Travel tips: ‘Visit Inle’ goes beyond Inle Lake, with wineries, hill stations, and fusion food of Shan State

Photo: Visit Inle

Sure, many more tourists are becoming aware of the ethereal beauty of Inle Lake — but Myanmar’s Shan State has a lot more to see beyond Inle. Wineries, coffee plantations, paper-making, pagodas, sacred caves filled with Buddha statues, local ceramics, and so on…

Last week, a shiny new website emerged, with the purpose to encourage visitors to visit Shan State. It’s called Visit Inle, and is partially funded by the Department of Hotels and Tourism. The site covers extensively — and in English — the wide array of tourist activities available in the rising tourist destination.

Here are some of the most notable travel tips we found on the new site:

Inle Lake Area

The 5 Day Market. Photo: Visit Inle
The 5 Day Market. Photo: Visit Inle

Visitors to Inle can not only explore the peaceful, quiet, otherworldly lake and take a boat ride to check out marshes, floating gardens, stilt-houses, and temples. Another big draw to the lake is the local fisherman using a technique of leg-rowing that tourists usually find fascinating.

Leg Rowing in Inle Lake. Photo: Visit Inle
Leg Rowing in Inle Lake. Photo: Visit Inle

While the lake is the most popular reason to visit the Inle area, it’s not the only attraction — the website describes the unique five-day market, where local sellers rotate where they sell their wares every five days, ending up back in the original location on the sixth day. There is also a winery that’s an easy bike ride from the lake, offering pretty views and a new perspective on the landscape, as well as, maybe, a heady buzz.

Kalaw

Kalaw Hill Station. Photo: Visit Inle
Kalaw Hill Station. Photo: Visit Inle

This hill station has long been a local and expat getaway for those living in Shan State and want to escape the heat. Filled with rural resorts and colonial holdovers of British architecture, it’s also possible to arrange a trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake.

As far as food, some of the communities living here are Indian and Nepalese, meaning their influence on the local cuisine has made it especially notable and delicious.

Pindaya

Pindaya Cave. Photo: Visit Inle
Pindaya Cave. Photo: Visit Inle

Pindaya is a famed cave set into limestone cliffs that can be reached by stairs or an elevator. It is home to over 8,000 Buddha statues made of all kinds of things and nestled into seemingly endless alcoves and alleyways. The village of Pindaya is also famous for handmade Shan State paper made of mulberry trees and sold as paper umbrellas, stationery, and more. 

Samkar

Photo: Visit Inle
Samkar Ancient Pagoda Complex. Photo: Visit Inle

Samkar is an ancient capital featuring monasteries and the Samkar Ancient Pagoda Complex. One aspect that tourists especially say they love is that, in the winter, the pagodas are covered by water, creating a dreamlike landscape.

Samkar also features a lake known for its tranquility flanked by traditional villages with pottery shops where tourists can buy wares or try to throw their own. Ot try a bag weaving workshop, silversmithing, and goldsmithing in this crafty area.

If nothing else, the new site offers gorgeous photos and some places that will likely get added to your travel bucket list.

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