Top Destinations


Possibly equally popular as Bagan as a destination for tourists, is this unique and magical lake, Surrounded by the blue Shan mountain ranges the shallow waters form an area 20 km long and 10 km wide and is the centre of daily life and culture for the Inthar ethnic lake-dwellers. Living in teak stilt houses over the water, they make their living fishing and cultivating vegetables in raised ‘floating’ garden beds. The gardeners work entirely on water. While motorized long boats transport tourists and fresh produce across the lake, local fishermen row their craft standing up in the stern, using one leg twisted around a single paddle. Schools, small stores and monasteries all stand above the lake waters, and children paddle themselves to and fro to learn their lessons each day.

In the numerous villages, you can visit weaving displays, boatbuilding and blacksmithing workshops and souvenir stores offering local silver jewellery, decorative handmade umbrellas, wood and paper items that make excellent gifts. Cheroots are popular with locals and you can watch the being manufactured by hand in tiny factories. If you are bold, buy one for a miniscule price and take a puff!

The ethnic Padaung women’s tradition of wearing gold rings around their necks and ankles still survives in a few places, and some old – and, surprisingly, young- women, are pleased to display their unique costumes and jewellery in designated weaving shops.

Other attractions on Inle Lake include the curious Jumping Cat Monastery, where monks have trained kittens to jump through hoops, and the magnificent ShweyanPye Monastery where you can see the great golden floating Garaweik (Golden Duck) that forms the focus Inle’s annual PhaungDawOo Pagoda Festival. Cafes and restaurants offer local Shan style food and, for the less adventurous, coffee and cakes, all with views of tranquil reflections and the local unique lifestyle.

NyaungShwe, a substantial lakeside town is the starting point for boat excursions and offers many hotels of for the budget conscious traveler. More luxurious resorts are found around the lake’s edge and a few days and nights of pampering will make your Inle stay absolutely unforgettable.

Not far from the lake, you can also find Myanmar’s only two wineries, which are worth a day trip as they offer tastings and meals.


PhaungDawOo Pagoda

phaung-daw-oo-pagodaPhaungDawOoPaya is the holiest religious site in the southern area of Shan State. Five images were housed in the pagoda and four of which are ferried around the lake during the important PhaungDawOo festival, are enshrined in the centre of the building. Beside the channel are the boathouses sheltering the ornate vessels that carry the images on their annual voyage.

Ywama- “the floating village”

ywamaThe floating village of Ywama is located on the Inlelake’s southwestern shore so called Inlay Lake’s “downtown” which is the bustling centre of activity. The floating market day of Ywama is one of the most well known attractions of Inle and the main market day usually take place on Wednesday. It is always filled with Buyers and sellers on boats laden with the products of the Lake. Ywama is also the location of the PhaungDawOo pagoda which enshrines the five Buddha images, revered by Buddhists as one of the principal shrines in Myanmar.

NgaPheKyaung – the jumping Cat Monastery

nga-phe-kyaungOn and around the Inlay Lake are a number of Buddhist shrines and monasteries. The most famous is the NgaPheKyaung, a wonderfully carved wooden monastery, entirely constructed of teakwood. This floating monastery is over (170) years old and it is the most ancient among all the monasteries on the Lake, well noted for its huge Buddha images. The monastery is surrounded by water and floating gardens. It is better known as the “Jumping Cat Monastery” as the resident monks have trained cats to leap through a small hoop which has attracted both international and domestic tourists. The monastery also houses Buddha images of Shan, Bagan and Innwa styles.

Side Trip: While in Inlay you can make short trips to Taunggyi, Kalaw, Aungban and its typical native market, Pindaya Cave, Myinmahti Cave, Kakku,



taunggyiTaunggyi, over 1430m above sea-level, is the capital of Shan State. A sizeable town and the economic centre of this productive region, it was once a British hill station as the climate is cool and pleasant all the year round.

The annual hot air balloon Festival of Taunggyi is immensely popular throughout Myanmar, and throngs come to see the airborne marvels created in honour of the Buddha. Fireworks fill the sky and Taunggyi becomes the centre of entertainment and delight for three days and nights.

