- Enjoy Amazing Views from the Water
- See the Floating Gardens and Watch the Traditional Fishermen
- Unwind on Glowing Sunset Waters
- Visit the Ever-Changing 5-Day Floating Market
- Attend the Annual Phaung Daw Oo Festival
- Walk through a Maze of Stupas at the Indein Complex
- Relax at One of Many Resorts with a River View
- Visit the Wineries and Take a Vineyard Tour
- Trek Through Villages in the Inle Lake Area
Inle Lake is one of Myanmar''s most iconic destinations, due to its one-of-a-kind local culture and incredible scenery. Home to over 70,000 people, and 13.5 miles in length, it has plenty of things to do and see.
To help with planning your adventure, here is a list of 9 must-do activities at Inle Lake.
Enjoy Amazing Views from the Water
Recommended time: half a day
A unique and picturesque body of water, Inle Lake is surrounded by stilt-house villages and numerous Buddhist monuments. Located in a valley between two mountain ranges, the lake is the perfect place for relaxing and taking in the views, with the mountains rising dramatically on the horizon.
Inle Lake is a shallow but large body of water. The best way to experience its beauty is by taking a ride on a traditional wooden longboat. These sleek vehicles are equipped with powerful motors that help them glide quickly and gracefully across the lake, making for a relaxing journey.
The best time to enjoy the beauty of the water is at dawn, when there is more activity and visitors can watch the local people hurrying by. Boats can be found all around the lake, but the best boarding area is at the village of Nyuang Shwe, where many guides wait around in the morning.
See the Floating Gardens and Watch the Traditional Fishermen
Recommended time: 1 day
The people at Inle Lake are famous for their unique way of life, based entirely on the water. Their stilted homes surround the lake and their lush gardens dance on the surface. Local farmers use their picturesque floating gardens, tended entirely from boats, to grow vegetables for use in the local cuisine.
Around the gardens, visitors will notice local fishermen who are often seen propelling their boats forward while standing on one leg and wrapping the other around an oar. This rowing style is unique to Inle Lake and allows the fishermen to have both hands free to cast their nets.
Inle Lake gives visitors an opportunity to see a beautiful and traditional lifestyle that has survived for thousands of years. The best time to see the fishermen and floating gardens is in the morning, when temperatures are cooler and the people are more active.
Excellent planned and executed Myanmar excursion
Asia Highlights and their local Myanmar partner "mAsia" did an excellent job in planning and execution of a one week trip to Myanmar.The various tour guides and drivers had good knowledge and good command over English.More
Gerd, Jan 2018
My experience in Thai
All of this was well organized by the local office. The holiday was wonderful. Our guide, Mr. Longdy（ Siem Reap）were exceptional. He shared his extensive knowledge of the many wonderful places we visited, and were flexible to take us to additional places along the way based on discussions. Thank you so much .shared their extensive knowledge of the many wonderful places we visited, and were flexible to take us to additional places along the way based on discussions.More
kelli, Jul 2023
From the day I submitted an inquiry request, I instantly received a response from Monica asking my preferences for my trip. She has been attentive and responsive to our every needs and we very much appreciate it. Looking forward to our trip in November but many thanks to Monica for making this experience to seamless thus far.More
Sana Samhouri, Jul 2023
Very professional agency for a memorable trip to Asia
A special thanks to Albee who worked with us and helped to tailor the itinerary to our taste, she was amazing and always available for whatever we needed. The trip would not have been the same without her and her team. Thank you!More
Daniela, Jul 2023
It was our first time in Cambodia and …
It was our first time in Cambodia and we had a wonderful time. The accommodations, food, and sites were really beautiful. We ended our trip with a relaxing massage. Sam was very accommodating to our needs and knowledgeable. Thank you for the laughter and for being so kind.More
Amy Oakes Moon, Jun 2023
Our guide Borin - never boring!
