5 things to do in and around Inle Lake

Nyaung Shwe, the town next to Inle Lake in Myanmar’s Shan State, is not what it used to be.

That’s not a bad thing.

A few years ago, Nyaung Shwe was a sleepy tourist town. There are way more visitors now, but the crowds aren’t overwhelming, and the increase seems to have brought with it more options, both on and off lake.

Among our 5 picks – some new, some not so new – there is, we hope, something for everybody.

1)  Inthar Heritage House

It’s been amazing to see this pet project – no pun intended – get off the ground in the way it has. Opened a couple years back as the headquarters of the culture non-profit Inle Heritage, the elegant wooden house on the lake now boasts a sprawling restaurant serving delicious dishes from local Inthar recipes, a gift shop and an enormous cattery home to pure-bred Burmese cats. The cats were nearly extinct in their native land before a local hotelier started this breeding project in 2008 with a pair imported from overseas. Now there are dozens, frolicking in the house’s gardens and curled up in their own ‘cat houses’. Guests can visit the sleek felines in half-hour slots – call ahead to check the best times.

Inthar Heritage House is located in Inpawkhon Village, Inle Lake. You can call them on: 0949312970 or 095281035

2)  Red Mountain Winery

Come for the wine, stay for the views. A little outside town, Red Mountain makes one of only a handful of local wines. Cutting straight to the chase, there is much room for improvement in the varietals on offer here, but you can’t beat sitting at a table and watching the sun go down over the hills by the lake. Tip: Get there on the early side around 3 or 4pm to secure a table. They fill up fast.

To get there, you can bicycle or take a tuk-tuk. Saying “Red Mountain” will do the trick.

3)  Live Dim Sum House

Why feature a dim sum place in a list of things to do in Myanmar? Because it’s good, and if you are traveling with a group that can’t seem to agree on places to eat, Live Dim Sum House is a good fallback dinner plan. The meals are cheap, under $4, and the outside setting is pleasantly simple. The specialty is the Peking duck, but it runs out early, so the earlier you sit down the better. We never got to try it but the fact that it ran out twice on separate visits makes us conclude it has something going for it. We liked the Szechuan clay pot and the duck and watermelon salad.

Live Dim Sum House is located at 43 Yone Gyi St, Nyaung Shwe.

4)  Pub Asiatico

A new British-style pub, this place is perfect if you want to down a few draft beers and play some pool at the end of a long day. It’s big and comfortable and they have a wide selection of pizzas, including a “Shan” pizza, which has to be something of a first (the Shan ingredient is a potato, but still, good marks for creativity).

Pub Asiatico is located on Museum Road, Nyaung Shwe.

5)  15-course Shan meal

If you have some funds and you want to try an array of Shan dishes in a fancy setting, try Viewpoint Lodge and Fine Cuisine’s 15-course (or thereabouts) meal for $20. Highlights include the sharp, peanut-sprinkled green tomato salad and the tender chicken curry in coconut sauce.

ViewPoint Lodge & Fine Cuisines is located on Yone Gyi Street, Nyaung Shwe.

(All photos by Coconuts Yangon except the last – Viewpoint Lodge & Fine Cuisines / Facebook)

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