The market, offering everything from handmade bamboo, plastic and wire baskets, to cooked frogs, live eels, traditional medicines, every kind of fruit and vegetable, extraordinary flowers and fabrics, is held every fifth day. It is crowded with ethnic minorities in their brightly colored traditional dress. The journey from Inlelake to Taunggyi takes about an hour. For golfing enthusiasts there is the added bonus of the 18 hole Aye Thay Gold Resort, located at the bottom of Taunggyi hill.

kakkuKakku, about 40 km south of Taunggyi (a 1½ hour drive), is one of the famous religious sites of Shan State, and the holiest religious site of the local Pa-O people. Over two thousand stupas and temples, many over #### years old, stand together in a complex rarely visited by foreigners. The tinkling sound of countless Htis (brass parasols atop the stupas, the remoteness and air of long neglect, make this a magical place. Visitors need to obtain a special pass and engage a Pa-an guide in order to enter the complex or its nearby villages. You can reach there by car or by trekking from Inle Lake for one day.
kalawKalaw, a hill station used by British to escape the heat of Rangoon and Mandalay summers, is beautifully situated surrounded by pine forest and hazy blue mountains at an altitude of 1400 meters. Many of the Tudor-style houses and English gardens of colonial days remain. Kalaw is located 70 km west of Taunggyi and 2-hour drive from Inle Lake. Sightseeing can be done in the busy and colorful Kalaw market which is held each Saturday, with stalls manned by the hill tribe women in their orange, black and red head gear.

The town boasts a huge Buddha image made entirely from of bamboo. Its lightness made it possible to for local monks to move it from its original location when instructed by auspicious dreams. It now rests, covered in gold, on the top of a nearby hill. Trekking tours can be made from Kalaw to nearby Palaung villages among the sprawling verdant farms that cover the valleys and hillsides. Aubergines, vine vegetables, tomatoes, corn, avocadoes, cabbages, cauliflowers, and herbs of all kinds flourish in the rich soil and climate. Wildflowers abound and make the easy walking enjoyable. Trekking tours of two or three days to Inle Lake from Kalaw are popular with visitors.

When in Kalaw, make a visit to the railway station, for a reminder of the priorities of the colonial British, some of the original mechanisms of the railway can still be seen and the line from Yangon branches here, headings west to Mandalay and east to ????? The platform itself stores loads of onions, cabbages and other crops, awaiting the slow trains that will carry them across the country.

pindaya-caveAbout 45 km drive from Kalaw is Pindaya, well known for its extensive limestone caves. The complex of caves is set deep in the hillside, a pre-historic treasure trove of geological formations, breathtakingly beautiful. More recently Buddhists have used the caves as places for worship and meditation, and now the 15 meter high Shwe U Min Pagoda, the walls of which are set into the rock, stands at the entrance.

Over 6000 Buddha images made of different materials- bronze, marble, and lacquer overlaid with gold leaf, and carved wood – are illuminated, adorned with sashes and honoured by the faithful who regularly visit it.

Tourists interested in trekking can take tours to villages near Pindaya, especially to Yazagyi village where you can witness the rhythms of daily life for the Shan farming families. On the way you can visit the a fascinating workshop where the processes of making Shan paper and the colourful paper-covered umbrellas are on display.


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Travel Expert Company Limited specialises in adventure travel in the more remote regions of Myanmar.  It has guides who are experts on birds, wildlife, and environmental issues. However, they are also very well - informed on cultural and historical issues.

Barnaby Phillips, Writer &Reporter  London. 

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Myanmar Travel Expert Company Limited based in Yangon, a member of both UMTA (Union of Myanmar Travel Association) and Myanmar's Birds and Nature Association, is a local tourism company established in 2009, and organizes culture and adventure expeditions unlike others.

Our company is registered in Ministry of National Planning & Economic Development and Ministry of Hotel and Tourism. The certificate number of incorporation is 678/ 2010 - 2011 and Company Licensed number from Ministry of Hotel and Tourism is Kha - 1425.

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