Visit and explore the 300 year old Pindaya caves containing over 8,000 Buddha images. Take short treks to the surrounding Danu, Pa-O, Palaung and Taung-Yo villages; explore the myriad offerings at local markets on market days.
City Highlights of Inle Lake
Enjoy boat and canoe rides on the Inle Lake. Marvel at the floating gardens, fishing villages and daily activities…all on water. Visit the imposing PhaungDaw U Pagoda with its 5 gold covered Buddha statues. Enjoy interesting excursions to colorful traditional markets, villages and work-shops in the surrounding areas.
Half Day Trip to Indein Village
Set out on a half day trip to Indein..one of the small villages in the west of Ywama Village of Inle Lake area on its western bank..entered via a narrow, foliage-mantled winding creek where the jungle grows increasingly dense. Visit a cluster of incredibly atmospheric-ruined pagodas overlooking Inle Lake..namely Nyaung Ohak, housing crumbling stupas with ornate stucco carvings, and Shwe Inn Thein Pagoda, a complex of 1054 weather-worn pagodas. See the Buddha image enshrined in a whitewashed stupa on a hill summit. These temples resemble the Khmer style, and date back to 17th and 18th century Shan period. On either side of the creek are paddy fields..see farmers plough and harrow with water buffaloes.
Cycling Around Inle Lake
An ASEAN heritage site, a prospective World heritage site and wildlife sanctuary, the magical, beautiful, azure Inle Lake lies ringed by the mist-shrouded Shan Hills..seemingly changing hues with every position of the sun. Enjoy a Half/Full Day bicycle exploraton around the iconic Inle Lake with several sights clustered around the lake edges..pass hilly mountains, vegetable farms, paddy fields, canals; see hot springs, colourful tribal markets and stilted houses. The Intha..who migrated here from southern Myanmar, built entire stilt villages on the lake and amazing ‘floating’ gardens to grow their crops..marvel at Intha fishermen who row flat-ended canoes with one leg while catching fish in conical baskets with their bare hands.
Day Excursion to Kakku Pagoda Complex
Kakku Pagoda Complex (or Kekku), lies 40kms south of a religious center of Pa-O people..Taunggyi, spanning 1sq km and containing over 2,500 16th century stupas representing the Buddha’s footprint. This marvelous cluster of ancient monuments lie at a high altitude near Inle Lake, each of great historical importance. Until quite recently, these exquisite monuments were unknown to the outside world and to most of Myanmar..now they can be visited. Marvel at the impressive sight of these thousands of stupas, tightly packed together and with many decorated in legendary filigree floral designs of figures of celestial beings or bird-men. You may also come across pilgrims from different mountain tribes, particularly the Pa-O with their colourful headscarves.
Day Trip to Nyaung Shwe-Pindaya Caves
Drive about 3hrs from Nyaung Shwe to Pindaya Caves in the pretty village of Pindaya, set around a lake in the scenic Shan countryside. En route pass Aung Pan City..see few villages..observe a traditional umbrella making workshop. Reach Pindaya..famous for its intricate cave network housing an extensive selection of Buddha images..estimated at 8,000. Explore these over 300yr-old limestone caves, 3,880ft above sea level on the poetic Botoloke Lake. See assorted Buddha images..mostly gold, in various styles and sizes..many seated peacefully. Beneath each statue are Burmese inscriptions giving the name/accomplished day of the statue. Only the southernmost cave of the 3-cave system is open to tourists. See the Buddhist Shwe U Min Pagoda or Golden Cave Pagoda, at the entrance of the southern cave. Notice a large bronze bell at the entrance, cast in 1842 and weighing 654kgs. Either walk up to the caves..half way up the limestone cliff, or take the elevator. Be sure to survey the spectacular views fro above. Return to Nyaung Shwe post lunch.
Trek from Inle Lake to Kalaw (2 Days)
Enjoy a full day or overnight trekking trip from Inle/Nyaung Shwe to the charming hill station Kalaw..on the edge of Shan Plateau (about 1350m height). Observe stunning undulating countryside between Kalaw and the picturesque Inle Lake..home to some of Asia’s most untouched minority ethnic villages – Taungthu, Palaung, Pa-O and Danu communities. Explore this unspoilt stretch while on a 1N/2D trekking trip..taking you to Ywarthit Village via aromatic pine trees, grazing livestock and tribal agricultural activities – tea planting, sesame crops, etc. Visit Taryaw Palaung Village and Pane-ne-pin Palaung village, passing through Orange, Lemon, Damson and Sebastian Leaf (used in cheroot making) plantations; see the tea leaf making process. Visit a monastery, primary school and a Palaung traditional long house where dozens of families live together. On return, see the bamboo Buddha Image. The journey back from Kalaw to Inle is far more interesting and an easier trek.
Cycling to Red Mountain Estate & Vineyards
Embark on a bicycle expedition to the red Mountain Vineyard..the Estate is located in Myanmar’s southern Shan State on the side of the iconic Inle Lake. Cycle through villages to the Red Mountain Estate, where over 400,000 vines have been imported from France, Spain and Israel (mostly sauvignon blanc from Israel)..carefully selected after experimentation in this tropical environment. The Red Mountain Estate planted their first grape in 2003 and its first production of 1,000 wine bottles was in 2006, and has been increasing since then. The wine making equipment has been imported from Italy. Sample some of the local wines..Red Mountain’s pinot noir and sauvignon blanc are its favored varieties. Enjoy a meal in the in their restaurant with magnificent views of the vineyard and mountains.