In the western state of Shan, Myanmar (formerly Burma) lies the majestic sanctuary of Inle Lake. The vast waterway is dotted with wooden stilt houses, floating markets, hydroponic gardens and Buddhist temples rising from the mist. Explore the lake in a longtail boat to see weaving workshops, floating villages and the Intha fishermen who propel their boats with a one-leg rowing technique. Here’s our pick of places to stay to soak in the lake’s charms.
Accessible only by boat, the bungalows at Shwe Inn Tha Floating Resort reflect the traditional architecture of the Shan people. Jutting over the western shores of the lake, the resort was built by local craftsmen. Floating overwater bungalows on stilts complement the tranquil natural surroundings of the lake. Admire the hand-woven lotus fabrics, antique lacquerware, traditional handicrafts and rich interiors of your lake-view suites. From your private balcony, you can hear the chanting of monks in nearby pagodas – an atmospheric soundtrack to your stay.
Eco-conscious travellers will appreciate the green design of Inle Resort & Spa. The eco-resort includes a variety of luxurious Lake Front Villas, Royal Villas overlooking the lily pond and charming garden cottages. From the locally-sourced food to the use of solar panels and organic gardening, the hotel strives to be earth-friendly in all its practices. You can get active in the modern gym or spacious swimming pool, or just sit in the hot tub or the spa’s sauna.
Inle Lake View Resort is a truly memorable property where serenity, natural beauty and privacy come together. This secluded retreat has the exclusive Lemongrass Spa, with three separate villas that specialise in traditional Burmese massages and one hot tub suite for personally tailored spa treatments. The sprawling infinity swimming pool is heated and overlooks the lush tropical jungle. The 40 Lakeside Villas, all with private balconies and excellent views of Inle Lake, show off handcrafted Burmese design touches.
Near the Inn Tain pagoda complex and its hundreds of stupas, Pristine Lotus Resort offers floating bungalows and lakeside villas that are gracefully laid out over manicured gardens. The bungalows offer unique bow-shaped balconies that resemble the front of a boat. Relax in the longtail-shaped bathtub that overlooks the canal or cool off in the swimming pool. Some villas also include daily in-house spa treatments, delivered privately in your suite. Admire waterfall views from the hot spring-fed tubs. End the day with a cultural show of traditional dancing and fire spinning.
As the name implies, Serenity Inle Resorts is perfectly placed for digital detoxes. Built on the banks of the lily-covered lake, the resort offers floating bungalows, garden villas and more modern hotel suites. Borrow one of the free bicycles to explore the surrounding villages. But set aside one day to spend at the resort, recharging at the swimming pool, gym or at the spa with a traditional Burmese massage.
At Myanmar Treasure Resort, floating bungalows are the signature feature – standing elegantly on stilts over the lake and linked by wooden walkways. Fusing contemporary style with Burmese influences, each villa displays artifacts alongside elegant teak-wood furnishings. The villas feature a built-in hot tub or an open-air shower with a small window that opens up to the lake. A visit to the spa, with treatments made from herbs traditionally used by the local Shan people, will reinvigorate you post-sightseeing.