Inle Lake is the second largest lake in Myanmar, located inland in the Shan state. Its scenic landscape and unique culture of the people make it one of Myanmar’s most popular destinations for tourists.
Inle Lake’s unique geography means that it is generally much cooler than other places in Myanmar. Depending on the time of year, the average temperature can vary from 22°C (72°F) in the dry season, to 35°C (95°F) in the hot season. However, keep in mind that the temperatures can drop quite significantly at night and in the mornings.
What to do at Inle Lake
On Inle Lake you can visit the floating vegetable gardens, see the local stilt houses, and witness the leg-rowing skills of the fishermen, which has become the iconic image of Inle lake.
You can also visit the Indein stupa complex, visit the 5-day mobile market which rotates each day between five different villages, or see the Phaung Daw Oo Festival, where there will be hundreds of leg-rowers celebrating the festival.
It is important to take weather into consideration when planning a trip to Inle Lake so you can bring the appropriate attire and plan for suitable activities. Nevertheless, whichever time you decide to visit, we can help you prepare for suitable activities to ensure you enjoy your trip to Inle Lake.
Best time to visit Inle Lake
The best time to visit is the dry season as the temperature is slightly cooler, with little rain. In terms of average temperature, the variation within the year is not great, but you can expect a significant temperature drop in the mornings and evenings.
The Cool/Dry Season – November to February
The dry season is the coolest time of year with average temperatures of around 22 - 33°C (72 – 91°F), and very little rain, especially in January and February. This weather is good for outdoor activities. While the day temperature is relatively warm, it can get quite chilly in the evenings and mornings.
During this season, you can visit the 5-day market where you can observe the indigenous lifestyle of the Myanmar people, or visit the picturesque Indein Pagoda Complex, or you can also take a boat and enjoy the Inle lake scene.
Phaung Daw Oo Festival
You can also witness the Phaung Daw Oo Festival, which is a religious festival where they ceremonially row images of Buddha around the lake on colorful boats. The date for this festival varies each year, depending on the lunar calendar, but it is usually in October, and celebrated over a period of three weeks.
The highlight of this festival is the rowing competition, where you can see hundreds of leg-rowers. It is a sight not to be missed.
What to bring: Outdoor clothing, warm clothing such as thick jacket, sweater, and windbreaker (as it does get windy especially in February), sunscreen, mosquito repellent.
The Hot Season – March to May
In the hot season, it seldom rains, and the average temperature is about 24 - 35°C (75 - 95°F), with strong sunlight and some rain. Be sure to prepare sunscreen for protection against the sunlight.
Being in the Inle lake region means that the hot season is not as hot as if you are in other parts of Myanmar like Bagan. This means that generally you can still do most outdoor activities even during the hot season, especially activities on the Inle Lake.
On the Inle Lake you can observe the unique fishing method of the locals, or visit their floating gardens. Not only do the locals live on the lake, in houses on stilts, but they also cultivate farmland on the lake itself.
Myanmar New Year
If you are around the region between 13th to 16th April, you can also join in the Thingyan celebration, which is the Water Festival, and then culminate in the New Year Celebration on 17th April.
During the festival, people splash water on each other. Traditionally, the idea behind this is to wash away sins and bad luck. This festive atmosphere is a great opportunity for you to interact with the locals!
What to bring: Outdoor clothing, windbreaker, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, thin sweater for mornings and evenings.
The Rainy Season – May to October
In the rainy season, it rains frequently and heavily, along with some strong winds. The temperature is cooler, with an average temperature between 23 and 33°C (73 - 91°F). The rain also brings humidity.
There are obvious reasons why rainy season is not usually the traveler’s first choice of time to visit. Firstly, you cannot do as many of the outdoor activities as you would like, such as cycling or trekking. The ground tends to be muddier and the sky murkier as well.
Nevertheless, there are other considerations why you might come during the rainy season, and there are positive sides to the rainy season too. Rainy season is the low season for Myanmar, which means you can expect fewer tourists.
If you prefer fewer crowds, you might enjoy the rainy season better. The temperature is slightly cooler than during the hot and dry season too. So, if you have an aversion to heat, the rainy season can be a better alternative.
What to bring: Outdoor clothing, warm clothing such as thick jacket, sweater, and windbreaker, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, rain jacket, umbrella.