It didn’t take me long to realize that there is so much more to see and to do around Inle Lake than just visiting the lake itself. One can easily spend a week discovering the different areas, handicraft factories and activities in the region.After arriving at Inle Lake in the afternoon of our third trekking day (more information about this trek) we just chilled for the rest of the day, had some western dinner and enjoyed the success of completing the trek. As much as I enjoyed the tour, staying in a homestay and a monastery, feeding myself up with the delicious homemade food and spending so much time in the nature, it was nice to sleep in a bed with some privacy, to have a proper shower and to get some laundry done.
Take a ride on a bicycle
In my opinion the best way to discover the area of Inle Lake is by bicycle. It’s cheap (if you are lucky, your hostel might offer the bicycle for free!), you lose those unwanted calories and most important it’s fun (considering you don’t mind bicycling uphill and you are lucky enough not to experience a flat tire). Starting from the village Nyaungshwe you could do a tour either way around the lake. We decided to go counterclockwise passing some canals and creeks as well as endless fields along the way. We had some fried street food and talked to some locals about the tofu making factory we wanted to visit. Unfortunately the factories are closed during the weekend so we had to skip this.
A boatride across the lake
After crossing Inle Lake from south to north as the ‚Grande Finale‘ of the trekking tour we took another boat from Kaung Daing to Maing Thauk to cross the lake from west to east. Without any hassle we got all our bikes and the 6 of us placed on the boat and enjoyed the nice breeze. During dry season the lake is mostly only 2 meters deep and you can see the bottom of the lake while crossing.
Be observant and you’ll spot the famous fishermen posing in the middle of the lake for all the tourists passing by.
Natural Swimming Pool
Located close to the pier of Maing Thank we found a nice and clean natural swimming pool to have a refreshing break in the heat of the afternoon. We even met a couple of monks from the close by monastery having a bath and enjoying the sun.
How to get there: Coming from the pier go straight and following the signs for the Forest Monastery for about 1 km. Turn left into a small path between the fields and follow this way about 1,4 km. You will spot the swimming pool easily on your left-hand side.
Red Mountain Winery
Passing some beautiful sunflower fields and forcing ourselves up the hill we made it to our last stop on the way: the Red Mountain Winery!
Watching the sunset with a glass of wine (or maybe two) has been a perfect ending of a great day discovering Inle Lake.
The winery is not too pricy and even the food is really good and affordable. The view is definitely worth a visit.
The market located in the city center of Nyaungshwe is definitely worth a visit. A huge variety of fruits, vegetables, spices, dry fruits, clothes, kitchen equipment and local delicacies is available here every day. Just try to avoid the meat & fish section as it was one of the worst I’ve seen throughout Southeast Asia so far.
Before heading to Bagan we attended a Burmese cooking class to get to know the local cuisine a little bit better. I really enjoyed preparing all these delicious dishes by myself and it always leaves me more open-minded for new food when I know what it is actually made of.
More about the Burmese Cooking Class.