Nady Lavin

Written by Nady Lavin

Modified & Updated: 16 May 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith


Inle Lake, located in the beautiful country of Myanmar, is a captivating destination that boasts not only natural beauty but also a rich cultural heritage. This freshwater lake, nestled amidst the Shan Hills, stretches over 13.5 miles and is a haven for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.

But Inle Lake is more than just a picturesque landscape; it is home to a vibrant community of Intha people who have adapted their way of life to the unique conditions of the lake. From their traditional fishing methods to their floating gardens, Inle Lake offers a glimpse into a way of life that is both enchanting and extraordinary.

In this article, we will explore 15 captivating facts about Inle Lake, from its diverse flora and fauna to its fascinating cultural practices. So let’s dive in and discover the wonders of this mesmerizing destination!

Key Takeaways:

  • Inle Lake is a captivating destination with unique floating gardens, leg rowers, and diverse cultural experiences. Visitors can witness the mesmerizing leg rowing technique and explore the thriving handicraft industry while immersing themselves in the tranquil beauty of the lake.
  • The serene temples, ancient pagodas, and vibrant floating market make Inle Lake a cultural and natural wonder. From the tranquil sunsets to the traditional fishing methods, the lake offers a captivating blend of biodiversity, tradition, and spiritual richness.
Table of Contents

The Unique Floating Gardens of Inle Lake

One of the fascinating features of Inle Lake is the unique floating gardens. These gardens are created by local fishermen who use a traditional technique called “hyroponics” to cultivate crops on the surface of the water. The nutrient-rich lake sediment serves as a natural fertilizer, allowing the plants to thrive and produce a variety of vegetables.

The Intha People and Their Distinct Rowing Style

The Intha people, who inhabit the surrounding villages of Inle Lake, are known for their distinctive rowing style. Instead of using oars, they use their legs to row the traditional narrow wooden boats. This unique technique involves standing on one leg at the back of the boat and wrapping the other leg around the oar, allowing them to navigate through the shallow waters and intricate channels of the lake with ease.

The Mysterious Inle Lake Leg Rowers

One of the most captivating sights at Inle Lake is the leg rowers. These skilled fishermen row their boats with one leg while the other leg stays wrapped around the oar. This technique not only allows them to navigate through the shallow waters but also leaves their hands free to handle fishing nets and baskets. The graceful movements of the leg rowers create a mesmerizing spectacle, attracting visitors from all over the world.

Inle Lake’s Mesmerizing Silk Weaving Industry

Inle Lake is renowned for its silk weaving industry. The local artisans use traditional handlooms to create intricate and vibrant textiles. From silk scarves to traditional longyi skirts, the skilled weavers produce a wide range of beautiful and unique products that are highly sought after by locals and tourists alike.

The Floating Market of Inle Lake

The floating market of Inle Lake is a bustling hub of activity. Local vendors travel by boat to sell and trade their goods, creating a vibrant and colorful atmosphere on the water. Visitors can find a variety of fresh produce, traditional handicrafts, and souvenirs while immersing themselves in the vibrant local culture.

The Unique Biodiversity of Inle Lake

Inle Lake is home to a rich and diverse ecosystem. The lake’s waters are inhabited by various species of fish, including the famous Inle Carp, which is found nowhere else in the world. Additionally, the surrounding wetlands and marshes provide a habitat for numerous bird species, making it a paradise for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts.

Inle Lake’s Ancient Pagodas and Monasteries

The shores of Inle Lake are dotted with ancient pagodas and monasteries. These sacred sites hold deep religious significance and offer a glimpse into the region’s cultural heritage. Visitors can explore the intricately carved structures and witness Buddhist rituals performed by the local monks.

The Traditional Fishing Methods of Inle Lake

Traditional fishing methods are still practiced by the local fishermen of Inle Lake. Using cone-shaped nets, they skillfully catch fish while balancing on the edge of their boats. This time-honored technique has been passed down through generations and remains an integral part of the local fishing culture.

