Inle Lake, the Jewel of Shan State, is located about 30 km to the south of Taunggyi. This vast, beautiful and picturesque Lake, sheltered among the hazy blue mountains of 1524 meters, stretches 22.4 km long and 10.2 km wide. The lake itself is about 900 meters above sea-level and studded with floating islands.Inle Lake is famous for its unique one-leg rowers, floating villages and colorful markets. Ywama, the site of every five days floating "markets" and InleKaungdaing Spa are the places to be visited. Inle silk is quite popular in Myanmar and hand-looms silk weaving can studied at Inpaw-Khon village.
The celebrated Phaung-Daw-Oo Pagoda is situated in this Lake. Its festival is full of pageantry and ceremonial splendor that held once a year in October. There is the one special thing very peculiar and different from other countries. During the Pagoda Festival, the traditional unique one-leg rowers boat races is the most fascinating events for all the visitors far and near. It can only be seen during the festival of Phaung-Daw-Oo Pagoda that held in mid-October.
WHERE TO VISIT
PHAUNG DAW OO PAGODA
One of the famous principal shrines in Myanmar, this pagoda houses five small Buddha images. Once a year, the Lights Festival coincident with PhaungDawOo Pagoda festival from end September to early October. The festival revolves around the procession of four sacred images, which usually reside with a fifth image at PhaungDawOo Pagoda for worship by the faithful all year round. For 18 days, the four images are taken out of PhaungDawOo Pagoda and carried in a spectacular procession around the 200 villages dotting Inlay Lake, with an overnight stop at a pagoda in one of the villages.
Ngaphechaung Monastery is located in Inle Lake, on the way to Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda. This is an attractive wooden monastery built on stilts over the lake at the end of the 1850s. Aside from its collection of Buddhas the monastery may be of interest to visit because its monks have taught a few of the many cats living with them to jump through hoops. 25 minutes boat ride to visit and ancient monastery built on huge pieces of teak wood with traditional architecture and see the popular jumping cats leap through the hoops.
The monastery is also known for a collection of old Myanmar's Buddha images from different areas that are worth seeing. NgaPheChaug is the biggest and oldest monastery on the Inle Lake and is worth visiting for its historical purposes and architecture as well as its cats.
SHWE INDEIN PAGODA
This mysterious place is one of the small villages of Inle Lake located on the western bank of the lake. A Buddha image has enshrined at a whitewashed stupa, which is on the summit of a hill. Below the stupa around the hill are cluster of hundreds of ancient stupas most are ruins overgrown with bushes. The pagoda hill is quiet and calm. One could feel the pleasant cool breeze with the sweet rings of the bells hanging at the umbrella of the stupa. Mesmerizing view from pagoda hill releases the fatigue and refreshes everybody who ascends to the peak. This mysterious place is at the end of the marvellous Indein creek, which connected with Inle Lake just after the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda.
MINE THAUK MARKET
Usually the Mint Thauk Market is open after every 5 days. A large and bustling market where one can find a real local atmosphere with a variety of produce from the lake. Other places of interest near the market in the lake are PayaPauk Pagoda, Zakah Village and NgaPheChaung monastery. Accessible by ferry boats in Inle.
AROUND INLE LAKE
Nyaung Shwe is located in the Southern Shan State near the marvelous Inle Lake. Inle Lake is situated in Nyaung Shwe Township. To visit Nyaung Shwe, one has to take a flight from Yangon to Heho, and then travel by car or bus. Or one can travel by highway buses from Yangon to Taunggyi, then pass Shwe Nyaung and reach Nyaung Shwe.
You can also study Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery, on Shwe Nyaung – Nyaung Shwe road. From Shwe Nyaung, it takes 30 minutes to Nyaung Shwe. Then, you can travel by motorboat, from Nyaung Shwe to Inlay Lake. This town is the main transfer port to Inle Lake by ferry boats.