Inle Lake is a shallow lake in the middle of Myanmar, south-east of Mandalay. The lake is 22km long, and is densely inhabited by many different tribes.
The easiest way to get into Inle Lake (and the most comfortable) is by domestic flight. The closest airport is in Heho, which is a taxi-ride (about 1 hour) away from the lake itself (walking down the road from the airport, towards the highway, should see quoted fares drop, if not, try your luck hailing a taxi or passing pickup on the highway itself). Taking a taxi from the airport is expensive, as of Sep 2015 there is a fixed, non-bargainable price of 25 000 Kyats to go to Nyuang Shwe. If you baulk at the high fare, the taxi drivers will attempt to gather other travelers to share the taxi and split the fare, so there is a good chance you will end up paying a lot less by sharing your taxi. By comparison a taxi from Yangon airport to the city centre (45 min.) is just 8000 Kyats or 7 USD. A possible way to save money is to book a taxi in advance with your guesthouse, but seems like now they all charge the same 25,000 kyat fixed price. 15,000kyat is a good price to/from the airport that may be more difficult to reserve on your way in, but no issue to book for your return trip to Heho from any agency in town. When returning, you can often save by booking a shared taxi through your hotel or one of the many travel agents around. Check with them the day before you fly out.
Prices for flights are around US$110 from Yangon and US$75 from Mandalay, but unlike bus companies the government is heavily involved in the domestic air market, a good chunk of your money will be going into their hands.
A less expensive but more uncomfortable and time consuming option is that which most Myanmar people take - the bus. Buses depart daily, and cost around US$14-20 from Yangon (12 hours) or US$12 (7-8 hours) from Mandalay.
The journey from Bagan has improved a lot; 2 buses at 7:30 and 19:30; it takes 7 hours to Kalaw and ~8,5 to Nyang Shwe, and costs 11,000. Bus arrives directly to Nuang Shwe, walking distance to many guest houses.
Overnight buses do run and with the new road between Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw the time taken for the trip has been shortened. Large Westerners can squeeze in OK and if they have booked ahead will have a seat. Do not expect much sleep on over night trips as loud music and or video will be played over a screen at the front of the bus.
TV entertainment usually ends at around 10-11PM, but music might remain - so take some earplugs with you.
It's worth emphasising that buses are *heavily* air-conditioned - they aim to maintain +18 celsius inside, and it might be quite uncomfortable to sleep. Overnight buses are most likely toprovide blankets, but it'd still be reasonable to have some warm closes with you in the cabin.
There are three daily aircon buses leaving Hsipaw at 3, 4 and 5pm for Kalaw (10-12hrs)/Nyaungshwe (11-13hrs)/Taunggyi (12-14hrs), 15.500 kyat (April 2016). In case you will be dropped on the highway in Shwenyaung instead of Nyaungshwe, it's another 15 min by share taxi 8$ or by motorbike taxi (2000-4000 kyat / person) ride to the south. Buses also pass through Pyin U Lwin on the way.
From southern destinations like Hpa An or Kyaiktiyo you can change buses in Bago instead of going through Yangon.
A train coming from Kalaw, Thazi or even from Yangon (direct), can bring you to Shwe Nyaung, which town is situated only 13 km away from Nyaung Shwe, the main touristy town where you'll find most accomodations, restaurants, souvenirs shops as well as travel agencies and tour guides.
The train from Kalaw is about 3.5 hours through mountains and fields, lots of scenic views on the way. Prices are: 500K (lower class) or 1150K (upper class).
The train from Yangon is about 30 hours, direct, including a 5 hours-stop in Thazi where passengers can have a rest and sleep (in the train). Price is about 4000K (lower class), not sure about the upper class, probably twice more. Definitly the cheapest way to get there.
To get from the train station (Shwe Nyaung) to your accomodation in Nyaung Shwe, you can either catch a pick-up truck if you are lucky (1000K) or take a taxi for 10000K, negociable at least down to 8000K.
Pick-Up / Line-ka
A very cheap option from Taunggyi is a pick-up (1 hour and around US$0.40).
The bus from Yangon might drop you off near the Shwenyaung train station where a taxi will be waiting for you for $8 to take you 10km into town. You may be able to hail down a pickup truck with seats (like a songtaew) for cheaper.
12.500 Kyat tourist tax applies to visit Nyaung Shwe and the area around Inle Lake (if you do the trekking from Kalaw for example) (No longer accepting USD - Update April 2016: they accepted USD, but of course only the brand new bills and asked for 10$ - so make sure to bring some USD, as 12.500 is a really bad exchange rate)
The tax is collected at a toll post while driving/hiking into town. If you happen to miss the toll post, relax - it is not checked by anyone, including your hotel or when you depart from Nyuang Shwe.
If you stay in Nyaung Shwe, you can walk around town easily. Many bike rentals are also available for 1000-1500 Kyats per day, great for also touring the surroundings.
If you stay on the lake, getting around can be less convenient, but you can still rent bicycles 1,000-2,000 kyat a day or hire a motor-cycle taxi to get around by road, or a long tail boats ( Traditional Boats made out of teak wood and paint by using lacquer.) Officially motorcycle are not allowed to be for tourists, Now a days you can also hire mountain bikes which is from 10000_15000.
