Let me tell you about one of the main tourist attractions in Myanmar. It’s Inle Lake. It is much recommended for travellers who are interesting in urban areas and for those who are looking for a relaxing vacation. The lake is the second largest lake which is 22 km long and 10 km cross (it is just about 14 miles long and 7 miles wide). It is located approximate-ly900 meters above the sea level. Compared to other places in Myanmar, Inle can be a bit cold because of its location. You can find different ethnic minorities with unique, colorful and beautiful culture in Inle.Places around Inle region are Taunggyi, NyaungShwe, Kakku, Heho, Kalaw and Pindaya.

Getting into Inle Lake – The easiest way to get into Inle Lake (and the most comfortable) is by domestic flight. The closest airport is in Heho, which is a taxi-ride (about 1 hour) away from the lake itself (walking down the road from the airport, towards the highway, should see quoted fares drop, if not, try your luck hailing a taxi or passing pickup on the highway itself). Taking a taxi from the airport can be quite expensive, from 25,000 – 40,000 Kyats. If you baulk at the high fare, the taxi drivers will attempt to gather other travelers to share the taxi and split the fare, so there is a good chance you will end up paying alot less by sharing your taxi. A good way to save money is to book a taxi in advance with your guesthouse; they usually charge about 15,000 Kyats. 15,000kyat is a good price to/from the airport that may be more difficult to reserve on your way in, but no issue to book for your return trip to Heho from any agency in town. When returning, you can often save by booking a shared taxi through your hotel or one of the many travel agents around. Check with them the day before you fly out.

Climate – Theclimate in Inle Lake can be described as monsoonal, as it receives an average of 1,370 mm of rainfall every year and the wettest period falls between the months of May and September. However, dry season rain is quite frequent on the Shan Plateau, more frequent than in any other place in Myanmar. Because of the altitude, tourists can expect a cool climate and while mists are to be expected, visitors need not worry about frost. Throughout the year, the climate in the lake area is cool but it gets downright chilly during early mornings and evenings during the months of January and February. Tourists are advised to bring socks, sweaters or jackets to keep themselves warm.

Here is the chart of the average temperatures and rainfall for Inle.

INLE LAKE Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Average Monthly Rainfall (mm) 0 4 13 46 138 101 96 193 169 110 63 7
Average Maximum Temp (°C) 25 26 30 31 29 28 27 27 27 27 25 24
Average Minimum Temp (°C) 4 6 10 15 18 19 19 19 18 16 12 6

People and Living Culture – The people of Inle Lake (called Intha), some 70,000 of them, live in four cities bordering the lake. There areabout18small villages along the lake’s shores, and on the lake mostly occupied by the Intha people.They are called as “Intha” meaning people of the Inle Lake.Most villages rest on stilts surrounded by water and some villages are floating above water. The entire lake area is in NyaungShweTownship. The population consists predominantly ofIntha, with a mix of other Shan, Taungyo, Pa-O (Taungthu), Danu, Kayah, Danaw and Bamar ethnicities. Most are devout Buddhist, and live in simple houses of wood and woven bamboo on stilts; they are largely self-sufficient farmers.

There is a $5 entry fee per person to the lake but it will increase $10 (start from 1.Oct.2013), charged by the government. This fee typically gets collected on the bus or at the airport when you arrive.

Travelling by Boat – The most popular thing to do at Inle Lake is to go on a boat tour around the lake.A boat can load 5 passengers, you can request to share with others. To hire the boat at the pier may cheaper and more flexible, only the top half of the lake (~10000 kyat for half day tour, ~12000kyat for half day tour + floating market) or including the south of the lake (recommended!) (~15000 kyat). Note that in comparison to other boat trips, this is very cheap, because the boat drivers get good commissions for anything you buy at the many shops you visit. (Mostly) Typical shops are clothing (about twice more expensive for the same item than elsewhere in the countrybut local citizen can buy more cheaply than others), silverware and jewelry, lacquer ware& tobacco. If you want to spend more time on the lake and less time shopping, be sure to tell the boat driver clearly. – Prices for Apr 2013: We couldn’t find a boat < 16,000 kyat for a full day tour. If you get 4 to 5 people on the boat they will get the price to 4,000 Kyats per person – remember to ask for an Umbrella/parasol, it gets HOT! (Apr 2013, boats can still be found for 15000 Kyat).

