One day boat tour around Inle Lake. Where to stop and what to see?
A boat tour around Inle Lake is a must do activity if you are in the region. It’s a very relaxing journey and you can really appreciate the local lifestyle.
Day 8 morning we walked to the Inle boat station and tried to find someone who could do the day tour. There were 3 of us, so we agreed to a total of MMK 30,000 (22 USD) for the full day programme.
Read the pervious post on: Explore Inle Lake on a bike or by boat?
One of the most beautiful things I liked about the morning in Myanmar was the misty scenery over the mountain range. I liked it more in Inle Lake for its reflection on the surface. Apart from the breathtaking scenery, you also need to be aware of the cold mornings in Inle Lake. Temperature can drop below 10 degrees.
We made a little visit to these top must see places:
- The floating garden
- Ywama village (floating village, Venice of Myanmar)
- Weaving manufactory
- Handicraft and cigar workshop
- Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda
- In Dein
- Nga Phe Chaung Monastery
First spot: the floating garden
In addition to fishing in Inle Lake, the floating garden provides locals with facilites to be able to grow their own vegetables and fruits. The floating garden beds are formed by extensive manual labour, the farmers gather up lake-bottom weeds from the deeper parts of the lake, bring them back in boats and make them into floating beds, anchored by bamboo poles.
These gardens rise and fall with changes in the water level, and so are resistant to flooding. The nutrient-laden water contributes to these gardens by making them incredibly fertile.
Second spot: Ywama village, a floating village in Inle Lake
Not far from the popular floating garden, we went through Ywama floating village. The whole village was built on stilts. I think this village deserves the name Venice of Myanmar.
Inside the village, we stopped at a weaving manufactory, a handicraft and cigar workshop. The costs for goods in such a place is a lot higher than the price you find in the city. The longyis (lungis) from the display room in the weaving factory were so colourful and pretty. Hard to say no to these products but we didn’t buy any.
Third spot: Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda
This is a pagoda accessible by boat only. It’s a rather busy pagoda even in the low season. Our boat guide said that this particular site is one of the most important ones in the Inle Lake region. The pagoda is famous for the five golden Buddhas.
As soon as you enter the main hall, you will see an area fenced inside a square where the five golden Buddha’s statues sit. There were only men standing around the fenced square and touching the golden Buddha’s statue. Just a little before the fenced square area, it was marked with a big sign stating “Ladies are prohibited”. All ladies were sitting 2 meters away from the fenced square. I was curious to find out why such a rule applies in this place. It still remains mysterious why this was the case and I wouldn’t jump to any conclusions.
Fourth spot: In Dein
The Shwe Indein Pagoda (known as In Dein or Inn Dein) is a group of Buddhist pagodas in the village of Indein. It’s an impressive site where you can see thousands of spires. The site is a huge collection of partially restored, partially gold plated shining spires and partially ruined, vegetation-clad brick stupas from the 12th century to 18th century.
In Dein lies off the lake to the southwest. We went through a scenic In Dein Revier from after visiting the Ywama water village. From the boat station in In Dein village, there is about a 1.5km walk to the main site. It passes a bamboo forest then you will see a long corridor leading up to the In Dein site. There are plenty of cafes and souvenir shops prior to the site. The cafe inside the bamboo forest offers really good coffee.
This unique view of thousands of spires from different Burmese eras, silhouetted against mountain ranges. Its truly spectacular. Some people can be very creative in taking interesting photos in this spot. We spent a good 2 hours on this site.
Fifth spot and the last: Nga Phe Chaung Monastery
Nga Phe Chuang Monastery is a stunning wooden monastery built on stilts around 200 years ago on the Inle Lake. It’s also known as the Jumping Cat Monastery, where the monks used to train cats to jump through hoops.
At the end of the boat tour, we returned to Nyaungshwe town to catch the evening bus for Yangon.
Off to Yangon, Nyaung Shwe to Yangon by JJ Express bus company.
JJ Express bus seating plan is 2 + 1 and it offers 160 degrees recline. The departure station in Nyaung Shwe is really easy to find, right on the main street of Yone Gyi St.
Our scheduled departure time was at 6pm, but we had to check in 30 mins before. At around 7.30pm, the bus stopped in a local restaurant for half an hour to have dinner. Dinner is included in your bus ticket. You’ve got only two choices, rice or noodle. Neither of them were any good, so I suggest you pack your own snack food or have proper dinner before the journey.