Nyaungshwe is the Inle Lake backpacker spot. It is authentic, cheaper than the other villages around the lake, easy to access with buses and to walk or cycle around. In
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Khaung Daing Nature Hot Spring
The day we arrived, we took the night bus and we were looking forward to chilling a little bit. The lovely BnB owner rented us bikes and we cycled our way to the hot spring for a bath.
The spring is almost 10km away from the village. Halfway there it started raining so much we couldn’t even hear each other anymore. When we finally got there, we were soaked and cold. Getting into the very warm water of the springs was such a great feeling!
For a day like this, it was just perfect however, the water is very warm, so this is not something we would recommend on a hot, sunny day. The facilities are nice and clean, we only wish there were a view (tall grass from a nearby field won’t allow it).
On the way out, climb up to the pagoda just behind the springs, there are a lot of steps, but the views are worth it.
Nyaungshwe Market / Mingala Market
The market is pretty big, but very well hidden in the middle of the town. We had spent three days walking in front of it without noticing it, and if it hadn’t been for a local who took us there, we would have missed it completely!
You will find everything on this market. Surprisingly, the weather conditions in Inle Lake (warm, but not too hot and not too cold), the huge supply of water, and their agriculture techniques (floating farms and irrigation) allow them to basically grow any fruits and vegetables.
You will find a huge section on fruits and vegetables, followed by the artisanal goods, and finally the fish and meat sections.
Our highlights in the market :
- the ladies selling artisanal Longyi (the skirts that both men and women wear in Myanmar). Each area of Myanmar has its own colors code and patterns, which makes it really interesting.
- The tofu stand. In Myanmar, tofu is actually made from chickpeas, not soya, and it is absolutely delicious. You can buy it as a snack, fried, to be eaten on the spot with some sauces and herbs, so tasty!
Myo Myo cooking class and Lin Htett Restaurant
Lin Htett is a small, local and familial restaurant on the main street of Nyaungshwe. You would barely notice it when you walk by, but this is where we had the best food on our whole trip in Myanmar.
The staff is lovely, the food is cheap but incredible. Our must-try: the tea leaf salad and the Shan noodle soup (we still dream about it).
She offers morning and afternoon classes, but we highly recommend the morning one, as she will take you buy all the ingredients at market before hand. She will basically take you for a food and cultural tour, before inviting you to her home to start cooking.
You can book with her by popping at the restaurant and ask (that’s what we did), but you can also ask your hotel or BnB, everyone seems to know her.
While looking for a “like a local” tour in Mandalay, I heard about Grasshopper adventures, and decided to check if they were offering anything around Inle Lake. I was afraid that by booking an organized tour, or by hiring a local boatman, we would end up seeing the most touristic places, missing out on the authenticity, lacking flexibility and freedom (especially on a place like a lake, where you clearly cannot go for a walk around). Finding a guide that would show us the “real” Inle lake was a challenge, but San (our guide at grasshopper) lived up to expectations.
He took us cycling around remote fields and villages. We saw incredible places, met many people on the way (we even stopped by a preschool to say hello to kids) tasted many delicacies (we even gave a try at making our own), and learned many things. The second part of the day was a boat ride to the floating village on Inle Lake, followed by kayaking around. It was such a great way to see the place, slower and peaceful.
I seriously don’t think our day could have been better, and that we could have lived more “off the beaten track”, or “like a local” experiences.
Walking on the wooden bridge at Maing Thouk Village
Maing Thouk Village is less than 11km away from Nyaungshwe, which is okay if you have a bicycle.
The wooden bridge links the land at
From the end of the bridge, you can take a boat if you wish to and check out the surroundings.
Combine this visit with the Maing Thauk Monastery, up the hill!
Innlay Hut Indian Food House
If you want to have a great time and eat some tasty Indian, this is the place!
We read a great feedback from that place, so we decided to give it a go, and we were not disappointed.
The restaurant is a wooden hut, which is basically a shrine to
The food is excellent, we even had to go back a few days later to taste it again.
If you like Indian food, try it, if you want something different, try it, and if you want to have a great time, try it!
Wine Tasting at Red Mountain Estate
It was on our to-do-list, but the weather didn’t agree and a 4 hours-long rain changed our plans and we never made it to the Red Mountain Estate.
I am a big fan of wines, and I was looking forward to trying local-made ones (vineyards are quite uncommon in southeast Asia).
From online reviews, people seemed to have been a bit disappointed with the wines themselves, however, everyone agrees that this is a great spot to admire the sunset. So, still on our to-do list!
Htat Eian Cave Temple
The cave is less than 4 km away from Nyaungshwe. It is a nice “out of the way” spot to visit.
The cave has several chambers, with buddhas statues. It is much bigger than you expect. Even if there are some lights, don’t forget to bring your own flashlight as well (especially if you’re adventurous) as some spots are pretty dark.
As this is a temple, the dress code
All on a map
Check out below a map with all our above recommendations, to make your life easier. You can save it and use it later on your Google maps.