Fishermen who maneuver their boat by only one leg, beautiful floating gardens and houses on stilts, tranquil villages with ethnic minorities, it’s a small part of the Inle Lake’s magnificent universe. Traveling to Inle Lake will leave you with a lasting impression. These are 5 reasons you shouldn't miss Inle Lake on your vacation in Myanmar.
1. Life on the lake
Life on the shallow, 13.5-mile freshwater lake is utterly enchanting. No busy like Yangon, no noisy like Mandalay, and hot and dusty like Bagan, Inle Lake is far different from any other place you could visit on your Myanmar vacation. With no roads or sidewalks, visitors and locals alike get around in one-person-wide wooden boats outboard propellers which emit a noisy whine when at full throttle and can be raised and lowered depending on water levels of the lake. The villages full of charming single and two-story wooden stilt houses are situated on active waterways. Fishermen working on the lake use a unique rowing technique you won’t see anywhere else in the world. Tomato farming with the hydroponic method is also large-sized here, based on an aqua biotic system in use since the 1960s. Cruising along channels surrounded by floating gardens is simply amazing.
2. Over-the-water hotels and restaurants
You can find a lot of airy over-the-water bungalows on Inle Lake in your Myanmar travel. Even if you don’t stay in one of these memorable hotels, enjoying delicious dishes at their restaurants is a must. Tea is used as a type of drinks all over the world, but only on your vacation in Myanmar, you will realize that it can be processed into a mouth-watering course: the spicy tea leaf salad. Hospitable students from all over Shan state come to intern at Heritage House, a really beautiful colonial-styled house doing triple duty as a hotel, restaurant, and cat sanctuary. On the lake is also Golden Island Cottages run Pa-O, an important local minority group. Its thatched-roof terrace restaurant offers stunning views of both lake and sky. Besides, you can attend cooking classes or make a visit to the organic vegetable garden.
3. Stupas galore
Bagan isn't the only place to your Myanmar vacation where you can see astounding stupas. The ruins of stone pagodas over 1,000 years old are crammed together on an overgrown hillside behind a small Inle Lake restaurant. Recently revealed from the jungle, they show an astonishing sight: small, delicate, and closely knit. They’re much more intimate than those at Bagan and very easily explored through a walking tour.
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4. Unusual monasteries
Among 200 monasteries dotting the lake, the unusual Nga Hpe Kyaung is the most famous and may be one of the strangest places you would visit on your vacation in Myanmar. It’s more commonly known as Jumping Cat monastery where the dozens of resident cats are trained to "jump" through hoops by monks in their free time. The cats don't do much jumping on command anymore; they do walk the rafters, stretch out on the floor and wander about at will—as cats like to do. The monastery dating back in 1890 is a splendid wooden stilt structure. Besides smart cats, it also houses an impressive collection of ornate buddhas, which were originally owned by area residents. During World War II, they took the Buddhas to the monastery and never got back.
5. Hand-woven textiles
Inle Lake has been a major Myanmar weaving center for over a century and its chief artisans live in Inn Paw Khon Village. As you come into dock, you'll hear the looms clicking away through open-air windows. Everything, from the dyes to the finished scarves and longyi skirts (Burmese traditional costume) is made here by hand, by women at all of the ages who are alleged to be more precise than men). There's no retiring age: the eldest women approve dying techniques and designs. Their taste and experience are still invaluable, even as their eyesight is no longer good. While woven textiles can be found throughout Southeast Asia, it’s only Myanmar that makes lotus fabric, and Inle Lake is ground zero for it, as its shallow waters create ideal growing conditions for planting lotus. Do not forget to buy lotus fabric, the most authentic, made-in-Myanmar souvenir, on your Burma tours directly from the source here.
Quiet and vast, the Inle Lake seems to be out of all the noises and chaos of modern life. Do not miss the wonderful destination on your Myanmar vacation.