One of the main attractions of Inle Lake is the Leg Rowers. (That is controlling the boat with one leg, using the other leg to make balance.)You can find fishermen who have a unique style of leg-rowing (one-legged rowing), floating gardens, floating bazars, floating islands, about a hundred Buddhist monasteries and a lot of pagodas through the Inle Lake. You can hire a boat and travel around the lake, visiting many villages in the lake as well as to the famous floating bazars and floating PhaungDawOo Pagoda. The PhaungDawOoPagodais one of the holiest sites in this area of Shan State as it houses a collection of five highly-revered small Buddha images. You can visit Indein Market which rotates every 5 days in different villages around Inle Lake attracting thousands of people including Pa-O, Intha, Padauang tribes.

The best time to visit is September and October. This is mainly because of the ceremonial PhaungDawOoPagodaFestival, the most important event held there. This festival lasts for almost three weeks, and occurs between late September and early Octoberwith famous boat race of Inthas. The PhaungDawOo Festival is closely followed by the Thadingyut, another festival and one of Myanmar’s best-known events. The Inthaand Shan folks wear new clothes to celebrate the end of Buddhist Lent, or ‘Waso’.

You will also have the opportunity to visit NgaHpeChaung, locally known as Jumping Cat Monastery. This is a beautiful wooden monastery which houses an impressive collection of Buddha images, all representing different styles of design found within the country.Out in the open lake is a monastery with 157 years` history.Supported by 654 teak pillars of which 200 are gilded in gold,it houses 6 golden Buddhastat-uses of varying sizes.

Travelling by Bike – Cycling along the lake you will see many monasteries, viewpoints, villages and amazing farmland. Bikes can be hired from almost every street corner and cost 1,000kyt. Grab yourself a map from the guesthouse, and head off.We rode about half way around the lake, and then opted to take a canoe across the lake, and then finish the loop back to town from there. The cost of the canoe ride was 5,000 Kyats. It’s no problem loading the bicycles on the boat either.
You can ride to the lake and the vineyard. There’s a great winery along the lake, about 30 minutes bike ride from town, called Red Mountain Estate. Tastings are 2,000 Kyats ($2 USD) for 4 different wines. They have a lunch and dinner menu as well. The sunset up at the winery is spectacular. You should go there.

Hiking – If you like the idea of hiking on your holiday to Burma, Inle Lake is a great place to visit. There are plenty of options for guided day treks, but you should remember that high temperatures and steep hills can make these tough going – so take plenty of water (2 to 3 litres) and suncream with you.

Alternatively, go on a three-day hike to Kalaw. This hill station is located at 1,320 m and, thanks to its altitude, has a refreshingly cool climate.

Careful Tips -Basically, most of Inthapeople are very honest but there are some wheeler-dealers like other countries. Here are top things to care along your trip.

  • If you want to borrow boat, go directly to the dock and negotiate. Don’t deal with anyone who make it appear as if there are no other options.The price for 1 boat for 1 full day is 12$ ~ 20$, up to 8 people can get in 1 boat.
  • Make sure that you have enough insect repellant for your trip. Always in the evenings wear long sleeves and long pants and cover all exposed areas of skin with repellant.
  • Myanmar’s weather is immoderately hot. Always make sure to carrysufficient bottled water for the day. When buying bottled water CHECK to see that the cap seal on the water bottle has not been broken or re-filled with local water. Be aware of this.
  • Though it might get hot during day, it is misty and very chilly in the morning. Bring warm clothes as touring with the boat means the wind is blowing and it gets even chillier. Cardigans and jackets are a must if travellers plan to visit during January and February. Bring sunblock, sun glasses, hats and umbrellas.
  • Plan carefully and tell your boatmen exactly where you want to go.
  •  Buy some bags of “fish pretzels” before heading to the lake. Tens of seagulls fly with you and catch in mid-air the fish you throw up. Have a great fun seeing them chase the pretzels without missing even one.
  •  For footwear, sandals and slippers are recommended. No footwear is allowed in pagodas, monasteries as well as houses so easy-to-remove footwear is a practical choice.

