Inle Lake, Myanmar Cruise Port

The ecologically and culturally fascinating cruise port of Inle Lake, Myanmar is part of the country's Shan Hills and is located in the Nyaungshwe Township. This freshwater lake contains multiple species that are found nowhere else on earth, including different snails and fish. Thanks to this amazing distinction, in 2015 Inle Lake became the first World Network of Biosphere Reserves in Myanmar. Along with the wildlife, the lake is home to around 70,000 residents called Intha, who live in various villages. Their economy is driven mostly by farming and fishing, along with handwoven textiles and carvings. Tourism is popular here, especially during the months of September and October; celebrating Buddhists come here for the nearly three-week-long Hpaung Daw U Festival. This is a great area for a walk – or rent a bike and enjoy the fresh air. Here are some of our favorite experiences when cruising to Inle Lake, Myanmar:
 
  • Book a lake tour from any number of companies, on either solo trips or with a group of other tourists. You can indicate to your driver that you only want to see the small-scale places and not the larger workshops; this gives you better pricing and helps out some of the local artists who might not get as much business. Keep an eye out for floating restaurants to enjoy fresh fish.
     
  • Check out the Jumping Cat Monastery, called as such because the monks taught the resident cats to jump through hoops. It's a lovely structure, with Buddha stories on the walls and some monks roaming about to talk to visitors.
     
  • The Lay Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda has five small Buddha gold leaf-covered statues; there are photos on the walls of what they used to look like pre-decoration. You'll also find stories on the walls of Buddha's life and how the statues got here.
     
  • This is a birdwatcher's paradise, thanks to the thousands of water birds that use the lake (also a wildlife sanctuary) for breeding or migration. Just like the endemic snails and fish, there are species here you won't find anywhere else, such as the pheasant-tailed jacana.

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