- Aung's Marionette Puppet Show. - Don't miss this unique cultural experience. Aung performs a charming, clever, and fun 30 minute show with traditional Burmese music and marionettes. Nightly shows at 7 & 8:30pm (5000 Kyat). His small theatre is a few blocks east of the Golden Kite, with a sign pointing at it from the main street. Beautiful handmade marionettes are also for sale (10000 Kyat and up). edit
- Phaungdawoo Pagoda. is worth a visit. It houses five images which are the heart of anannual touring festival. At least they should all be part of it, but one of the images has apparently decided that it doesn't like travel so only four of them go the round. The images are so plastered with gold leaf by dedicated worshippers that it is extremely hard to discern the original outlines; fortunately there are photographs from last century and the century before. The annual festival sounds like fun, but no details. The Pagoda has some pictures of a heaving mass of gilded and decorated boats, which go to most of the Inle Lake villages in turn. edit
- Cultural Museum (former name Buddha Museum), Museum road (follow Yone Gyi Street east direction, cross the bridge and walk for some hundred meters, you will see it on left hand side.). 10AM-4PM. Museum displays some relicts of Burmese and Shan State history. 2000Ks. edit
The Lake - a boat trip on the lake is a must do. Unfortunately, it is also one of the biggest tourist traps in Myanmar, evident by: (1) local fisherman, especially in the early morning, often on the lake for the sheer purpose of posing for pictures, a la the iconic, fishing pose -- with the expectation of a tip; and (2) boat trips often visiting up to 6 workshops (i.e. shops) on a half-day tour (only increasing when your tour is longer). Most of the workshops are only set up for tourists. However, if you inform your boatman that you do not want to visit any one in particular, they will skip it. The local market (further down) is apparently rare. It has some locals selling cattle and households, but it's also tourist tents- traps (with Made in China manufactured stuff) where Burmese sellers are quoting ridiculous prices. The pagoda is really special and worth a visit.
Visiting one of restaurants on the river is also pleasant and not expensive.
One that is you may consider worth a purchase is where they make handmade cigars "cheroot" (from tobacco, honey, rice flour, tamarind, banana, and anise). You will be paying mostly for the cigar box (~10,000 kyat) but is a good way to bring back a nice souvenir of 30 handmade cigars, if you are into that sort of thing. If you are just after cheroot, you can buy a pack at any convenience shop along the lake or in Nyaung Shwe for <800 kyat.
Day tours (8 hours) can buy from tour agents or hotels and guesthouses around the town 20.000 kyat. A boat can hold up to 5 passengers, you can request to ride with others. To hire the boat at the pier may cheaper and more flexible, only the top half of the lake (~10000 kyat for half day tour, ~12000kyat for half day tour + floating market) or including the south of the lake (recommended!) (~15000 kyat).
If you want to visit further destinations such as Sankar village and the nearby Tharkong pagoda (recommended unless you're really short of money), the boar would cost 50,000 Kyat for the whole day. It is a 3 hour boat ride there through villages and great scenery.
Note that in comparison to other boat trips, this is cheap, because the boat drivers get good commissions for anything you buy at the many shops you visit. Typical shops are clothing (about twice as expensive for the same item than elsewhere in the country), silverware and jewellery, lacquerware & tobacco. If you want to spend more time on the lake and less time shopping, be sure to tell the boat driver clearly. - Prices for a boat 20,000 kyat for a full day tour. If you get 4 to 5 people on the boat they will get the price to 4,000kyat per person.
What to bring on the boat trip besides your camera:
- an Umbrella/parasol, it gets HOT under the sun! The boatman would typically provide it, but it is worth checking there is enough for every one of you if you have a group.
- a raincoat if there's a chance to rain. The boat is open, there is no roof, so if rain starts you will get wet.
- *plenty* of sunscreen. You will be spending most of the time on the sun, and your UV exposure would be significant. It is also difficult to buy in the floating villages, most shops do not stock it, so pack plenty - and don't forget to apply it.
- earplugs. The boat motor is LOUD, and if you're on a non-stop 3hr trip to Samar, you'll end up having huge headache. However, there is a new initiative where boats use a muffled engine, effectively halving the sound-level. Ask around or visit the local community centre ("Inle Speaks") that started it.
- proper warm clothes if necessary, as the early mornings (at least when I visited in December) can reach 13C/55F, and with the wind/lake effect, it feels slightly cooler.
The best way to find a boat is to walk next to the boat station in the evening. Many boatmen will approach you and ask if you need a boat, and you can agree on a details. Make sure the person you're speaking to is an actual boatman and not an intermediate, so you can assess English level if this is important for you. Make sure you clearly agree you're getting the boat for the whole day, including sunsets, and that you do not want to see any shops (unless you do). You can also find a boat by just walking the streets of Nyang Shwe - a lot of people will approach you offering a boat ride, and price would be relatively the same.