Ref:http://wikitravel.org, http://www.travelbite.co.ukLet me tell you about one of the main tourist attractions in Myanmar. It’s Inle Lake. It is much recommended for travellers who are interesting in urban areas and for those who are looking for a relaxing vacation. The lake is the second largest lake which is 22 km long and 10 km cross (it is just about 14 miles long and 7 miles wide). It is located approximate-ly900 meters above the sea level. Compared to other places in Myanmar, Inle can be a bit cold because of its location. You can find different ethnic minorities with unique, colorful and beautiful culture in Inle.Places around Inle region are Taunggyi, NyaungShwe, Kakku, Heho, Kalaw and Pindaya.

Getting into Inle Lake – The easiest way to get into Inle Lake (and the most comfortable) is by domestic flight. The closest airport is in Heho, which is a taxi-ride (about 1 hour) away from the lake itself (walking down the road from the airport, towards the highway, should see quoted fares drop, if not, try your luck hailing a taxi or passing pickup on the highway itself). Taking a taxi from the airport can be quite expensive, from 25,000 – 40,000 Kyats. If you baulk at the high fare, the taxi drivers will attempt to gather other travelers to share the taxi and split the fare, so there is a good chance you will end up paying alot less by sharing your taxi. A good way to save money is to book a taxi in advance with your guesthouse; they usually charge about 15,000 Kyats. 15,000kyat is a good price to/from the airport that may be more difficult to reserve on your way in, but no issue to book for your return trip to Heho from any agency in town. When returning, you can often save by booking a shared taxi through your hotel or one of the many travel agents around. Check with them the day before you fly out.

Climate – Theclimate in Inle Lake can be described as monsoonal, as it receives an average of 1,370 mm of rainfall every year and the wettest period falls between the months of May and September. However, dry season rain is quite frequent on the Shan Plateau, more frequent than in any other place in Myanmar. Because of the altitude, tourists can expect a cool climate and while mists are to be expected, visitors need not worry about frost. Throughout the year, the climate in the lake area is cool but it gets downright chilly during early mornings and evenings during the months of January and February. Tourists are advised to bring socks, sweaters or jackets to keep themselves warm.

Here is the chart of the average temperatures and rainfall for Inle.

INLE LAKE Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Average Monthly Rainfall (mm) 0 4 13 46 138 101 96 193 169 110 63 7
Average Maximum Temp (°C) 25 26 30 31 29 28 27 27 27 27 25 24
Average Minimum Temp (°C) 4 6 10 15 18 19 19 19 18 16 12 6

People and Living Culture – The people of Inle Lake (called Intha), some 70,000 of them, live in four cities bordering the lake. There areabout18small villages along the lake’s shores, and on the lake mostly occupied by the Intha people.They are called as “Intha” meaning people of the Inle Lake.Most villages rest on stilts surrounded by water and some villages are floating above water. The entire lake area is in NyaungShweTownship. The population consists predominantly ofIntha, with a mix of other Shan, Taungyo, Pa-O (Taungthu), Danu, Kayah, Danaw and Bamar ethnicities. Most are devout Buddhist, and live in simple houses of wood and woven bamboo on stilts; they are largely self-sufficient farmers.

There is a $5 entry fee per person to the lake but it will increase $10 (start from 1.Oct.2013), charged by the government. This fee typically gets collected on the bus or at the airport when you arrive.

Travelling by Boat – The most popular thing to do at Inle Lake is to go on a boat tour around the lake.A boat can load 5 passengers, you can request to share with others. To hire the boat at the pier may cheaper and more flexible, only the top half of the lake (~10000 kyat for half day tour, ~12000kyat for half day tour + floating market) or including the south of the lake (recommended!) (~15000 kyat). Note that in comparison to other boat trips, this is very cheap, because the boat drivers get good commissions for anything you buy at the many shops you visit. (Mostly) Typical shops are clothing (about twice more expensive for the same item than elsewhere in the countrybut local citizen can buy more cheaply than others), silverware and jewelry, lacquer ware& tobacco. If you want to spend more time on the lake and less time shopping, be sure to tell the boat driver clearly. – Prices for Apr 2013: We couldn’t find a boat < 16,000 kyat for a full day tour. If you get 4 to 5 people on the boat they will get the price to 4,000 Kyats per person – remember to ask for an Umbrella/parasol, it gets HOT! (Apr 2013, boats can still be found for 15000 Kyat).

