Unexpectedly comes often. Inle Lake was not originally on our itinerary through Myanmar. Our plan was to spend Christmas Eve in Thailand. If possible on the beach. If possible under palm trees. But Christmas was getting closer and closer and somehow we didn’t want to leave Myanmar.
And so it happened that we booked a flight from Mandalay to Inle Lake
at short notice. booked. And less than two days later we spent our Christmas Eve at the fabulous Novotel. Without a beach, but surrounded by breathtaking natural scenery. Without palm trees, but in the midst of the most wonderful Christmas atmosphere that we could find outside of our hometown of Vienna. With a few tears in my eyes. But once from the beginning.
1. By boat across Inle Lake On our first full day, we did what most tourists travel to Inle Lake for: a boat trip. Because the life of the people at Inle Lake takes place mostly on and in the water. Therefore, a fishing boat trip is undoubtedly the best way to get a glimpse.
One leg rowers and floating gardens Our day tour across Inle Lake started in the morning at 8: 30 h. We can only warmly recommend you, also sooner start early, because the morning light together with the wafts of fog give the lake a very special atmosphere. Oh, and there is one more thing we can recommend: Pack up tight. Because despite the warming rays of the sun, it was extremely cold, especially during the first hours of the day .
Right at the beginning of our tour we met the first One-leg rower. You may not like what follows now, but many of them are simply “fake”. In other words: They don’t fish (anymore), but pose only for tourists – and accept the most adventurous contortions for this. We had already prepared for this scenario, so it wasn’t a big surprise for us. It’s still a shame, of course.
The good news: At first we thought the whole lake was teeming with “fake” one-leg rowers. In fact, however, we only saw one that was obviously not a fisherman.
We continued across the Inle Lake and past countless stilt houses to the Floating Gardens (“Floating Gardens”). And while we were sitting in the boat and watching the landscape go by, we realized why Inle Lake is one of the absolute highlights of Myanmar.
The network of countless waterways was so fascinating that our index finger couldn’t help it could than stick permanently to the camera shutter button. We had expected that there would be a lot going on around the lake. However, we never thought that entire villages would be built on the lake.
Manufactories and handicraft businesses In the course of During the boat trip we stopped at some manufactories. In the stilt houses of the locals there are countless craft workshops, some of which have now been adapted to tourists. The pattern is mostly the same: First you enter a showroom where you can watch the people at work. You can then purchase the manufactured products in the shop behind it.
You can visit silver manufactories, lotus and silk weaving mills also Cheroot manufactories, where typical Burmese cigarettes are made. Most of the time, similar handicraft businesses are headed for on day trips. It’s best to let us know in advance if something doesn’t interest you.
We were initially worried that we would be pressured into buying something. But luckily that wasn’t the case at all. The people were very friendly and unobtrusive everywhere.
Visit the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda A worthwhile stopover is the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda and the market behind it. We spent about half an hour here and were very impressed by the hustle and bustle of the market. Although there are now some souvenir stands, the market has retained its authentic character.
Visit to Indein Village (“Shwe Inn Thein Pagoda”) A visit to the ancient pagoda field of Indein is offered as an option on most boat trips. Since the drive there again about 28 minutes, many tourists ignore Indein. However, we can only warmly recommend that you take the small detour. Indein really got us excited. Over a thousand stupas soar into the sky here on a hill. Some are derelict, some are overgrown with weeds and some even have trees.
Price for Inle Lake Boat Tour Every tourist who comes to Inle Lake must first pay a fee of 15.500 Kyat (or 01 dollars). In addition, there are the costs for a boat tour. Most boat tours vary in price between 28. and 40. 10 Kyat, depending on where you book the tour and which stops are included. We booked our tour directly through the hotel because we found it to be the most convenient. However, we have also had the experience that people ask you almost everywhere whether you want to go on a boat tour.
2. “Little-U-Bein Bridge” on Inle Lake A very nice (photo) spot that you can find off the boat tour is the bridge in Village Maing Thauk . The wooden bridge is visually very reminiscent of the famous U-Bein Bridge in Mandalay, but is smaller and, above all, much less frequented. We found the lighting mood and atmosphere just before sunset great.
By the way, you will find the wooden bridge of Maing Thauk on the east side of Inle Lake, none 10 minutes by bike from the Novotel.
3. Our hotel on Inle Lake: Novotel Inle Lake Myat Min We stayed at the beautifully situated Novotel Inle Lake Myat Min. And – Believe us – we grinned for minutes at a time after opening the door to our “Superior Villa”. Not even with a lot of imagination could we have wished for a nicer place to stay for our first Christmas outside of Vienna.