Our guide Borin, in Cambodia, was knowledgeable, understanding and thoughtful in every aspect of the plan he put together for our trip to Siem Reap and in its execution. He can read the room, and knew exactly how to pace the tour, when to pause, when to break, and how to prepare us for the maximum benefit. He is extremely kind and caring, and it showed at every turn. He also is a dab hand with the camera, and we have a lot of great pictures to show for it. Kudos to my Asia Highlights coordinator - Cathy Chen, for picking Borin. Borin works with a driver (007) who was also very kind and caring. Whenever we returned to the car, he would have cold towel rolls and chilled water to refresh us. So amazingly considerate. It was an unforgettable experienceMore
David Muliyil, Jun 2023
Our guide, Anna, was fantastic! She was highly informative and a delight to spend our days with. Would request her again if we were to return!More
Alejandra M Almonte, Jun 2023
We've had such a great experience…
We've had such a great experience planning our honeymoon with Alisa at Asia Highlights! We gave her our dream itinerary, thinking that it might be impossible to do all the things we wanted, but Alisa made our dreams a reality! She's gone so far above and beyond to answer ALL of our questions and make little adjustments that will make a huge impact on our experience.More
Lauren, Jun 2023
Alisa knows how to work fast and please a customer.
Alisa is very helpful and works very fast. I am a very difficult client because Inknow what I want in therm of hotels and comfort. She had a lot of patience with me, and moved a lot the plan of the trip, always following my requests. It was a pleasure organizing my trip with her. I recommend her a lot! Thanks Alisa. Malala from Argentina.More
maria laura artola, Jun 2023
In addition, I want to specifically mention the guides provided in certain locations. Rum, in Siem Reap, made the most memorable experience possible. His positivity was contagious - even when it felt like 1000 degrees and we were tired. He brought it all to life, and created a couple days of Ankor Wat, etc. that we will never forget! He heard my daughter's request for specific Cambodian food, and changed our itinerary to go to a village and eat at a locally known shop. He brought the dessert she asked about to us in the car! Overall, he and his driver "Lucky" were a reason to go to Siem Reap. In addition, the other guides (minus one which was switched out immediately) were stupendous. Mon in Bangkok was friendly and provided a great day there; Eak in Chiang Mai gave us a world-class food-tour and day touring the city and its surrounding temples with lots of laughs; Tommy in Hanoi kept us from getting killed in the traffic and gave a stupendous food and architecture/history tour - so very friendly and funny; the fishing village tour in Hoi An, as well as the side-car tour in Saigon, were both unforgettable! Thank you Sharon, and Asia Highlights. Would definitely use again for future trips!More
Teri Simpson, Apr 2023
Cambodia and Vietnam adventure!
Our guide in Cambodia, Meas Darapolaith (Pol), was absolutely amazing. He was knowledgeable, friendly and so helpful. His English was excellent and he shared important insights about history and the magnificent sites we visited. We highly recommend him!More
Jennifer Roth Krieger, Apr 2023
My daughter and I wanted to discover SE…
My daughter and I wanted to discover SE Asia. Being the first in that region, we wanted to use a tour service company. We ended up using Asia Highlights. From the beginning we were impressed with their services. We left home with of mind because all the pre-travel arrangements were taking care and communicate to us efficiently. All our questions were answered promptly. Once in the countries, we were welcome by our excellent tour guides. Everything was taking care for us. We did not have one issue. They selected the right tours guides for us, they were highly knowledgeable and so much attentive to our needs. We had Dhat in Vietnam and Borin in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I highly recommend Asia Highlights. I came back home so much rested, and with plenty of wonderful pictures and memories. I will definitely use Asia Highlights again for my next trip to Asia.More
Isabelle Dessaux, Apr 2023
Fabulous tour and guide in Cambodia
We have been touring Cambodia, guided by Borin ( and driver 007) for the last 2 days. What a fabulous experience! Borin has been a wonderful guide, the best so far in Southeast Asia, explaining the history and culture of Cambodia through his tours of the temples in and around Angkor, as well as the Landmine museum. He has answered all our questions, made sure we were comfortable, and that we have had great food. 007 made sure we always had enough water and cool towels for our face/neck.We highly recommend Borin as a tour guide for Cambodia!!More
Monica, Mar 2023
Best Travel Service for Asia Travel