One of the main attractions of Inle Lake is the Leg Rowers. (That is controlling the boat with one leg, using the other leg to make balance.)You can find fishermen who have a unique style of leg-rowing (one-legged rowing), floating gardens, floating bazars, floating islands, about a hundred Buddhist monasteries and a lot of pagodas through the Inle Lake. You can hire a boat and travel around the lake, visiting many villages in the lake as well as to the famous floating bazars and floating PhaungDawOo Pagoda. The PhaungDawOoPagodais one of the holiest sites in this area of Shan State as it houses a collection of five highly-revered small Buddha images. You can visit Indein Market which rotates every 5 days in different villages around Inle Lake attracting thousands of people including Pa-O, Intha, Padauang tribes.

The best time to visit is September and October. This is mainly because of the ceremonial PhaungDawOoPagodaFestival, the most important event held there. This festival lasts for almost three weeks, and occurs between late September and early Octoberwith famous boat race of Inthas. The PhaungDawOo Festival is closely followed by the Thadingyut, another festival and one of Myanmar’s best-known events. The Inthaand Shan folks wear new clothes to celebrate the end of Buddhist Lent, or ‘Waso’.

You will also have the opportunity to visit NgaHpeChaung, locally known as Jumping Cat Monastery. This is a beautiful wooden monastery which houses an impressive collection of Buddha images, all representing different styles of design found within the country.Out in the open lake is a monastery with 157 years` history.Supported by 654 teak pillars of which 200 are gilded in gold,it houses 6 golden Buddhastat-uses of varying sizes.

Travelling by Bike – Cycling along the lake you will see many monasteries, viewpoints, villages and amazing farmland. Bikes can be hired from almost every street corner and cost 1,000kyt. Grab yourself a map from the guesthouse, and head off.We rode about half way around the lake, and then opted to take a canoe across the lake, and then finish the loop back to town from there. The cost of the canoe ride was 5,000 Kyats. It’s no problem loading the bicycles on the boat either.
You can ride to the lake and the vineyard. There’s a great winery along the lake, about 30 minutes bike ride from town, called Red Mountain Estate. Tastings are 2,000 Kyats ($2 USD) for 4 different wines. They have a lunch and dinner menu as well. The sunset up at the winery is spectacular. You should go there.

Hiking – If you like the idea of hiking on your holiday to Burma, Inle Lake is a great place to visit. There are plenty of options for guided day treks, but you should remember that high temperatures and steep hills can make these tough going – so take plenty of water (2 to 3 litres) and suncream with you.

Alternatively, go on a three-day hike to Kalaw. This hill station is located at 1,320 m and, thanks to its altitude, has a refreshingly cool climate.

Careful Tips -Basically, most of Inthapeople are very honest but there are some wheeler-dealers like other countries. Here are top things to care along your trip.

  • If you want to borrow boat, go directly to the dock and negotiate. Don’t deal with anyone who make it appear as if there are no other options.The price for 1 boat for 1 full day is 12$ ~ 20$, up to 8 people can get in 1 boat.
  • Make sure that you have enough insect repellant for your trip. Always in the evenings wear long sleeves and long pants and cover all exposed areas of skin with repellant.
  • Myanmar’s weather is immoderately hot. Always make sure to carrysufficient bottled water for the day. When buying bottled water CHECK to see that the cap seal on the water bottle has not been broken or re-filled with local water. Be aware of this.
  • Though it might get hot during day, it is misty and very chilly in the morning. Bring warm clothes as touring with the boat means the wind is blowing and it gets even chillier. Cardigans and jackets are a must if travellers plan to visit during January and February. Bring sunblock, sun glasses, hats and umbrellas.
  • Plan carefully and tell your boatmen exactly where you want to go.
  •  Buy some bags of “fish pretzels” before heading to the lake. Tens of seagulls fly with you and catch in mid-air the fish you throw up. Have a great fun seeing them chase the pretzels without missing even one.
  •  For footwear, sandals and slippers are recommended. No footwear is allowed in pagodas, monasteries as well as houses so easy-to-remove footwear is a practical choice.

BCP-240

Ref:http://wikitravel.org, http://www.travelbite.co.uk