Inlay Lake (Nyaung Shwe) The habour of the Inlay Lake is a small town Nyaung Shwe. This vast picturesque lake located in the heart of the Shan State amid hilly terrain that climbs up to over 900 metres above sea level and outrageously beautiful, is one of the main tourist attractions in Myanmar. Incredibly calm and clear the Inlay Lake measuring, 22 km long and 10 km across, has a population of some 150,000, many of whom live on floating islands of vegetation. Inlay Lake, natural and unpolluted, is famous for its scenic beauty and the unique leg rowing of the Inthas, the native lake dwellers. High hills rim the lake on both sides. The lakeshore and lake islands bear 17 villages on stilts, mostly inhabited by the Intha people.
Varieties of category of hotels at and around Nyaung Shwe. Some on the lake. First class hotels are Inlay Princess Hotel, Aye Thar Yar Golf Resort Hotel. Standard hotels are Hupin Hotel, Paradise Hotel, Golden Island Cottages Hotel, Khaung Daing Hotel
One of the famous principal shrines in Myanmar, this pagoda houses five small Buddha images. Once a year, the Lights Festival coincident with Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda festival from end September to early October. The festival revolves around the procession of four sacred images, which usually reside with a fifth image at Phaungdaw Oo Pagoda for worship by the faithful all year round. For 18 days, the four images are taken out of Phaungdaw Oo Pagoda and carried in a spectacular procession around the 200 villages dotting Inle Lake, with an overnight stop at a pagoda in one of the villages, to enable devotees to flock around to make offerings and prayers.
On the 18th day, the images are escorted back to Phaungdaw Oo Pagoda amid great fanfare in a carnival atmosphere. The celebrations culminate, appropriately in the pulsating boat races of the Intha leg-rowers. Tour highlights in Inlay Lake are Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery, Folating Plantation and Indein.
Nga Phe Kyaung, a wooden monastery built on stilts over the lake four years before the construction of Mandalay Palace. It's known as the Jumping Cat Monastery because the monks there have trained a few cats to leap through small hoops. But a better reason to visit is to see the modest collection of Buddha images in Shan, Tibetan, Bagan and Inwa styles. Just as impressive as the Buddhas themselves are the tall, highly ornate, wood-and-mosaic pedestals and cases built for the images. Such pedestals are the specialties of Shan and Northern Thai Buddhist art and those at the monastery are over 100 years old.
The resourceful Inthas learnt that by gathering floating weeds and tethering them together, they could create plots of land on which they could grow vegetative and flowers. Thousands of floating gardens plots supplies vegetables to the region.
One of the small villages of Inlay Lake located on the western bank of the lake. A Buddha image has enshrined at a whitewashed stupa, which is on the summit of a hill. Below the stupa around the hill are cluster of hundreds of ancient stupas most are ruins overgrown with bushes. The pagoda hill is quiet and calm. One could feel the pleasant cool breeze with the sweet rings of the bells hanging at the umbrella of the stupa. Mesmerizing view from pagoda hill release the fatigue and refresh everybody who ascend to the peak.
This mysterious place is at the end of the marvellous Indein creek, which connected with Inlay Lake just after the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda. The creek is narrow with many twist and turns. Since the both sides are paddy fields you can see the farmers ploughing and harrowing by water buffaloes. At the lunch time while groups of farmers having lunch the water buffaloes enjoy themselves dipping in the creek. At many places in the creek the farmers dam up the water by bamboo barriers to irrigate the paddy fields. Indein water is not only useful for irrigation also for bathing and washing cloths. It is compulsory to see Novice monks, buffalo boys and village girls wash and swim in the creek.
Taunggyi, over 1430 metres above sea level, is the capital of Shan State. It is a hill station, cool and pleasant all the year round. The journey from Taunggyi down to Inlay Lake area takes about an hour. In November, to coincide with the full-moon festival of Tazaungmon (also Tazaungdaing), the city hosts a hot-air, or fire balloon festival. The particular interest in Taunggyi is for shopping, since commodities of Thailand can buy cheaply in Taunggyi. Among so many by DNSUnlocker"> hotels, Taunggyi hotel is the best.
Recently discovered tourist site beyond Taunggyi. Cluster of hundreds of ancient pagodas said to be the merit of King Asoka of India. The particular interest is the village life along the road to the Kakku. The small road across a dozen of the pretty Pa-O villages and very green plantations irrigated by stream water.
About 45 km from Kalaw is a small town Pindaya, well known for its extensive limestone caves. The caves are set deep in the hillsides and there stands at the entrance, a 15 meter high Shwe U Min Pagoda. There are some 8000 Buddha images made from alabaster, teak, marble, brick, lacquer and cement. Among the more unusual features in the cave is a set of stalagmites that can be struck with large wooden mallets to produce gong tone.
The way to Pindaya is scenic since both side of the little tar road are fields of dry cultivated mountain rice, potato and passes through the Pa O, Taung Yo, Danu hill tribes villages. Entering the plateau of Pindaya, the great mountain range appeared to dwarf the city and lake down below. Aged banyan trees lined the beautiful Pindaya Lake, which is the only water source for bathing and cleaning. Groups of ladies and young children enjoying their bath and swim in the Lake.
Built as a hill retreat in the late 19th and early 20th century by the British, Kalaw is perched 1320 meters high on the western rim of the massive Shan Plateau. Cool, spring like weather, pine forest, tea plantations and colourfully-clad hill tribes make Kalaw, a natural magnet for tourists. With its beautifully rustic setting amid bamboo groves, orange orchards and pine trees, it used to be a popular vacation spot for British who came here to seek a cool respite from the heat of the plains. Kalaw's attractive surroundings are prefect for walks. Without too much strain, it can hike to villages of the most Shan tribes who live scattered over the plateau. Those around Kalaw are mostly from four ethnics groups: the Palaung, Pa-O, Danu and Taung yoo.