Alisa Liu was in charge of making the arrangements and she helped us from the start to make all of the arrangements and also helped us when we had questions and requested some adjustments. Her service is of the highest professional level. We are 100% confident that our trip will be perfect. We’re also 100% confident that, if anything comes up during our trip, that Alisa will be there to guide us through and take care of us. We won’t even consider using another agency for travel around Asia and we would like to have Alisa work for us again.More
Leo Pospichal, Mar 2023
Tour of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand
The tour guides and drivers were another high point. All were very good, friendly, knowledgeable and spoke English well. There were two that I want to call out for their excellence. Chan Sovannarith in Siem Reap was our guide in Cambodia. He really made the experience special. His knowledge, willingness to answer all my questions, helpfulness and general attitude made him fun to be around. In order to praise the second exceptional guide I have to explain about an unfortunate occurrence that I had. I'm normally a very active senior, but after leaving Cambodia for Laos I was suddenly struck by the most intense back pain I've ever experienced, couldn't even roll over in bed (turned out to be sciatica). The guide, Mr. Sonophet, really went the extra mile. He went with my traveling companion and bought a back brace and medications for me. When that didn't help much he took me to a clinic where I was seen by a doctor, given a shot and pain meds. He hand-made a walking stick for me that I'm still using! He made it possible for me to somewhat participate in the activities, i.e. a bed on the boat down the river. When it was time to move on to Bangkok he got me a wheelchair at the airport. I can't thank him enough for these kindnesses! This problem lasted for the remainder of the trip, through Bangkok and Phuket and these guides were also very helpful getting wheelchairs, etc. It was a terrible disappointment to have this wonderful trip disrupted, but it would have been SO much worse without the great help that I received from the guides and my poor travel companion!More
Deb M, Mar 2023
In good hands with Sam
Sam Ol took very good care of us - lots of information, listened to and answered all our questions, was passionate about the places we visited and about his people and country. He was kind, had a great sense of humor, and made sure we felt safe and comfortable at all times. He helped us to fall in love with Cambodia in 3 short days.More
Carol Jones, Feb 2023
Best tour guide in Cambodia
When we first arrived at the airport in Siem Riep it was so nice to be greeted by Mr Sam Ol. We instantly fell at home when we saw his friendly smile. We were impressed by his great English and knowledge of the temples. On the tour to the temples Sam took care of us every step of the way. He took awesome pictures of us. It felt like we were on a tour given by our brother who is also a professional photographer. Also, we appreciate his humor as well as the fact he had an answer for every question we had. I give Sam 5 stars, best tour guide ever :)More
Len S, Feb 2023
Mr. Sam our guide in Cambodia, he and the driver out standing service they went above and beyond touring, my wife so amazed beautiful country, we're planning back here near the futures. Thank Mr. Sam,We'll feedback the whole trip next week when we be home in USMore
Pho Lover, Feb 2023
We are still in the middle of our trip, but we are just finishing up our time in Cambodia and our guide, Borin, has been AMAZING!!! He has truly made our time here unforgettable and I plan on referring all of my friends and family to come visit this beautiful country! Thank you, Borin, for everything you did to make our trip so fantastic!More
Danielle Blount, Feb 2023
Excellent service and Wonderful Guides
All of our guides have been terrific. Mr. Sam in Siem Reip was especially wonderful. Both he and our driver were polite, safe knowledgable and informative. Sam made our trip memorable and enioyable. We will definitely recommend Sam and Asia Highlights to our friends.More
Kaaren, Feb 2023
Unwind on Glowing Sunset Waters
Recommended time: 2 hours
In the evening, the busy life on the lake starts to calm down. This is the perfect time to head out and enjoy the stunning view of the sunset reflecting on the glass-like water. As the sun lowers behind the mountains, visitors can take in the natural beauty of the area.
Because Inle Lake has become a popular tourist destination, local fishermen often take their boats out to pose for tourists using their traditional rowing style. Silhouettes of the fishermen against the burnt orange sky create some memorable photos.
Boats can be found at Nyuang Shwe in the afternoon, waiting for visitors who would like to see the sunset. Guides are typically local people and are a good resource, as they know where to find the fishermen and the best sunset views. Sunset at Inle begins between 6 and 6:30 pm, but it's a good idea to be on the lake earlier to catch the whole event.