Inle Lake’s Unique Stilt Houses

One of the characteristic features of Inle Lake is the unique stilt houses. These traditional dwellings are built on wooden stilts and are meticulously constructed using local materials such as bamboo and teak. The stilt houses not only provide a picturesque backdrop but also serve as a practical solution to the fluctuating water levels of the lake.

The Serene Temples and Pagodas of Inle Lake

Around Inle Lake, there are numerous serene temples and pagodas that add to the region’s spiritual aura. The ornate architecture and tranquil surroundings provide a peaceful escape for both locals and visitors seeking solace and contemplation.

The Thriving Handicraft Industry of Inle Lake

Inle Lake is known for its thriving handicraft industry. Skilled artisans create beautiful items such as silverware, lacquerware, and intricate wood carvings. Visitors have the opportunity to witness the meticulous craftsmanship firsthand and even purchase unique souvenirs to take home.

Inle Lake’s Cultural Diversity

Inle Lake is home to a diverse range of ethnic groups, each with their own distinct traditions and customs. The interaction between the Shan, Intha, and Pa-O communities adds to the cultural richness of the region, offering visitors a chance to experience the vibrant tapestry of local life.

The Tranquil Beauty of Inle Lake’s Sunsets

As the day comes to a close, Inle Lake offers breathtaking sunsets that paint the sky with vivid hues of orange and pink. The serene waters and picturesque surroundings create a captivating backdrop for a truly enchanting experience.

Inle Lake’s Role as a Nature Reserve

In recognition of its ecological significance, Inle Lake has been designated as a nature reserve. Efforts are being made to preserve its delicate ecosystem and protect the endangered species that call the lake their home. It serves as a reminder of the importance of conservation and sustainable tourism.

Inle Lake’s Unique Mode of Transportation

Traditional wooden boats, known as “longtail boats,” are the primary mode of transportation on Inle Lake. These narrow boats are fitted with a long propeller shaft at the rear, operated by the boatman using a tiller. Exploring the lake by longtail boat allows visitors to witness the stunning landscapes and immerse themselves in the tranquility of the surroundings.


Inle Lake, with its breathtaking beauty and unique cultural heritage, is truly a captivating destination. From its floating gardens to its traditional fishing techniques, this stunning lake in Myanmar offers a wealth of experiences for travelers to enjoy. Whether you’re exploring the stilt villages or witnessing the famous leg-rowing fishermen in action, Inle Lake promises to leave you in awe of its natural wonders and rich cultural traditions.As you navigate the serene waters and immerse yourself in the local way of life, you’ll discover that Inle Lake is not just a place to visit but an experience to cherish. From the bustling markets to the tranquil monasteries, every corner of this remarkable destination offers something new to discover. So, make sure to add Inle Lake to your bucket list and get ready to be captivated by its allure.


Q: How big is Inle Lake?

A: Inle Lake spans an area of approximately 116 square kilometers (45 square miles), making it the second largest lake in Myanmar.

Q: What is the best time to visit Inle Lake?

A: The best time to visit Inle Lake is during the dry season, which is from November to February. The weather is pleasant, and the water levels are high, allowing for better navigation and picturesque views.

Q: How do you get around Inle Lake?

A: The most common mode of transportation on Inle Lake is by boat. You can hire a longtail boat or join a guided tour to explore the lake and its attractions.

Q: Are there accommodations available near Inle Lake?

A: Yes, there are numerous accommodations ranging from budget guesthouses to luxury resorts situated around the lake. You can choose from waterfront properties or stay in nearby Nyaungshwe town.

Q: What are some popular activities to do at Inle Lake?

A: Some popular activities at Inle Lake include visiting the floating gardens, exploring the stilt villages, witnessing the traditional fishing methods, and shopping at the local markets.

Inle Lake's captivating beauty and unique culture leave visitors yearning for more. Luckily, Myanmar's hidden gems don't end there. Shwe Indein Pagoda, with its ancient stupas and serene atmosphere, offers a glimpse into the country's rich spiritual heritage. Uncover the extraordinary facts about this sacred site and immerse yourself in the wonders of Myanmar.

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