- Inlelaketourism.com (Inle lake tourist agency), No.55, Yone Gyi Road Kanthar(2) Quarter, Nyaungshwe (near Mingalar market), ☎ +95-0941-003-019, . Inle lake tourist agency. Information & Arrangement for Inle region: boat (to go sightseeing Inle lake), taxi (to go around Inle region, but also to Mandalay, Bagan, Yangon, etc.), bus tickets, flight tickets, Trekking in the mountains. edit
- Inle Boy, Nyaungshwe (near Shwe Hin Thar Guest House and Inle Star Hotel on the canal), ☎ 09-428331679. Will take you on an all-day extended cruise to the south of the lake, skipping the shopping extravaganza you'll be subjected to by other tour operators. Get some temples, lots of boat time around villages, sunset. Better yet, it's 40,000 kyat for the boat, so with 4-5 people, it's a better deal than the glorified mall circuit everyone else sells. Just tell Inle Boy "the south route - no shops, NO SHOPS" and he has an itinerary ready. Make sure your driver takes you to the bridge (sort of a junior Ubein Bridge) and be aware that despite their assurances, he will most likely speak almost no English. Don't buy bus tix from Inle Boy, as his price is way above market. But the boat tour was great. You can reserve a taxi from them for 15,000 kyat to Heho airport that is a fair deal. 40,000. edit
- Mr A Tun (Mu Kyi), Nyaungshwe (On the main road east of the market, 5mins, beside Smiling Moon), ☎ 0943197443. great little tour company, run only by Mu Kyi, that tries to differentiate itself a little from the many other tour companies in Nyaungshwe. Her husband passed away a few years ago and she is raising her two adorable young children by herself. She is friendly, helpful and also speaks fluent English and doesn't rip off tourists like some dodgier places in town. The bus ticket to Yangon is also 2,000 kyat cheaper than elsewhere (13,000). Bike rental at 1000kyat/day. Ask her for a map, it provides itineraries and prices for boat rides and hot springs so you won't get ripped off. edit
Bird Migration - Another worthwhile experience that most tourists miss is to see some of the thousands of waterbirds that use Inle Lake either as a breeding site or on migration. Some are rare species difficult to see anywhere else. December and January are the best times, although some birds, like the spectacular Pheasant-tailed Jacana, are best seen in their breeding plumage during the rainy season. The Lake is a wildlife sanctuary and the local warden can arrange a knowledgeable guide who knows the English names and can show you where the birds are for a reasonable fee (about 12000kyat at this writing, not including boat and boatman.) This fee goes to support the staff of the cash-strapped sanctuary. Bring your own binoculars and get out early when the birds are most active. Ask at your lodging to make arrangements, or better still, phone the Forestry service directly and arrange for a guide: 081-209565
Bike Ride - take a day to ride through surrounding villages. Just check your rental bike carefully before leaving.
- Active & Authentic Travels &Tours rents quality mountain bikes (Chinese carbon fiber frames). Friendly folks, some English spoken, simple maps available. Costs about 3x more than a guesthouse bike, but potentially worth it if you're going to put in long miles. They can also do guided tours. Kyaunn Taw Shayt Street, half a block south of the main drag in Nyuang Shwe across from The French Touch . 0936281856 email@example.com
Hike - day hikes in the surrounding hills, or 3 day hikes to Kalaw are available, and are highly recommended. Seek out Than The, a local guide who knows the area very well and comes highly recommended. Ask for him at Win's Massage business. Another excellent guide is Dante, which you can hire from the Agency called Thu-Thu, on the main street near the market. He and Mr. Cook will provide you the best information on the area and the best food you'll eat in Myanmar. A typical day hike usually costs about 10,000 Kyats per person and starts at 8 AM and ends at 4-6 PM. Be warned that the hikes can be very exhausting because it involves a lot of walking (typically 20 km, but you can ask the guide to shorten the trip if you are tired), walking up steep paths and the heat (especially in April) can make it quite tiring too. Bring plenty of water (2-3 litres per person) as it can be difficult to buy clean water since you won't pass any shops, and of course good hiking shoes or boots. On a typical trip one will walk through mountains, forests and many villages inhabited by hill tribes (but don't expect to see them dressed in fancy hill tribe costumes. This is real life and not set up for the tourists). Even if a hike is tiring, it gives the opportunity to get a glimpse of real life around Inle Lake and see some nice scenery too. It's usually not a tourist trap like the boat trip on the lake often is.
- Hiking guide: Sunny Day Tour Services, West of market, Nyang Shwe Township (Follow the road down from the bridge. You will be able to see this on your left on one of the crossing streets), ☎ firstname.lastname@example.org. From this place you can hire a hiking guide for a very reasonable price. The guide Ko Thwe speaks excellent English and is able to organise hikes flexibly, depending on where you want to go. He can also guide you to Kalaw. Approximately 10 000 khyats.. edit
Hot Springs - Rent a bike and cycle the bumpy road for 45 minutes towards the mountains to visit the hot springs for a relaxing afternoon. Recently they have sepatrated the area for locals and foreigneirs which means there's double pricing. 10$\ person including towels.The Hot Springs are actually 4 small swimming pools in a big concrete spa centre, so you do not go there for the natural surroundings. The view is the field with tractors and farm workers. Looking quite sad and definitely not worth 10$. The place looks a bit weary and not well maintained. All the pools are hot, you can barely get into 2 of 4. The temperature is 35,39,40,41 degrees. It's really hot. The bike ride to the spa however is very scenic, though the tree-lined dirt road westward is rather wobbly.
