Inle is a famous lake located in Nyaungshwe, a hilly region of Shan in Myanmar. As the second largest lake in Myanmar, this lake has a surface area of about 44.9 square miles and at an altitude of 2,900 feet. The beauty of this lake has remarked as a do-not-missing destination among travellers when visiting Myanmar. The popularity of Inle lake has risen sharply along with the Bagan region.
There are no direct flights to Nyaungshwe and to get there, you can make an overland trip via Bagan, Yangon, and Mandalay by bus or travel. The bus ticket offered is entirely cheap at around 120,000 IDR to 180,000 IDR. Ticket prices include snacks and drinking water that you will get when you are on the bus. Like the inter-city buses on the island of Java, Indonesia, local buses between regions in Myanmar with a journey of more than eight hours will also stop at several local restaurants.
Inle Lake is famous for villages and floating parks and the unique way of local life. Located in a valley between two mountains, making your visit feels like a different world from Myanmar. Boat tour bookings can be made through most lodgings in the central city of Nyaungshwe, and ideally, if you go solo, you might be able to join other small groups to avoid paying expensively. On my visit to Inle Lake, I happened to rent a private boat tour.
I spent 18,000 MMK on the private boat rental. At that time, I went straight to the harbour at 3 am, and there were already many boatmen lined up, the price I got was, of course, the result of my hard bargaining and the captain. However, I was a little disappointed when I met a group of Dutch tourists around four people with a total rental fee they spent was only 16,000 MMK.
Generally, the boat tour on Inle Lake lasts about five to six hours. A boat can accommodate four to six tourists who will sit on wooden deck chairs that have been provided by the crew. For those of you who are planning to do a boat tour on Inle Lake, I suggest bringing lots of sunscreens, water, umbrellas, even raincoats because most of the crew do not provide those things.
There are two types of tours based on the schedule, namely sunrise and sunset, where the spots offered are no different. Your boat will go directly to the centre of the lake to observe the fishermen uniquely rowing their legs, and then you are directed to the only one above water temple, also meeting the Padaung woman. This iconic thing underlined me to go to Inle Lake. You will be allowed to take as many photos as possible, and usually, after the attraction, the fisherman will come to the visitor for tips. There is no standard tip that we can give to fishers. You can give them around 10,000 MMK this amount as is normal here.