Inle & its environs

Located in the heart of the Shan State is the indescribable Inle Lake, shares borders with Thainland & Laos. It is the second largest freshwater lake in Myanmar and is approximately 900 meters above the sea level & it is outrageously beautiful above sea level. Inle Lake is located in the mountains so it is cooler than other areas. The culture of the people is not like the rest of the country, and they have preserved their customs and way of life for hundreds of years. The inhabitants of the lake are called the "Intha", and their unique way of living will surely impress. Everything from rowing a boat to growing vegetables and fruit is unlike anywhere else.

One of the first things you will notice on this 22km lake is the fishermen. They have a very strange way of rowing their boats as they use their leg to assist in the work. Balancing on the tip of the boat the Intha fishermen propel their handmade boats around the lake for work and pleasure. You will also witness the fishermen using strange cone shaped nets to catch various fish for their family as well as for the markets.

The floating gardens are another fascinating site to see. The locals support themselves by growing fruits and vegetables year round, including tomatoes, beans, cauliflower, cabbage, eggplant, garlic, onions, melons, and bananas. The plants are grown on a marshy soil based mass that is extremely fertile and staked to the bottom of the lake with bamboo.

Of all of the places you visit in Myanmar Inle will be the one you remember most fondly. The friendly hill tribe people, ancient pagoda’s, colorful festivals and natural beauty will give you a life time of memories. Once you’ve experienced Inle you’ll want to return again and again.

Phaung Daw U Pagoda

The holiest religious site of Shan State. The best time to visit is September and October. This is mainly because of the ceremonial Phaung Daw Oo Festival, the most important event held there.

This festival lasts for almost three weeks, and occurs between late September and early October. The Phaungdawoo Festival is closely followed by the Thadingyut, another festival and one of Myanmar's best-known events. The Inthar and Shan folks wear new clothes to celebrate the end of Buddhist Lent, or ‘Waso".

 

Nga Phe Chaung Monastery

It is wooden monastery on stilts over the lake, built four years before Mandalay Palace. The collection of Buddha images in shan, Tibetan, bagan, Inwa style still can be seen in this monastery.

Inn Dein

Indein is one of the small villages of Inle 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.

 

Sagar

It was formerly located on the hills, but after the construction of the water supply, the village was moved and the temples are Still remain there. There are hundreds of Buddha Images in sitting, standing & reclining positions, which are supposed to be over seven hundred years old. When we take the boat excursion towards Sagar, the landscapes on the way make emotions and delights to be there. It can be done day return trip by boat from Inle Lake, which will take approximately three hours. There is a monastery nearby where we can have a picnic lunch with typical food.

 

 

Loikaw

Loikaw is the capital of Kayah State & located in southern Shan State of Myanmar and on the Pilu River, a tributary of the Thanlwin (Salween) River. It can reach from southernmost part of Inle lake to Phe Khone by boat (6 hrs) and then drive to Liokaw by car about an hour and 30 minutes. And also It is about 5 hours’ drive from Kalaw and just an hour's flight from Yangon.

The inhabitants are mostly Kayah also known as Karenni and has a population of about 30,000. National races are the Kayah, Gagho, Gagbar, Kayan (Padaung), Ma nu ma naw, Yin Baw, Yin Ta le`, Inn Tha, Shan and Bamar live in the Kayah State. In the hill regions, you will find the Pa-O national race as well. Most Kayah Padaung nationals live in Pan Pat Village, which is situated in Kayah State.

The famous religious landmark of Loikaw is the Thiri-Mingalar Taung-kwe Pagoda Hill, scenically built on a hillock overlooking the vast expanse of the environs. You can watch desolately at the pilgrims and enjoy the marvelous landscape form the top. Taungwe Taung Zedi is the most venerated pagoda in Kayah State. Taungwe meaning "Separated hills" in Myanmar. The Kinnare Bird are the national symbol of the Kayah State.

Myanmar’s largest hydropower plant is located 20 km east of Loikaw at Lawpita Water Falls and named as Lawpita Hydropower Plant. It is the main electric power source in Myanmar.

Pan Pae Village

It is about 1:30 hrs drive from Loikaw, you can reach to Pan Pae village where you will find the beauty of Kayan (Padaung) tribe and its nature. Accordingly, Kayan (Padaung) traditional costumes and their way of life are distinguished and interesting. One of their beliefs is that the longer the neck, the more beautiful the person is. Therefore, Kayan (Padaung) women when they came of age, wear bronze spiral rings around their necks. That’s why, the Kayan (Padaung) have become a popular tribe of Myanmar.

There are also Kayar & Kayaw villages far from Loikaw and you can see the secrete of different tribes in Loikaw area.

 

Pindaya

It is situated 1200 meters above the sea level. There’s a lot of beautiful landscape to be taken in when travelling from Kalaw to Pindaya. The latter is famous for its limestone caves as well as temples, Danu & Pa oo Villages and pagodas.