Red Mountain Winery - Rent a bike and cycle about 3 km outside of town to visit the Red Mountain Winery. Great for sunset views. There is free WiFi available as well as a full restaurant menu of local and Western specialties. Wine tasting is 3,000 K to try 4 different types of wines, which aren't bad. You can also order food and full glasses (or bottles) of wine. Pretty crowded.
- Massage @ Phyu Phyu's Bamboo Hut, Yone Gyi Rd (near bridge). Visit Phyu Phyu's Bamboo Hut for traditional burmese massage by one of Phyu Phyu's family members. This wonderful young woman (with the nicest family) can also book boat trips (and guide you), canoes or trekking. edit
Stand Up Paddling (SUP) - Learn to Stand Up Paddle Inle-Style (Smiling Moon). Try your hand (or feet!) at learning to paddle a boat like the locals. When we were there, only the guide U-Paw-San at Smiling Moon was willing to teach us, but no doubt others will be joining in soon. They teach the stroke, balance and navigation required to paddle your own boat. The fisherman on the lake make stand up paddling by foot look simple. It's definitely not, but it sure is fun trying. edit
Shan Cooking classes with Sue at Bamboo Princess 6/261 Aung Chan Thar Quarter Nyaungshwe.
Learn to prepare and cook a series of Shan dishes during the course of a morning followed by eating the results for lunch. Absolutely delicious (and enough of it). Price is 20,000 kyat. Expensive but worth it. Dishes prepared can cater for customer choices including those with allergies, e.g. vegetarian, coeliac/ celiac, but the default range is based on seasonally available ingredients from local markets. Leslie (Sue's husband) also helped with creating gluten free and egg free options - make sure to advise when booking and also at the start of the course prior to visiting the market. Great fun and interesting conversation with Sue about how things are in Ngaungshwe. A lovely garden setting. Be prepared for plenty of children around as Sue's own children, her brother's child plus many of the neighbouring children are found playing around the house.Arrangements are easily made via your accommodation reception. Email email@example.com. Ph 09 41010433
- Htat Eian Caves, . These caves are nice to explore. Bring a torch. There are Buddha statues inside of course and people praying, meditating and sleeping. Also a monastery nearby and you can chat with the monks. You can bike here over a hill from Nyaung Shwe (see the link for a gps trace). A good place to spend the hotter hours of the day. edit
- Inle Speaks, " directions="Location has moved around the corner from the Gypsy Inn, it is on a road perpendicular to the water" phone="" url="http://facebook.com/inle.speaks" hours="" price="" lat="" long="". One of the many community awareness projects (with no government support) that is aiming to help improve Inle lake's condition and share local ideas and entrepreneurship. With an hour or so spare, stop by for a tea or coffee to chat with the people working there, help out with an English lesson, or just read the revealing 'Myanmar Times' newspapers they have. Donations welcome edit
- Internet @ iNet, Ahletaung Kyaung Rd (First right past Smiling Moon restaurant). Fast internet café. k1000/hr as of May 2013). Minimum time is 1h. edit
- Comet Internet, (Main road near the market). Fast internet café. 1000/hr with a minimum time of 30mn (i.e. k500) as of May 2013. This is also a seller of VIP bus tickets, and a pickup point for the same. Friendly and helpful proprietor. Use their PCs or access their wifi. edit
- Gallery 19. Great photography gallery owned by talented photographers. Furthermore the photographs are beautiful and affordable. edit
- ATM. There are two ATM available nyaung-shwe town at the inle Lake. edit
- Aurora Restaurant, No. 1 Yonegyi Road, Nandawunn Quar., Nyaung Shwe (opposite Hotel Amazing, east end of town, directions cave and wineries). Update April 2016: This place has been closed. (Burmese run restaurant with traditional Burmese, Chinese and Pasta dishes. The portions are large. The handmade noodles are worth a try.) 2000kyat. edit
- Diamond Restaurant, Phaung Daw Pyan Road | Nanpan Quarter, Nyaungshwe, Myanmar, ☎ 0936015395. Authentic, delicious Indian food. Excellent choice for vegetarians (the paneer is made in-house) with plenty of options for meat-eaters. Also some tasty dessert options - try the Gulab Jamun! Owner Mr. MD is very friendly, speaks excellent English, and offers a unique insight into the daily life of the Myanma people. About 2000-4000 for a main dish. edit
- Green Chilli Restaurant, Nyaung Shwe, ☎ 095214101. Located in Hospital road, Mingalar Qtr, Nyaung Shwe Township and offer Thai and Myanmar cuisine in upscale setting and balcony seating available. edit
- Green Chilli Restaurant (Nampan), Nampan Village, Inle Lake, ☎ 0949589958. located in Nampan Village, Inle Lake, just next to the most visited boat building workshop in the area and 3 minutes boat trip from Golden Island Cottages I. Sister restaurant with Green Chilli Restaurant in Nyaung shwe and offers authentic Thai & Local cuisine with indoor and balcony seating, giving a unique dining experience in the middle of local stilt houses enjoying the daily activities of lake dwellers. edit
- Golden Kite, Yone Gyi and Myawaddy Road, ☎ +9508129327. Some say it's one of the best restaurant's in Inle (Yaungshwe), and owner Mio personally makes the pasta and wood-oven pizza in Nyaungshwe. Others think the pizza and pasta is over-priced and over-rated, based on recent visits. Their chocolate cashew pancake is excellent and they also have cheap drinks (mojito for 2000 Ks). Open until 11pm. Service in low-season might be lousy, as the daily soaps on TV are more interesting than the customers. edit
