The unique leg-rowers and floating gardens on the lake between the two mountain ranges, this picturesque view was only from Inle Lake.The 11 km long lake lies near Nyaungshwe, a small harbor town ,about 1 hour drive from the small airport Heho in Shan state. Long tailed boats are the only transport material in Inle lake.Phaungdawoo Pagoda is the main Pagoda and while the pagoda ceremony in october, there is crowded on the Lake. The Indein pagoda complex with 1054 pagodas in ruins dating back to 14th century. Boat ride along the Indein creek from the Phaungdawoo Pagoda to Indein is the wonderful trip.The trekkings to the ethnic villages around Kalaw and Pindaya were the chance to contact with the local people.Pindaya Cave is the 150 meters long lime stone cave with about 80,000 Buddha images inside. The orange and rice plantations on the red soil gives you the scenic view from this region.

People and Culture

The people of Inle Lake (called Intha), some 70,000 of them, live in four cities bordering the lake, in numerous small villages along the lake’s shores, and on the lake itself. The entire lake area is in Nyaung Shwe township. The population consists predominantly of Intha, with a mix of other Shan, Taungyo, Pa-O (Taungthu), Danu, Kayah, Danaw and Bamar ethnicities. Most are devout Buddhists, and live in simple houses of wood and woven bamboo on stilts; they are largely self-sufficient farmers.

Most transportation on the lake is traditionally by small boats, or by somewhat larger boats fitted with outboard motors. Local fishermen are known for practicing a distinctive rowing style which involves standing at the stern on one leg and wrapping the other leg around the oar. This unique style evolved for the reason that the lake is covered by reeds and floating plants making it difficult to see above them while sitting. Standing provides the rower with a view beyond the reeds. However, the leg rowing style is only practiced by the men. Women row in the customary style, using the oar with their hands, sitting cross legged at the stern.

Environmental Concerns

Inle Lake is suffering from the environmental effects of increased population and rapid growth in both agriculture and tourism. During the 65-year period from 1935 to 2000, the net open water area of Inle Lake decreased from 69.10 km² to 46.69 km², a loss of 32.4%.


The best time of the year to visit is during September and October. The ceremonial Phaung Daw U Festival, which lasts for almost three weeks, is closely followed by the Thadingyut festival of lights. Inthas and Shan turn out in their best clothes in great numbers to celebrate the Buddhist Lent. Traditional boat racing, with dozens of leg-rowers in Shan dress in a team on each boat, is a famous event during the Phaung Daw U Festival.


Inle cuisine is different from Shan cuisine, as it incorporates local natural produce. The most well-known Inle dish would be the Htamin jin – a rice, tomato and potato or fish salad kneaded into round balls dressed and garnished with crisp fried onion in oil, tamarind sauce, coriander and spring onions often with garlic, Chinese chives roots (ju myit), fried whole dried chili, grilled dried fermented beancakes (pè bou) and fried dried topu (topu jauk kyaw) on the side.