It is known for its spectacular limestone caves which have become popular tourist destinations in recent years. Here, in these caves, one can find carvings of Buddha all around, created by devotees. The Pindaya cave has a length is 490 feet long and is said to have existed for the past 200 million years and is 5,000 meters above sea level. All the sculpture work, carvings and paintings inside these caves are of Lord Buddha and were created by hand by his worshippers. The caves are natural formed and unusually features by the stalactites & stalagmites over millions of years ago. A pagoda festival is celebrated at the base of Pindaya Hill which is lined with huge banyan trees. One of the villages of Danu is known as Hgnatpyawtaw and is a popular tourist destination & interesting to observe their cottage industry. At the base of Pindaya Hill is Singaung Monastery, a century old teakwood building which also has a lacquered-bamboo Buddha image. Ponetaloke Lake is another popular attraction at Pindaya. After visiting in Pindaya, trekking is available to tribes villages on the mountain ranges.

Kalaw

It rests in the heart of the pine-studded Shan Hills at 1320 meters above sea level. This was a popular hill station in the British days and it is still a peaceful and quiet place. It is also pleasantly cool and a good place for hiking amid gnarled pines, bamboo groves and rugged mountain scenery.

The authentic hill tribes such as PaO & Palaung can be seen along the trekking. We can make overnight stop in those particular villages in order to understand more daily life of the ethnics. The trekking is not hard and the maximum duration for walking is about two hours along the up & down way.

 

There is another interesting site near Kalaw area which is focused on protecting the local ecology, elephants and traditions of the local people.

Nature grows undisturbed in this (150 acres) private preserve, where we plan to include a Myanmar elephant camp. We are offering the opportunity to learn about Mahouts and their Elephants.

In addition, we have created trekking routes through forest. Local trekking guides lead excursions form Kalaw to the elephant camp. So far we have prepared 4 different treks and we connect with our main camp. Along the way, clients will be introduced to local village traditions and to the natural beauty of the surrounding forest. The area is known for fauna (birds, butterflies,) and flora (orchids, teak and bamboo forest). Trekking programs range from easy to more strenuous.

It is our intention to support and improve the health and education of the local villages. We also wish to maintain the natural environment by re-planting and conserving of the forest.

Our main camp is located 14.5miles (25kilometers) down from Kalaw and it takes 50-60 minutes drive by car.
 

Taunggyi

The pine clad hill station of Taunggyi provides a cool break from the heat of the plains since it is situated at 1430 meters above the sea level. The town was once a place for respite for perspiring British, although all that remains of the colonial era are on overgrown graveyard, a stone church, a line of cherry trees, etc. Because of its function as a trade town from Thailand, China & India, this is one of Myanmar’s most prosperous and enterprising towns. The population of 200000 includes tribes, Shan, Myanmar, Sikhs, Punjabis and retired Gurakhas who once fought for the British. The bustling local market is interesting to observe the daily of the locals; the Shan State museum retells how the state has passed the history and a famous pagoda with the panoramic view.
 

Kakku

Just a couple of hours from Taunggyi, discover the "long lost" ruins of Kak Ku in countryside inhabited by the Pa O people. Situated in the rolling Shan Hills, Kak Ku pagoda is very unusual and little is known about its origins. The Pa O people believe that the original pagoda was built on the site some 2,000 years ago. Dozens of small stupas surround the main pagoda in a huge circle. You can wander through the stupas which are decorated with fine stucco work and Buddha images. The tranquility and peacefulness provide the site to be visited and above all, the hill tribes living nearby, Pao are additional attraction of the place.
 

Kyaing Tong

Kyainge Tong is well known for its scenic beauty and colorful hill tribes, still untouched by tourism. You may have done a lot of traveling throughout the world Kyaing Tong will always be among the most enchanting places. Kyainge Tong is the capital of Eastern Shan State region and easily accessible by flight from either, Yangon, Mandalay or Heho or Tachileik. It is also one of the most scenic spots and the start of many interesting treks into the surrounding mountains. A place with a long history Kyaing Tong town proper is a unique blend of many cultures; Gon Shan, Myanmar and a little bit of Thai. This can be seen in the architecture of the buildings which shows traces of all. Also around Kyaing Tong are many ethnic villages; Palaungs, Eng, Akha, Lahu etc. These ethnic tribes had surprisingly preserved their ancient customs and traditions as well as their unique and colorful dresses up to now and many can be seen in the marketplace where they come to do their shopping every morning. Also another places of interest are a pleasant looking Naung Tong lake, monasteries in Shan style and traditional lacquer ware works.

Tachileik

Tachileik is a border town to Thailand in the eastern Shan State. There is an airport and domestic flights to Tachileik are operated from/to Yangon, Mandalay and Kyaing Tong. By road Tachileik is connected with Kyaing Tong, which is located 106 km and approximately four hours driving time to the north. The tourist can across border from Tachileik to Mai Sai with special permit.

The most important tourist attraction is a large, gold-coloured pagoda, which, among other things, showcases the seven days of the week.