- Inle Heart View Organic Restaurant, North of Myant Theintan Village (pretty much exactly half the way along the road between Nyaung Shwe and Main Thouk) (This place is about 4 to 5 km out of Nyaung Shwe on the east side of the lake. You pass it if you make your way to the forest monastery at Main Thouk), ☎ 09 428314979. Good organic local food, produced from the vegetablea that grow in the fields surrounding this remote little restaurant. Perfect view on the lake, recommended for sunset. The owner is very friendly. As he runs the place on his own with the help of some family members, orders may take a while if you come with a larger group. Serves good cocktails as well. 3000-4000. edit
- Indra Indian Food, Nyaung Shwe Down town, Yone Gyi Road (In front of Amazing Hotel), ☎ 09428333872. A small place run by a wonderful woman, Indra, serving amazing (garlic) chapatis and indian curries. edit
- Lin Htett Myanmar Traditional Food, South-east corner of the Mingalar Market, Nyaungshwe, Myanmar. Good local food, affordable prices (even if they're twice as high as inside the market) friendly service. But be aware: even in low-season, this place is flooded with Lonely Planet Kids wearing their authentic Longyis. About 1500-4000 for a main dish. edit
- Lucky Star Restaurant, Museum road (follow Yone Gyi Street east direction, then cross the river, after the bridge on right hand side). Nice, cultivated little restaurant with both traditional and western food. edit
- Try the freshly made Shan Tofu Salads in the Market You will see woman preparing these meals to go (or to eat from tiny plastic stools) in the market area. There are several other local restaurants across from the market that offer good Shan noodle soups, tea leaf salads, etc for around 1000 kyats per person.
- Pancake Kingdom, by the bridge at the canal. This place has good Western pancakes (more like crepes here). Lots of options, both savory and sweet. No WiFi. Pleasant quiet atmosphere since 2014. Place to enjoy the delicious pancakes and drinks, outdoor and indoor seating. Great service. There is an internet cafe with computers attached for 500 kyats/hour, Internet reliability was hit and miss. No Wifi! edit
- Paw Paw's Pasta Restaurant, West end of Phaung Daw Pyan Rd (Next door to Cherry Queen just to the left). The owner passed away recently. The new owner are two charming ladies, fluent in English. You can enjoy authentic Myanmar food and you can chat with the ladies and see how they prepare your food in front of you in the kitchen ! A great moment with nice people. 1500-4000. edit
- Sin Yaw Restaurant, Mingalar Ashae Street | Kantar Quarter, Nyaungshwe, Myanmar (near the Market at the corner with Yone Gyi st.). Wonderful local restaurant, with a lovely English speaking staff that give great food recommendations . The food here made us come back over and over again and was extremely affordable. Standouts included the roasted pork and tomato curry, tempura pork and onions, homemade noodles, tea leaf salad and the stuffed deep fried fish. Large portions! 1000-3000. edit
- Unique Superb Food, 3 Myawady Road, Nyaung Shwe Township (Near Remember Guesthouse and Buddha Museum.). The name is rather cheesy and the restaurant is small and doesn't look very promising. They are slow at cooking too. However, they make superb food, and it is fairly cheap. Around 3000 Kyats for a main dish. 4000 for a whole fish with fries edit
- Viewpoint. Revisited Shan food with European taste and presentation. Same chef as the well known restaurant 'le planteur' in Yangon. Nice view on river and stupa. 15000 - 17000 kyats. edit
- Wat Tao. The owner is one of the friendliest and most humble persons you can meet in Nyaung Shwe. He serves the most amazing and fresh aubergine, potatoe and beans dish in the cutest little restaurant, which is named after his youngest son. This will make your day! edit
- Smiling Moon Restaurant, Yone Gyi Rd. Great price on milkshakes and lassi. The food is another story, eat somewhere else. Owner also changes money. edit
- Shwun Lae Wai, No. 6 Museum Road, Thazi Qtr, Nyaung Shwe, ☎ 09428314005, 0949360868. Good quality and well priced Burmese and Chinese food and beer. Seems to be pretty much undiscovered by tourists as not mentioned in any guides -- and all the better for it -- but the staff are very friendly and speak enough english. Easily found diagonally opposite the Paradise Hotel, it stands out even more at night with pretty fairy lights over the outside area. Of perhaps the greatest note is that it seems to stay open later than most places in Nyaung Shwe (most shut up by 10 at the latest), so a good option to pop in for a late beer. edit
- Ever Green Restaurant, Museum Road, Thazi Quarter, Nyaung Shwe. A very small but exceptionally friendly restaurant on Museum road as you head away from the market and just past the Lotus Restaurant. Run by a young couple, we visited it on its first night open for some beers. They also boast a cocktail menu, although didn't try when we went. They serve both Burmese and Western food with a couple of tables on their small outside porch as well as a few inside. edit
- Yaung Chi Oo, Yone Gyi Rd (opposite of a monastery - see monks walking through the gate as you sip your drink), ☎ 09 4283 24193. Beautiful lassis and seasonal fruit juices from a lovely lady. Spotless toilet in the backyard (take off your shoes and use their flipflops). edit
- Shan Land a local friendly bar with nice wooden furniture and bartender woman. Draught beer is 600 kyat and local rum and whiskey are also cheap and pleasant. They do food too. Next to the channel, north of the market. For you to work out.
