Inle Lake

Inle Lake (Inlay) is a freshwater lake located in the heart of the Shan Plateau, more than 900 metres above sea level. The people of Inle Lake (the Intha) live in four cities bordering the lake and numerous small villages along the lake's shores. The lake itself contains many species of fish found nowhere else in the world and hosts the brown and black head migratory seagulls throughout November, December and January each year. The Inle Lake area is renowned for its weaving industry, including the locally used Shan tote bags, hand woven silk and Buddhist robes from lotus fibres.

How to get there

The most convenient way to get there is to take one of the daily one hour flights from Yangon to Heho, the nearest airport. The flight from Mandalay to Heho takes only 30 minutes. The road trip along the uphill and winding road over the Shan Plateau, although taking a few hours, is interesting and well worth taking. There is also a regular train service via Thazi Junction to Heho and Shwenyaung, the nearest station to the lake.

Around the Inle Lake area


Sitting more than 1,430 metres above sea level, Taunggyi is the capital of Shan State and an hour from the Lake itself. It is a hill station, cool and pleasant all year round. The market, held every fifth day, is crowded with ethnic minorities in their traditional dress. You will also find the spectacular ancient monuments of the Kakku Pagoda complex just 42 km south of Taunggyi.


Kalaw, known as the city of pine trees, is located 1,300 meters above sea level offers some of the best trekking in Burma. Many of the Tudor-style houses and English gardens of colonial days are reminiscent of its beginnings as a British hill station where British civil servants fled to escape the heat of the plains. Kalaw is just 70 km west of Taunggyi.

Pindaya Caves

The Pindaya limestone caves, 45 km drive from Kalaw, are a Buddhist pilgrimage as well as a must see for visitors. These extensive caves are set deep into the hillsides, with some 8,000 Buddha images dating back to the 18th century. Local legend has it that the 15 metre high Shwe U Min Pagoda at the entrance to the southernmost cave was built by King Asoka in the 12th century.