Nyaungshwe Travel Guide
Better known as the region where Inle Lake is located, Nyaungshwe is one of the busier destinations in Burma alongside places like Bagan and Mandalay. Home to some of the most Instagrammable scenes in the country, make sure it makes your travel itinerary when planning a trip here.
When you aren’t cruising around on Inle Lake, there are plenty of Buddhist temples and monasteries to explore when in the Nyaungshwe area. When visiting the region, make the Shwe Yaunghwe Kyaung Temple your first stop.
This spot is paradise for photographers, with its hand-hewn oval windows and spectacular wooden ceiling are just a few of its features which will have you snapping away. This place also hosts novice monks who are training up for their ordination – as a visitor, you’ll be able to watch them go about their daily routine, a level of access other temples don’t allow outsiders to have.
After you get your fill of Shwe Yaunghwe Kyaung temple, move along to Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery. Situated a couple kilometres north of Nyaungshwe town on the road to the airport, this attraction is an ideal way to kill time before your flight out of the region.
This stilt-raised red teak wooden structure dates back to the 19th century – within, you’ll find wooden Buddha images that are unique compared to the common variations seen in other temples, and there are numerous novice monks you may be able to talk to as you explore this gorgeous place.
During your time in the Inle Lake area, make an effort to drop by the Htat Eian Cave Temple. Easily reached from the main town via rental bike, this cavern is less touristed than other attractions around this popular body of water.
Within, you’ll see numerous stone carved Buddha statues, as well as the usual stalactites and stalagmites. Before setting foot in this cave, however, be sure to get your hands on a good headlamp, and don a pair of shoes with good traction, as the cavern is not well lit in places, and the rocks within can get damp, creating slip hazards throughout.
Finish off your cultural exploration of the Nyaungshwe area by paying a visit to the Ywa Thit Monastery. Constructed of teak, this 100-year-old sacred place is firmly located off the tourist track, making it a great place to go if you want to experience a Burmese Buddhist temple without having to fight off scores of your contemporaries.
Not only will you get to wander around this gorgeous building undisturbed, it is also home to a friendly monk that will engage you in conversation about your life and home country. On this basis alone, Ywa Thit is worth the visit.
Nobody leaves the Nyaungshwe area without having seen Inle Lake. A shallow body of water famous for its peaceful villages and photogenic fishing boats, it is a place you shouldn’t miss under any circumstances. Start in settlements where the majority of buildings are built out over the water on stilts, and you’ll find plenty of traditional hill tribes which subsist and earn a living off the fish and other products this lake provides.
While watching fishers do their thing out of the water is an unmissable sight, stop into the shops as well, as you’ll get to watch as cigars are rolled, silver jewellery is crafted, and silk is woven into impossibly soft fabrics.
If you are short on time, make sure that Maing Thauk Village makes your short list when touring Inle Lake in Nyaungshwe. Half over the lake, a magnificent floating garden is this spot’s biggest draw, while on land, there is a trail which leads up a hill to a viewpoint where you can get awesome elevated views of Inle Lake.
Get the story behind the culture of Nyaungshwe by checking out the Nyaung Shwe Cultural Museum. Situated in an old but spectacular building, the displays may be a little threadbare, but what is there will teach you a good deal about the people who have inhabited this region for countless generations.
A former palace of a prince of the Shan until he became the first president of Burma in 1948, the grandeur of this place will impress even if the exhibits don’t.
Did you know grapes are harvested and made into wine in Nyaungshwe? While you are technically in the tropics, the cool temperatures present in the highlands have allowed Red Mountain Estate Vineyards & Winery to come into being.
A quick side trip from town by bike, you’ll get to sample both white and red wines of varying quality, as well as cheese plates and other appetizers. It gets busy at sunset, but the views are worth it.