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You might not get there, for the junta might not let you pass into the Shan mountains and to the high plateau wherein lies Inle Lake. In times of unrest, those places of unrestful people can be temporarily closed off to outsiders. But if the word in Yangon is that the generals are feeling secure, book a train to Yaung Shwe. The train is the best way to go. You can even hire a private car that sleeps 6. If you're staying more than a night or two, and you should, get a bungalow with a kitchen. Then, for a small fee, you can hire a superb cook who will come nightly and free you of the dull fare of local restaurants. On the placid lake ride the ...

You might not get there, for the junta might not let you pass into the Shan mountains and to the high plateau wherein lies Inle Lake. In times of unrest, those places of unrestful people can be temporarily closed off to outsiders. But if the word in Yangon is that the generals are feeling secure, book a train to Yaung Shwe. The train is the best way to go. You can even hire a private car that sleeps 6. If you're staying more than a night or two, and you should, get a bungalow with a kitchen. Then, for a small fee, you can hire a superb cook who will come nightly and free you of the dull fare of local restaurants. On the placid lake ride the leg boats: sleek, narrow craft rowed not by the arms, but by the right leg of the helmsman. Go to the island in the lake where lies the Phaung Daw U Pagoda. Press a piece of gold leaf onto a Buddha image there and gain merit in Heaven, at least in the eyes of the lake people. At the grand market in Yaung Shwe buy a longi (sarong) of hand woven Inle cotton. It wears like iron and lasts for years. And it may be years before you make it back again. It's far far away.

Richard Sterling
About the Expert

Richard Sterling is the author of Lonely Planet's World Food: Greece, Eyewitness Travel Guide Vietnam, and many other books.

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Richard Sterling for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Inle Lake is a shallow lake in the middle of Myanmar, southeast of Mandalay
  • Language: Burmese
  • Currency: Kyat
  • Research: Inle Lake | Inle Lake
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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    September-October