NOTE: the phone numbers in Nyaungshwe have changed recently. For example: +958129352 will become +9581209352
The accommodations actually in the lake (on stilts) sound good, but remember that you'll be trapped there and have to pay 10,000 Kyats for a boat trip to town, or eat only in their restaurant. At Paradise Inle Resort, there were insects in the breakfast rice and birds nesting in the bungalow roof, with droppings falling through the thatch ceiling to the bathroom. Recommend you stay in town and do day trips on the lake. The townspeople are friendlier, too.
- Sweet Inn, Big Drum Compound, Canal Road, Win Quarter 3, Near the TaitNan Bridge, Nyaung Shwe., ☎ +959 979892723 (firstname.lastname@example.org). checkin: 13:00 hour or early check in is possible when room is available; checkout: Noon or late check out is possible when room is available. Only 0.5 km from the city center,The location was fantastic and canal view breakfast! Free Wifi, Hot Shower, rooms have fans, no air-con but cold at night. Great value! It's near the place where you can eat and rent a bike or book a tour to anywhere! The bed is comfortable as well (even if it's just the fan room). For its cheap price it's pretty good. if you make reservation through via email you will get $2 Discount for each day you stay. here is email: email@example.com so don't miss out the chance. Standard Twin or Double with private bathroom $22 including breakfast (Dec 2016). (20.660110296605136,96.92416548728943) edit
- The Green Valley Inn, Phaung Daw Phun Road (Opposite Golden Empress hotel), ☎ +9428371753. Close to town, ran by a very lovely woman and her family. New building, very clean, good breakfast included, very fast wi-fi, fantastic value. Great tasting and low cost meals in the side road opposite. US$15 low season, US$25 high session for a double with private bathroom. (20$ March 2016) US$15-25. edit
- Aquarius Inn, ☎ +9581209352, +9581209615. Near the lake, very friendly family owned Inn with a fantastic breakfast. US$22 for a double with private bathroom. US$15-45. edit
- Blissful Inn, north side of Haw Nan (Cultural Museum). It's located about 5 min from the market and 10 min from the jetty. The staffs very friendly and helpful. All rooms are with fan and bathroom with good hot shower. 30$ for a double room and 20$ if you are single. edit
- Bright Hotel, No. 53, Phaung Daw Side Road, Win Quarter, Nyaung Shwe (4 blocks west of the market, 2 blocks south of Yone Gyi Rd, near the independence monument). checkout: 1200 noon. Friendly staff. Provide bike rental, bus tickets & boat tours in Inle Lake. Nice small rooms with comfortable beds. Good location. Free WiFi. Breakfast is eggs, crepe, toast, orange juice, fruit, coffee and tea. One of the cheapest places in town. Book online as it fills up fast! $17/Twin or Double with fan, private bathroom & breakfast. edit
- Diamonds star guesthouse, Yone Gyi Road, Win Yard Quarter (about 100m from the jetty), ☎ 095216443 (firstname.lastname@example.org). New guesthouse with 10 rooms in the south of Nyaungshwe, single room is US$10/15 double $US14/18 (Oct. 2014), breakfast included bathroom outside/inside. Two can sleep in a single room ( the beds are big enough ) for US$14/12 with/without breakfast. wifi. Hot showers. Rooms and bathrooms basic but clean. The owner or manager is very helpful, and can arrange boat tours (US$15 full day US$18 sunrise + full day), rent bicycle (Kyat 1000), bus tickets and so on. edit
- Four Sister's Inn, No. 105 Nan Pan Quarter, Nyaung Shwe S.S.S (Trishaw (Kyat 500) / Motorbike (Kyat 1000) / Walk (15mins) from bus station), ☎ 09428337092. checkout: 1200 noon. Friendly staff. Provide bike rental (Kyat 1000-1500/day), bus ticket to Yangon (15,000 kyat, pick up included) & boat ride in Inle Lake (15,000 kyat, can split among 5 people) $10-25/Single with fan, personal toilet & breakfast; 20$ for double. edit
- Golden Empress Hotel ((former Golden Express)), No. 19, Phaungtawpyan St. in Mingalar Ward, Nyaungshwe (Around the corner from the Shwezarli Pagoda), ☎ +95(0)81-209037/209914, . Family-run hotel with a great staff of English-speaking girls who go out of their way to help all the guests. The rooms are large and have a wardrobe and desk. The US$25 rooms are some of the best value in the city, and for only US$10 more you can get a balcony room on the second floor. Breakfast is included: eggs, pancakes, toast, fruit, juice, coffee, and tea. Free WIFI. This place's popularity is growingand so reservations are recommended, especially in high season. They don't have a website, so click the information link above to see how to make a reservation. Send email to GoldenEmpressHotel@gmail.com to make a reservation. (20.657108,96.929610) edit
