Inle Lake & Environs

Inle Lake

Mesmerizing visitors with its picture-perfect sights, the Inle Lake Region is a refreshing change to the historical attractions of Bagan and Mandalay. It boasts of the picturesque Inle lake, the fascinating Pindaya Caves and the cool and colorful hills towns of Taungyi and Kalaw. Another Unique and different facet of the Golden Land. Nestled among the hazy Shan Mountains, 900 metres above sea level, its glassy blue waters running 14.5 km in length and 6.44 km in breadth is the picturesque Inle Lake – certainly one of the most magical sights in South East Asia. The lake is not only a beautiful sight to enjoy, but also a practical home to the native Inthas( sons of the lake ), who live on the lakes in stilt houses with their neatly cultivated floating farms and nurseries. The lake is famous for its leg-rowers, who propel their boats by standing at the stern on one leg and wrapping the other leg around the oar. The truly unique Inle Lake leg-rowers and fishermen cannot be missed as you glide through the waters on your boats on a dream-like adventure. The presence of many ethnic groups in the area also makes it a captivating place of much cultural interest.The main attraction of Inle Lake is the famous Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda situated in the middle of the lake. The Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda houses 5 solid gold Buddha Images that are carried around the lake on a gilt barge pulled by hundreds of leg-rowers. Every October, both local and foreign pilgrims and visitors would flock to the Pagoda for its annual festival.Other points of interests are 16th century pagoda complex of Indein, Nga Pe Chaung monastery, Silver smith factory, silk weaving factory and floating market.The most convenient way is to fly from Yangon to Heho, which is the nearest airport to the lake. There are daily flights to Heho from Yangon which take about one hour. The flight from Mandalay to Heho takes only 20 minutes.Traveling by car along the uphill and winding road over the Shan Plateau, taking about 6 hours is interesting and well-worth taking.

Taunggyi

The capital of Southern Shan State, it is approximately 24 miles from Heho Airport. Many ethnic nationalities, especially the Pa-Os and the Shans can be seen in their distinctive costumes in the marketplace. 29 miles from Taunggyi is the Kekku Pagoda Complex. It is a cluster of more than 2000 pagodas, mostly in ruins, on a small hill overlooking the Hopong Valley. Kekku is best visited during its festival time on the Full-Moon Day of Tabaung (March). The most interesting time to visit Taunggyi would be on the Full Moon Day of Tazaungmon (November) when the whole town comes alive with many festivals. The first is the Kahtein Ceremony when holy robes are offered to the monks, the second is the Hot Air Balloon Festival and the third is the Parade of Lights. Situated at an elevation of approximately 4500 feet, the weather is nice and cool and fresh

Kalaw

Kalaw is another peaceful and tranquil summer resort, 71 kilometres west of Taunggyi. It is located 1400 meters above the sea level and is 61 km away from Inle. Beautiful and cool with fragrant pinewoods and lovely walks.Can catch the Shan, Padaung, Palaung and Pa-O people in their striking costumes. It is also pleasantly cool and a good place for hiking through bamboo groves and rugged mountain scenery. The main attractions of Kalaw are the town itself, with its mock-tudor colonial bungalows, its ethnic mix of people, and it’s setting within trekking distance of many ethnic minority villages.

Pindaya

About 45 kilometres from Kalaw is Pindaya. Pindaya is a small, quiet and beautiful town perched on the bank of the placid Botaloke Lake. Pindaya cave is a huge extensive limestone cavern where eight thousands of Buddha images in various size and shape are installed since the 11th century. The winding galleries and nooks and corners are ideal places of insight meditation since the olden days.Listen to the resounding tones as bamboo poles are used to strike different stalagmites and stalactites. Stand at the entrance to the caves and enjoy an impressive panoramic view of the open country scene.Huge monastery compounds with numerous pagodas and temples in different stages of dilapidation are much respected by such ethnic groups as the Shans, Danus and Pa-os living in the environs of Pindaya.
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