In the Shan State of Myanmar, just below Nyaungshwe sits picturesque Inle Lake. A place where the past is still present with traditional fishing methods being practiced. Old fashioned handicrafts still being made from textiles, jewellery and even hand rolled cheroots produced by the hundreds daily. A boat can easily be hired to discover the beauty this lake has to offer amongst the floating villages (the price is around 15,000K per boat fitting 4-5 people, generally up for bartering). The engine rattling can be a bit loud, but if you’re able to drown that out it is a peaceful ride across the placid water with the mountains rising all around.
Other than the lake there is the great food of the Shan state and cooking classes to learn some of your favorites. Only a short distance away by bicycle is the Red Mountain Estate Winery, where you can get your wine and dine on overlooking the vineyards sampling some Burmese wine.
How to get there: Inle Lake is best reached by a two day trek from the town of Kalaw, while overnighting in a monastery. A simple walk taking you across the countryside and through small towns seeing some village life. Easy to find a company throughout Kalaw organizing tours. I went through Golden Lily guesthouse for approx. 30,000K.
By plane – the nearest airport to Nyaungshwe is 30 km away.
By bus – from Bagan the journey is around 9 hours, night or day, approx. 14-20$ US
From Mandalay it is around 7-8 hours, night or day, approx. 12$ US
From Yangon it is a 12-14 hour ride overnight, approx. 10$ US