Our little “kingdom” (yes, that’s how it really felt) was not only incredibly spacious, but also furnished exactly to our taste. A highlight was the free-standing bathtub. We’re a bit ashamed of the poor eco-balance, but we just couldn’t help it and bathed in it every night, three nights in a row. It was just too tempting!
By the way, the hotel is located on the east side of Inle Lake. That means: You can marvel at the most beautiful sunsets over the lake from the hotel’s restaurant terrace. (By the way, we did that on all three days – thanks to Happy Hour.)
Pool with a view on the Inle Lake One of the most beautiful places of the hotel is undoubtedly the beautiful, slightly elevated pool. We have it there on 24. December let go really well, drank fresh coconuts and at 30 In the shadows the Christmas Songs listened to by Michael Bublé. Kind of strange, but after a short while we really liked it.
Christmas at Inle Lake Speaking of Christmas: We already announced it at the beginning of this article: our cooperation with the Novotel has changed surrendered at the last minute and we are beyond grateful to have been able to spend Christmas – if not with our family – at least in such wonderful accommodation. Until our arrival date, the 22. December, by the way, we were not in the Christmas mood at all.
That changed quite abruptly, because the hotel spared no effort to ensure that everyone had a wonderful party . For example, we already have lunch on 13. December get the tastiest chocolates as a gift. In the evening, a huge Christmas Dinner was held, which the extremely likeable Italian chef told us excitedly about two days earlier. Christmas carols were sung and cocktails were drunk. There were even Christmas biscuits and a small wooden nativity scene waiting for us in the room.
Conclusion: Who is this for? Suitable for Novotel? The hotels directly on Inle Lake, which also includes the Novotel tend to be more expensive than those in Nyaung Shwe. However, we think that the higher price is really worth it, because the view of the lake is simply unforgettable. We can recommend the Novotel to you without reservation if you want to treat yourself to a nice place to stay and you – just like us – are looking for a little peace and seclusion. We felt completely comfortable.
You can book the hotel here: Novotel Inle Lake Myat Min
4. Restaurant tip for the Inle Lake We can give a big recommendation for the small, family-run restaurant Pronounce Bamboo Hut. We ate a late lunch there, which tasted really good and was very cheap. The Location is fantastic: you have the feeling of dining in the family’s open living room. In all directions you can see a lot of green nature. The staff is also incredibly welcoming.
By the way, we reached the Bamboo Hut restaurant directly from the Novotel using the hotel’s own bicycles. One is about 30 Minutes on the way and the road is sometimes quite busy. Nevertheless, we thought it was great because we really had the feeling that we could see some of the landscape.
5. Arrival to Inle Lake Our variant: Arrival by plane The nearest airport is named Heho. From Coming to Mandalay, we decided to travel by plane. The flight took just once 25 minutes. We chose the airline Myanmar National Airlines and have nothing negative to report. The small propeller planes (ATR-50) appeared to us to be well maintained and relatively modern. We paid for the flight 8220 Euro per person (one way). Incidentally, Heho is served by a number of other domestic airports, including Yangon, Bagan and Thandwe (Ngapali Beach).
Slightly more time-consuming than the flight is the transport from Heho Airport to Inle See: Here you have to rely on private taxis. Transport to the hotels on the lake costs per car
. Kyat. Slightly cheaper (25. Kyat) is the transport to Nyaung Shwe, the place where the more affordable tend to be accommodations are located. By the way, we matched another pair at the exit of the airport and so easily divided the transport costs by two.
Another option: Arriving by bus Depending on where you are traveling from, taking the bus might also be an option. The prices are of course cheaper than by plane: For the route from Mandalay to Inle Lake you have to 22 Calculate dollars . However, it is also quite long on the way: From Mandalay it is about 8, from Yangon even Hours. We read a few “horror stories” about the very winding bus ride and then spontaneously decided to take the flight because we simply didn’t feel like another night bus ride.
6. More Myanmar Travel Reports Our route for Myanmar Our travel guide for Myanmar: Tips for a trip to Myanmar Yangon Bago Golden Rock Hpa-An The Temples of Bagan Mandalay Ngapali Transpa renz: Invitation & Affiliate Links We were accommodated by Novotel Inle Lake Myat Min for three nights invited – thank you for making such a wonderful Christmas possible for us! We paid all other costs (meals, boat trip, Christmas dinner) with our own money. 8220
This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!8220
Was someone of you ever been to Inle Lake? Were you excited too? We look forward to hearing about your experiences! 8220