Inle Lake is one of Myanmar‘s top tourist attractions. It is somewhat of a backpacker centre with plenty of cheap restaurants, many of them Indian and Nepalese.
It is famous for its fisherman who row with a special one-legged technique. That said, none of them exist any more, save one or two who pose for tourists for a small fee.
The lake and surrounding countryside are very beautiful and definitely worth visiting for a few days. It has these days, however, become a bit of a tourist trap.
No visit to the area is complete without the obligatory lake tour. Tours are quite cheap, as the boats rely on commission from over-priced tourist shops you visit as part of the tour. At these shops you can see local silversmiths and the famous long-necked Shan women weaving before the hard-sell starts.
The highlight of the tour for me was the Shwe Inn Dein Pagoda. To get there, the boats follow a tributary where you can see authentic villages and fisherman.
Otherwise, there is not a great deal to do, apart from renting bikes and exploring the local countryside and neighbouring villages.
For accommodation, you have two options: stay on the lake itself or in the neighbouring town, Nyaung Shwe. I recommend the latter, as the hotels on the lake are quite isolated, limiting your eating options or forcing you to travel to Nyaung Shwe by boat every evening.
While there, I was lucky enough to see a local festival, featuring a pagoda being transported on a boat and a boat race featuring boats with multiple single-legged rowers.
I stayed at the awesome View Point Lodge in my own chalet on the water with living room and private balcony.
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