Visit the Ever-Changing 5-Day Floating Market
Recommended time: half a day in the morning
This chaotic and exciting floating bazaar is called the 5-Day Market because its location rotates every day to one of 5 different lakeside villages. Many assorted and colorful goods and handicrafts are sold at the market and it is a great place for finding the perfect gift or souvenir, while enjoying the scenes of traditional villages.
Trading in the market is done in small wooden boats with sellers and buyers all changing position during trading. People from all around the Inle area, including the local Intha people, the Pa-O villagers, and the long-necked Padaung people, come down from the hills to attend this market and sell their goods.
This creates a beautiful mixture of local cultures and gives visitors the chance to see all of the different groups interacting with each other. Each culture has a unique trading style, language, and traditional clothing.
Attend the Annual Phaung Daw Oo Festival
Recommended time: 2 days
The most anticipated and significant religious event at Inle Lake, the annual Phaung Daw Oo Festival is a celebration that happens in September or October, depending on the lunar calendar, and lasts for 18 days. The festival celebrates the 5 small gold-leaf Buddha statues located at the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda.
During the festival, 4 of the 5 statues are taken on a large royal barge that can only be described as a floating temple. Golden and topped with stupas, the royal barge is striking when framed against the natural beauty of the lake. The statues are moved from village to village around the lake, as the lively celebration proceeds.
The festival also involves boat races, with 20-30 men in each boat, all rowing in the traditional one-legged style as fast as they can. These races are an enjoyable spectacle and give visitors a great taste of Burmese culture.
Walk through a Maze of Stupas at the Indein Complex
Recommended time: 1 day
Containing over 1,600 stupas, the Indein Stupa Complex is a forest of ornate spires rising out of the hillside at the end of a narrow creek. Only accessible by boat, the trip to Indein is an enjoyable journey through the twists and turns of the creek, passing farmers with their water buffalo and families bathing along the banks.
Many of the pagodas have been restored, but others are slowly crumbling, creating a beautiful contrast between pristine pagodas and those being reclaimed by the lush jungle. The garden of golden and white pagodas is especially stunning when viewed from the top of the hill, where visitors can also see the valley and the lake in the distance.
Relax at One of Many Resorts with a River View
Recommended time: 1 day
Staying on the lake is an unforgettable experience and is especially relaxing at one of Inle's lakeside resorts. These resorts boast beautiful views and good food as well as direct access to the lake. Their proximity to the water makes them the perfect place to relax, while taking in the incredible scenery.
Some recommendations for a relaxing stay include Pristine Lotus Spa which boasts a secluded and peaceful experience, Aureum Palace where guests stay in luxurious stilted villas, Inle Princess Resort with unbeatable views and excellent food, and Inle Resort & Spa with its stunning location further down the lake.
Visit the Wineries and Take a Vineyard Tour
Recommended time: half a day
Although countries in Southeast Asia are not typically known for their wineries, Myanmar is beginning to make a name for itself in the wine industry, with two vineyards both located at Inle Lake.
Just a few kilometers west of the lake and accessible by boat or bike, Red Mountain Estate is a popular destination for those looking for inexpensive and delicious wine-tasting. Located on the lower slopes of the mountains, Red Mountain Estate provides a panoramic view of the lake and surrounding valley from its outdoor terrace.
Although further from Inle Lake than Red Mountain Estate, Myanmar's First Vineyard Estate is an incredible winery located on gently sloping hills. Views of the countryside can be enjoyed from the "sunset wine garden" restaurant. This vineyard offers tours, tastings, and lodging for guests who would like the full vineyard experience.
Trek Through Villages in the Inle Lake Area
Recommended time: 1 to 3 days
As Myanmar continues to open up to visitors, its network of walking-trails expands, allowing access to otherwise unreachable local tribes.
The Inle Lake region is interlaced with footpaths which connect the many villages between Inle and Kalaw. On this journey, travelers will walk through the villages of the Palaung, Pa-O, Taungthu, and Danu people.
Trails in this area are mostly uncrowded, creating the opportunity for a peaceful and relaxing adventure. The scenery is exquisite with rolling hills and village farms to the west and the Inle Lake valley to the east. Trekking trips in the Inle region are flexible with regard to duration and difficulty, and many different options are possible.
Check out some trekking options here.
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