What will you do in your tour to Burma? Common answers are to visit majestic gilded temples sparkling in the sunlight, admire stunning natural landscapes, explore unique local cultures and enjoy delicious traditional Burmese cuisine. You may forget the equally interesting activity: shopping. You can find everything at a multitude of shops and markets all over Myanmar, especially souvenirs such as silk, lacquerware, wood carvings, and gems. We suggest 5 places you can visit in your tour to Myanmar to purchase unique presents for your beloveds, friends and even yourself.
1. Monument Books
In contrast to Bagan Book House where you can find old books about Burmese history, this large modern bookshop has a good selection of books on contemporary Burma. There are also sumptuous photographic works. The bookshop is located just a few minutes walking from the Savoy Hotel, and next door is Yangon's leading toy store. On a hot day, a lot of visitors and locals stop here for a drink since it has a very pleasant air-conditioned café together with internet access.
Address: 150 Dhamazedi Road, Bahan Township
Contact: 00 95 1 536 306; monument-books.com
Getting there: walk or take a taxi
Opening times: daily, 9am-8.30pm
Payment type: credit cards not accepted
2. The Five-day Market
Local produce markets rotate on a five-day cycle among groups of villages and towns around the tranquil Inle Lake (except on Full Moon days when there are no markets). Although the floating market of Ywe Mah is the most famous, it’s better for you to avoid the market in your Myanmar travel as it’s awash with camera-totting tourists. Nyaungshwe's daily morning market which swells to three times its size every fifth day would an ideal place to learn about the daily life of some Burmese ethnic minority groups in your tour to Myanmar. Go before 9 am to see it in full swing: fresh vegetables and fruits, an array of freshly-cooked and irresistible snacks and Pa-O tribeswomen in their red plaid headscarves.
Address: Main Road, Nyaungshwe
Getting there: walk or hire a boat
Opening times: daily, 6am-1pm, excluding Full Moon days
Payment type: credit cards not accepted
3. King Galon Gold Leaf Workshop
During your tour to Burma, you will see many temples and Buddhas covered in gold leaves. Gold leaf is much in demand as Buddhists place the sheets on important images of the Buddha as a way to acquire merit. King Galon Gold Leaf Workshop is the most accessible in Mandalay. Here you can watch the manufacturing process, entirely done by hand. Packets of coin-sized pieces of pure gold are beaten into gossamer-thin leaves by men wielding sledgehammers, and them the leaves are carefully cut and packed by women. A packet of ten squares costs about $5 dollars.
Address: 143, 36th Street, near junction with 77th Street, Mandalay
Getting there: take a taxi
Opening times: daily, 8am-6pm
Payment type: credit cards not accepted
4. Myinkaba Village
Located between Old Bagan and New Bagan, this large village is full of small, family-run, lacquerware makers. As soon as you stop here, young girls who can speak English surprisingly well will run up and ask if you would like a tour. It’s well worth taking up the offer. You will see how lacquerware is made every day by using plastic molds, and the design painted on instead of incised. It’s also a great way to find out about village life as your young guide may invite you to visit their home and enjoy tea and snacks. If you don’t buy anything, a small tip is necessary. In case you want to get the top-quality lacquerware in your tour to Burma, visit Golden Cuckoo workshop in the village.
Address: Myinkaba Village, Bagan
Getting there: hire a horse cart or cycle
Opening times: daily, 8am-9pm
Payment type: credit cards not accepted
5. Pakokku Market
The market is situated in a busy Burmese town, an hour’s drive from Bagan. It has retained its authenticity as few tourists come here. It’s worth spending a couple of hours at the market in your tour to Myanmar - try to arrive before 11am - as there’s so much of interest: umbrella makers, basket sellers, stalls of thanaka powder (used as a sunscreen in Burma) as well as the most exotic range of fruit and vegetables, arranged as works of art. Buy a bag of the appetizing toddy-palm jaggery, balls of sugar mixed with sesame and coconut for your Burma tours.
Address: Myoma Market, Pakkoku
Getting there: Take a minibus from Bagan (Ks 2,000)
Opening times: daily, 8am-4pm
Payment type: credit cards not accepted
Shopping in your tour to Burma is not only to get typical Burmese items but also to better understand the culture and daily life of the Golden Temple Country. Do not forget to visit these places in your tour Myanmar and purchase special souvenirs.
