Inle Lake is the second largest lake in Myanmar and around 70,000 people live here. The lake is an important source of food for locals (fish, tomatoes) and also a home to many of them. One of the attractions at Inle Lake are the suspended houses where many locals live. These homes are built on tall, wooden stilts and are a marvel of engineering.
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How many days to spend at Inle Lake?
If you are traveling around Myanmar, you should definitely spend at least two days at Inle Lake. One day is not enough to really experience the local vibe. Also, Inle Lake is not on the usual tourist route (Yangon – Bagan – Mandalay). Therefore, traveling to the lake takes a lot of time and it would be a shame to spend only one day here.
Visiting Inle Lake in two days is the best option. Two days are enough to see all the important tourist attractions and fall in love with this place. Of course, if your schedule is loose enough, you can spend three or more days at Inle Lake.
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Inle Lake two day itinerary
1. Day 1 – Rent a boat around the lake
The best way to discover Inle Lake is by boat. Rent a boat for one day and see the famous balancing fishermen with their round nets, explore the floating villages, see the floating gardens, admire the Long Neck Women or visit the nearby pagodas. There are many attractions to see around the lake and exploring them by boat saves up a lot of time.
If you want to book a boat trip, just go at your hotel reception and ask. Most hotels provide such services. If you want to read more about the perfect boat trip itinerary and how to book it, read my full guide here.
2. Day 2 – Cycle around Inle Lake
One of the most popular activities at Inle Lake is to explore the surroundings by bicycle. You will pass by local villages, farms and you will have the chance to exercise a bit while observing the local life. Cycling around Inle Lake is the perfect activity for your second day here and it’s cheap too.
Inle Lake bicycle rental
We rented our bicycle from a local shop situated right near the Lucky Star restaurant (search for this restaurant on Google Maps and the rental place is right nearby). The price for renting a bicycle at Inle Lake is 1500 Kyat ($1) per day.
I am sure that there are many other bicycle rentals around Nyaungshwe and you can also ask at your hotel reception. Some hotels have bicycle rental services. If not, I totally recommend the place above – the owners are friendly and the prices are reasonable.
Click here to read more about Myanmar’s top tourist destinations.
Inle Lake bicycle route
The most popular Inle Lake bike route is the following loop: Nyaungshwe – Red Mountain Winery – Maing Thauk – Kaung Daing – hotsprings – back to Nyaungshwe.
I suggest waking up early in the morning if you want to complete this loop. To get from Maing Thauk to Kaung Daing, you will have to look for a boatman to take you to the other side. This will cost you around 5000 Kyat.
Doing the Inle Lake bicycle loop will take around 5-6 hours, depending on how much time you spend at each of the locations above. On the way to Maing Thauk there is this cute new bar where they sell natural shakes and juices. You can’t miss it since it is creatively decorated with all sorts of colorful things (for the exact location search for “Infinity restaurant” on Google Maps. This bar is right near it). It’s a nice place to take a break and and drink some vitamins.
Tip: don’t forget to cover yourself while biking. The sun can be very harsh. Also, use tons of sunscreen 🙂
Where to stay at Inle Lake
Below are the best hotels around Inle Lake for every budget:
Low Budget – Remember Inn – good location, excellent breakfast, spacious rooms
Mid Budget – Thousand Island Hotel – good location, excellent value for money, beautiful rooms
Luxury – Novotel Inle Lake – excellent pool, good location, incredible service
If you are planning to explore Inle Lake in two days, I hope that this guide helped you. For a full guide to help you plan your Myanmar itinerary, check out the Lonely Planet guide. It’s packed with useful information!
May the travel bug bite you!
More about Myanmar:
- Myanmar photo gallery – the most beautiful destinations around the country – click here
- The famous Mandalay white pagoda – click here
- The most beautiful temples in Myanmar – click here
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