- Gypsy Inn, No. 82, Kann Nar Road, Win Quarter, NyaungShwe (On the canal, to the west of town.), ☎ +95(0)8129084 (email@example.com). checkout: 12:00. A guesthouse with more expensive rooms in the main building (featuring TV & fridge) and an older building with cheaper rooms with shared bathroom and shower block. Room price includes amazing breakfast (Eggs, Toast, Pancake, Fruit and local dish). If you want to check-in early (07:00 or so after your bus arrives) you have to book an extra day. The rooms on the back are better, but it is still pretty noisy because of the boats. Free wifi available in the lobby (and in old block, March 2016), but it's slow as expected. Can arrange boat trips, bus tickets, taxi and bikes for hire. No single rooms (double, triple only). Prices: $8 (dorm), $12 $15, $18, $20 and $22. edit
- Inle Inn, Yone Gyi Street , Nandawon Qt , Nyaung Shwe, Northern Inle Lake, Inle Lake, Myanmar, . A bit on the pricey side for a fan room. Includes breakfast. Can arrange boat trips, bike rentals, laundry, taxis, etc. $28/dbl room. edit
- Joy Hotel, Jetty Rd (on upper canal), ☎ +95-81-209083 (firstname.lastname@example.org). checkin: When room available; checkout: Midday. Friendly staff, clean, with nice view of busy canal each morning. Less touristy end of town, but still pleasant (close to cheap local restaurants). The rooms have fans, no air-con but the downstairs rooms stay relatively cool with just a fan - even in hot season. Helpful staff with OK English. Bike Rental from 1,500 kyats for full day. Free breakfast on the balcony is a highlight. The hotel does not have a website so please see information link above and call or email for reservations. Standard Triple $28, Standard Double/Twin $20, Economy Double/Twin $14 (Oct 2016). edit
- May Guesthouse, No. 85, Myawaddy Road, NyaungShwe, ☎ +9581209417. Very friendly, clean, stylish, and comfortable family-run guesthouse. In the middle of several monasteries. Thin walls between rooms, making it possible to hear a loud snoring person from an adjacent room. Decent breakfast. US$20/30/40. edit
- Min Ga Lar Inn, Phuang Daw Pyan Rd, Mingalar Quarter, Nyaungshwe (next to the main pagoda in town), (email@example.com). Friendly staff, excellent English and very helpful, if you need information or to arrange excursions. Rooms are large and clean with hot water showers. Huge breakfasts every morning (including eggs, plates of fruits, toasts, pancakes, juice, tea, and coffee)and their daily welcome fresh lemon juice is also famous. Staff organise boat trips and travel arrangements. A recommendation to take the canoe trip arranged by the pleasant host around the local villages and attractions on the lake and canals. It's a different experience to the motorboat Inle Lake tour that the Guest House also arranged for you, sharing with another guest.(Wi-Fi is available ). Recommended for those with early morning arrivals and no reservations, as it's easily walkable from the station. Budget fan double rooms $ 20/25 USD, single fan rooms $15/18 USD (July 2014).Staff was among the loveliest in Burma,. They also sell bus tickets at among the lowest prices in Nyaung Shwe (reg:13,000/VIP JJ: 21,000/VIP: 20,000). $20-60 US. edit
- Paradise Hotel, No. 40, Museum Road, Tharzi Quarter, Nyaungshwe, ☎ +95-81-209321, 209322 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Clean and comfortable bungalows. Good breakfast. For tranquillity, make sure to select the bungalows at the back. US$70. edit
- Princess Garden Hotel, Mine Li Street, Nyaungshwe 081,, ☎ 95-(0)81-209214,+95-(0)81-209511,+ 95-(0)9-5148418 (email@example.com), . This is one of the best guest houses in town and as of Sept. 2012 the only one with a lovely swimming pool in a lovely and quiet location. The owners Ko Aung and his wife, Mee Mee, are helpful hosts and so are the staff. The 8 wooden bungalows are clean and has fridge--with additional 7 standard rooms plus 2 other bungalows around the pool or set in lovely garden area .--and the breakfast and afternoon drinks are good. WIFI available but like most of Myanmar is slow and most of the time only available in the reception or restaurant area. Nice place Excellent value ( US$25+ in low season and US$35+ in peak season). edit
- Remember Inn, Haw Street, Nandawon quarter, Nyangshwe (Inle Lake) (In the north of town, 500m east to the bus station), ☎ +95(0)81-209257, (0)9-4101-0429, (0)9-521-4070 , (0)9-4936-0044, . Fairly clean (for being Burma), may be the best cost-effective hotel in Nyuang Shwe for single traveler. Big bright rooms and a lovely rooftop relaxation area. Nice breakfast and they are happy to help with organizing flights, boats and hikes. The owner is very nice and helpful. From US$12 (single room, Aug 2014). edit
- Shwe Inn Tha, Thar Lay Village, ☎ +9595192952 ,+95949351315. Located on the lake itself, quite close to the floating gardens. edit
- Shwe Pauk Pin Inthar House, (behind Four Sisters' Hotel; walk till the end of Channal Road, then turn to the left), ☎ 09 521 2075, 09 521 3516, 09 428 32 00 79, 081 209 186 (firstname.lastname@example.org). A charming place to stay for a budget traveller. It is a new and very nice guesthouse, with an extremely friendly and welcoming hostlady. Each morning she cooks a tasty breakfast for all her guests; lunch and dinner are also possible (1,500 kyat). A great view from the terrase. Hot water in each room. Free Wi-Fi, though not always working. Highly recommended. S/D -20$ edit