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For recent years, the remarkable development of Burmese tourism has been synonymous with the rapidly increasing number of travel agencies who operate various tours throughout Myanmar. If you want to tour Myanmar, but you are confused about choosing the best Myanmar tour operator for you tip among thousands of travel units, the following tips may help you.
1. Determine your travel style
Although most of the tour operators offer a variety of tour types, each of which has their own strength in particular areas. So, you need to determine clearly which type of tour you want. Is it budget, mid-level or luxury tour? Is it private, guided or small group tour? Is it discovery or adventure tour? The more you clarify your want, the more you choose a really suitable Myanmar tour operator. Pick about 5 units before coming to the next steps.
2. Verify Quality
Make sure that the Burma tour operators you chose have a history of providing services with good quality. The best measurement is what past clients said about their own experience. Do online research on the third-party site such as Tripadvisor, which have reviews and forums that can be very useful for you. This step is a little bit consuming, as you will do read a huge amount of information to filter out potentially ‘fake’ reviews that are either overly negative or positive.
In case you have the time, the better way to narrow down your list of tour operators you are considering is to require the Myanmar tour operator for 10 past client references that you can personally contact. Select a few and call them to ask their experience with the tour operator.
In addition, ask the tour operator to send you the copies of licenses which prove that they legally run your intended Burma tours. This is particularly important in case you plan to visit the restricted areas for foreigners and tourists in Myanmar. Make sure that you will be fully supported to get permission from the government to enter these areas. Pay attention to the validity & dates of the licenses to make sure that they are not expired.
4. Ease of doing business
Your interaction with the Myanmar tour operator during the booking process will be a good criterion to evaluate how well they run your intended tour. You can assess this in several aspects, such as:
Responsiveness – One of the most important features for working with any company is how responsive they are. Really good tour operators are always easily assessable via multiple communication channels, such as phone, email, and even social networks, and respond your contact quickly.
Friendliness – Are their representatives friendly? Do they listen carefully to your needs and wants? It’s better for you to choose the tour operator who has an open conservation with you to determine what they could do for you so that you would experience the best journey rather than only tries to persuade you to buy their tour.
Payment Terms – How easy is it to pay for their services? A prestigious tour operator in Burma commonly requires a deposit along with advanced payment of the balance at the booking time (about 25-50%), and the rest will be paid one or two weeks before the actual departure day. In some cases, they are quite flexible to require the balance payment on arrival at the first destination.
5. Responsible Tourism
Ecotourism is a growing trend among travelers. It’s about more responsible travel, not only for the environment but also for the local community. This means using local hotels, guides and other services, and making sure to reduce waste and bad effects on the local habitat. In addition, look at the local organizations and community programs the tour operator has supported to assess whether they are really a responsible business which tends to offer more interactive and better tours that also give you a good degree of autonomy.
Making a right choose of Myanmar tour operator is certainly an important factor to bring about the success of your Myanmar travel. We expect that you will take advantage of these tips to find out the best.
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Myanmar has become one of the hottest travel destinations in Asia for recent years. There’re many reasons for that such as the development of tourism infrastructure and the more open policy for international travelers. Particularly, the integration of tourist eVisa since 2014 has facilitated the procedure for entering Burma. To provide you with a comprehensive overview of what should not be missed when you tour Burma, here are the 10 most famous Myanmar tourist attractions.
10. Pindaya Caves
Pindaya Caves, which is situated on the outskirt of Pindaya town in Shan State, Eastern Myanmar, are a Buddhist sacred pilgrimage site. There are hundreds of Buddhist statues and statuettes sheltering inside the deep and dark cave; the oldest dates back to 1773. Rumor has it that if you follow them until the other end of Pindaya Caves, you will be led to the Burmese former capital of Bagan which hundreds of kilometers away to the west.
9. The cake Pagodas
Imagine being teleported to the middle of the Kakku pagodas, you will surely be amazed by the mazes of surrounding stupas. There seems to be a countless number of well-preserved stupas, most of which are almost 500 years old, in such a very small area. In Kakku, you will feel like as if you were thrown back into the past.
