Solo Travel Destination: Inle Lake, Myanmar
We are pleased to present a new Solo Travel Destination Post from Jasmine, a member of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. Jasmine is from Australia, and submitted the following report about Inle Lake. Do you have a solo travel destination that you would like to recommend? Submit your description here, along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!
Solo travel rating: 1.5 (1 is easiest, 4 is most difficult. Please see chart below)
Languages spoken: Burmese, English
Reasons to go: Compared to the 14 million tourists who visit Thailand every year, Myanmar is only just starting to push the 1 million mark. Whilst Inle Lake is one of the most visited regions in the country, it is still easy to find places where you will feel that you are the only foreigner for miles.
Nyaungshwe is the main traveler center and the best place to base yourself. From here you can book boat trips on the lake (directly with the boatmen in the main canal, with local travel agents, or through your hotel). A typical trip will take in Inthein, where the jungle has grown over the ornately carved crumbling stupas. There are also floating gardens, monasteries, markets, and, of course, the iconic Inle Lake fishermen, who row with one leg.
On a full day trip further south to Second Lake, you will find local Shan, Intha, and Pa-O Villages and you can visit the village of Sankar with a Pa-O guide. Leaving early in the morning can guarantee having the village to yourself before the boatloads of other tourists arrive.
Tired of sitting in a boat? Hire a bicycle in town and check out some of the sites around the lake. Heading southwest out of town you’ll pass gorgeous beds of bright pink lotus flowers and you can visit a hilltop monastery and bathe in the local hot springs. From here a boatman can take you and your bike across the lake to pedal north back to town. A stop at Red Mountain Estate is a must here. Not expecting to find a winery in Myanmar, it is a pleasant surprise to discover not only great views and excellent food, but pretty good wine too.
Without a doubt the most memorable part of a visit to the lake are the people. From smiling children waving from boats, to monks wanting to practice their English and friendly locals just wanting to learn more about the world outside Myanmar, the people of Inle Lake are most welcoming to the solo traveler.
Solo Travel Destination Rating System
Safety - 1 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)
Language - 2 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)
Navigation – 1 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)
Culture – 2 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)
Average Rating – 1.5 (1 is easiest, 4 is most difficult)