- Three Seasons Inn, 17, Phaung Daw Side (Seik) Road (Caddy corner from May Guesthouse, south of Shwe Gu Kyaung), ☎ +95 (0)81209517 ,+95 (0)95068947. Recently opened hotel (Nov 2015), therefore everything is new. Owner is very enthusiastic and hospitable. Makes an effort to hire locals and train them to give them a skill. Excellent price, early check-in (if you came from the overnight bus) is only a fraction of the price. Great breakfast. WiFi. MMK15k (single, Mar 2016), early check-in MMK5k. Tell him the Wayfaring Minstrel sent you! edit
- Viewpoint Resort, Near Talk Nan Bridge and Canal, Nyaungshwe,, ☎ +95-(0)81 209 062,(0) 81 209 147, . This is the highest end resort in town that is beautifully built and decorated in a posh modern style that retains the local heritage. Dedicated to environmental conservation, all water in the facilities is filtered and safe to drink. Rooms are spacious, comfortable, and come with all sorts of natural amenities (bark, herbs, plants, natural sponges) that you can use for showering). Wifi is fast and the breakfast is delicious; the Shan restaurant is high end and expensive, and attracts many patrons in its own right. Far more expensive than anywhere else in the area (>US$100/night) but well worth it for what you receive. If you reserve here, they will charge 35,000kyat for taxi pickup from the airport so look elsewhere for ground transport. Their riverboat tours are surprisingly the same price as anywhere else and a good place to embark from (20,000kyat for the day) edit
- Golden Lotus Hotel Inle Lake (Golden Lotus Hotel Inle Lake), Phaung Daw Pyan Street, Nandawunn Quarter, Nyaungshwe (Inle Lake), ☎ +95 09 4100 3019, . The Golden Lotus Inle Lake is a new boutique hotel built in 2014. 23 square meters Deluxe Rooms with Twin or Double bed (extra beds available). Every room is decorated with teak floors and typical burmese furniture. Free WiFi access is available. Each room here will provide you with a TV, air conditioning and a minibar. Featuring a shower, private bathroom also comes with a bath and a hairdryer. You can enjoy mountain view and city view from the room. Extras include a seating area, satellite channels and cable channels. 50-70$. edit
- Sin Yaw Guesthouse, No 37, Parame street, Nyaung Shwe, ☎ +9592042996. Located outside of the city center, closer to the canal. Friendly owners speaking good English. Breakfast is good here compared to most places: real (!) coffee, large omelette or pancake, toasts, jam, butter, fruits. The dinning terrace has a nice view over the city. If you are on a budget, ask for the basic room/dorm above the reception. Wifi was working pretty well at the time of visit (March 2015) Normal rooms are for $15-20. Also have a basic room/dorm with mattrasses on the floor for $8 (March 2015). edit
- win nyunt inn 1, Win Nyunt Street (near the museum), ☎ 09428338045, . checkin: any time; checkout: any time. A lovely new guesthouse in a very quiet and nice area. Double rooms for 15/25 dollars a day with bathroom, delicious breakfast included and served on the roof with nice view. Beautiful place to spend a good evening with friends. Friendly English speaking staff will you feel at home. Several services available without commission ( bicycles available for 1000 K, wifi, trekking, boat , canoe, transport ticket, laundry, massage ). BEST guesthouse ever, Win Nyunt, head of the village will make your stay in Inle unforgettable. 15. (25,) edit
The Golden Island Cottages office in Nyaungshwe can organize taxis to Kakku, a collection of thousands of stupas with a nice, serene air owing to its remoteness. It takes about 2 hours each way and costs K50000 for the taxi, $5 for a compulsory guide and $3pp entry. If you have the time and money, it is a lovely spot with interesting scenery on the way.
Buy a long distance (VIP) bus ticket from Comet Internet (see above), which includes a free transfer from there to the actual bus terminal. Yangon: 22,000 Kyats, Mandalay: 11,000 Kyats (Feb 2014)
A couple of air conditioned, cramped night buses go to Bagan for as low as 10,000 kt arriving at 4 am, which gives you a chance to go see the sunrise right away!
Odyssey travel agency (near Min Min's restaurant) sells bus tickets 2,000 cheaper than other agencies. Ticket to Mandalay for overnight VIP bus 13,000 kyat including dinner, day-time minibus 12,000 kyat.
Note that the train station is located in Shwenyaung, about 13km from Nyaung Shwe.
Public transport is 300-500K leaving whenever pickup is full. Good luck getting that price.
From the nearby train station, two trains per day. First 0800 arriving at Thazi at 1900 and departing again as a sleeper at 2200 arriving to Yangon at 1440.
Second departs 0910 and arrives to Thazi at 2045.
The journey by train to Kalaw takes about 3.5 hours through the mountains. It is a very scenic ride. The train may be delayed.