8. Shwenandaw Monastery
This is one of the most characteristic Myanmar tourist attractions in terms of Burmese traditional architecture. The Shwenandaw Monastery was originally the royal apartment of King Mindon Min who died in 1878. Two years after his death, the fine teak structure was dismantled by his own son, King Thibaw Min as he believed that his father’s ghost still lived there. However, it was reconstructed 5 years later to become a monastery. Shwenandaw Monastery is an ideal place for travelers who are interested in Burmese royal history.
7. Mount Popa
Mount Popa belongs to the top of hard-to-conquer tourist attractions in Burma. Indeed, it takes you 777 steps with your bare foot to reach the peak of a 1.500-meter-tall mountain, where there is a stunning gold stupa. The stupa is so standout that it can be seen even if you are on a Irrawaddy river cruise, which is 60 km away. Standing on the peak, you will be able to enjoy the spectacular view of the surroundings, which can be a highlight of your Myanmar travel.
6. Kuthodaw Pagoda
Built at the foot of the Mandalay Hill by King Mindon Min, the pagoda is well known for housing the biggest book in the world, which is a collection of 729 stone-inscription stupas. There is also an enormous gilded stupa, which is 57 meters in height, modeled after Shwezigon Pagoda near Bagan.
5. Mrauk U
The city is the second most important archeological sites in Burma. In spite of being nicknamed “Little Bagan”, Mrauk U is unique in its own way. First, the walls of structures in Mrauk U were made of thick stone to cope with the fierce winds while the stupas in Bagan were built by brick. Second, the relics in Mrauk U are located in the middle of an inhabited site. Mrauk U is less-visited than its sister Bagan, but it’s still one of the most famous Myanmar tourist attractions, which is particularly suitable for one who wishes to get off the beaten path in Myanmar.
4. Kyaiktiyo Pagoda
Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, as known as the Golden Rock Pagoda, is always included in the list of top tourist attractions in Myanmar, and regarded as one of the most bizarre world’s religious structures. This “gravity defying” gilded rock is also one of the most sacred sites of pilgrimage in the Golden Temple Country. If you are a Buddhist follower, a visit to Kyaiktiyo Pagoda will be certainly a great privilege. And just like Mount Popa, the view up here is extremely breathtaking.
3. Inle Lake
It’s only Inle Lake which is not a religious site in the top 10 Myanmar tourist attractions. Inle Lake is a great place to find tranquility and relaxation when you tour Burma. Besides the stunning natural landscapes, there are lots of interesting activities here, such as taking a boat ride, kayaking whilst gazing at the one-leg rowing fishermen, visiting a local market at dawn, joining a cooking class at a local house or exploring the villages of ethnic minorities living around the lake.
2. Shwedagon Pagoda
No trip to Myanmar is complete without a visit to Shwedagon Pagoda, the grandest pagoda in the country. The fabulous 100-meter tall gilded stupa is so massive that it’s visible from almost every corner of Yangon, even at night. The best time to visit Shwedagon is at dawn or sunset to avoid tour groups and enjoy the surrounding view at its best during your Burma tours.
1. Plain of the Old Bagan
It’s easy to understand why this incredible archeological site sits at the top of 10 tourist attractions in Burma. There used to be over 10,000 temples, pagodas, and monasteries dotting a plain area, which was just a little bit larger than Manhattan along the Irrawaddy River when Bagan was the capital of Pagan Kingdom from the 9th to 13th century. After hundreds of year, more than 2,200 remain today. You can choose among a variety of ways to get around and discover Bagan, from walking, biking, motorbikes, tuk-tuks to a bumpy ride of traditional horse cart on the dusty and bumpy paths. For a luxury tour, a hot air balloon ride over Bagan may be a wonderful choice.
Myanmar has an immensely powerful attraction for travelers from all walks of life in the world. If you tour the Golden Temple Country, do not miss these Myanmar tourist attractions.
