanting, and can even meditate with them if you like.
In addition, there is a hidden gem nearby – Shwe Yaunghwe Kyaung – the perfect place for people who want to avoid crowds of tourists and to appreciate authentic Buddhist art.
Shwe Yaunghwe Kyaung houses hundreds of dressed-up pagoda statues, sitting in small niches. The floor and ceiling are decorated colorfully, and the walls are covered by glass mosaics, making a harmonious combination.
Note: As Shwe Yan Pyay is a stop on other tour routes, get there in the early morning or late afternoon, so that you don’t have to jostle through the crowds.