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The ancient city Bagan, one of four Burmese tourist highlights (besides Mandalay, Yangon and Inle Lake), is famous for housing more than 2,200 religious sites. However, fewer people know that it’s the center of lacquerware manufacturing in central Myanmar, so you can buy high-quality lacquerware at reasonable prices in your Bagan Myanmar tour. In additions, a wide selection of arts and crafts and souvenirs are available in many stores, which are listed below.
U Ba Nyein Lacquerware Workshop
The Workshop has a large showroom to display the best goods they have to offer. You can find here everything, from plates to cups, ashtrays to vases, jewelry boxes and furniture (lacquer tables and chairs).
Address: No. 52, Khaya Rd, Bagan, Myanmar
Phone Number: 061-65056
1517 Group Handicraft Shop
Located at Wet Kyi Inn village in Old Bagan, 1517 Group Handicraft Shop sells lacquerware, woodcarvings, sandalwood and Glass mosaic. If you want to watch the complicated processes making both lacquerware and wood carvings with your own eyes in your Bagan Myanmar tour, the shop will be an ideal destination.
The shop is situated in Kyansitthar ward, New Bagan. The artworks, for both sale and exhibition, are displayed in its elegant structures. Beautiful items are sold at reasonable price. Plus, its peaceful garden is attractive to visitors. You will be also invited to watch the all-stage process of lacquer making in your Myanmar travel.
Address: 9 Jasmin Rd., 1 block south of Thiri Marlar St., Bagan, Myanmar
Phone Number: 061-65133
Lessons Kan Wood Carving Workshop
Situated on Thiripyitsayar (4) Road in Nyaung U, the Workshop will be the must-visit place in your travel and tour Myanmar if you spend a great love on wood carvings for souvenirs or decoration. Besides shopping, you can also observe wood carving process here.
Shweleik Min Lacquerware Workshop
Shweleik Min souvenir shop is situated on Bagan-Nyaung U Airport road in New Bagn and near Tamanay pagoda, selling a variety of quality lacquer products. You will be able to have a chance to watch the demonstration of making lacquerware.
Shwe War Thein Handicrafts Shop
Do not miss the shop in your Bagan Myanmar tour as it is considered as one of the best souvenir shops in the region. It offers the truly exquisite items, including puppets (new and antique), chess sets, wood carvings, lacquerware, bronze pieces and gemstones. The staff members are very passionate about the products they sell; however, you will never feel pressure to buy.
Address: East of Tharabar Gate, Taung Be Village, Old Bagan.
Phone Number: 061-67032
If you want to better understand the daily life of the locals and experience wonderful chaos in Burma tours, New Bagan market and Ma Ni Si Thu market in Nyaung Oo are worth visiting in your Bagan Myanmar tour. Here you can find everything: local produce, cultural items, vegetables, fresh fruits, meat and fish, as well as fabrics, pottery, crafts, rattan products, food, and flowers. The market’s full of colors and activities. It’s really interesting just to walk through and check out people and their produce and wares, taste delicious local specialties at your leisure. In the morning is the best time to visit these local markets. Note that both markets do not open on new moon day, two half-moon days and full moon days.
Ever Stand Lacquerware Workshop
The Workshop is another good store to visit in your Bagan Myanmar tour when it comes to lacquerware. There is a wide range of impressive items and the prices are very affordable. You’ll probably be enticed to purchase at least one piece because of the special beauty of the products sold here, including vases and water jars.
Address: Wet Kyi Inn Village, Bagan, Myanmar
Phone Number: +95 61 60 214
U Tun & Daw Moe Lacquerware Workshop
Located near Chauk-Nyaung U junction in Kyansitthar ward of New Bagan, U Tun & Daw Moe Lacquerware Workshop is an important shopping destination for lacquerware. The large showroom displays a mix of modern and traditional lacquerware, and it is possible for you to see every step of the process of making lacquerware in an adjacent workshop.
In addition to shopping for souvenirs, you can go on an excursion to pottery and lacquerware workshops in and around Bagan. The exquisite presents will make you hardly forget your travel and tour Myanmar.
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