Just a short plane ride away from Yangon are the cool green highlands of Shan State, yet seemingly worlds apart from the rest of Myanmar, lies Inle Lake in an area of outstanding natural beauty. The lake itself sits at a pleasant 1300 metres above sea level and is famous for its leg rowers, floating markets and prolific birdlife. In this unique wetland environment, whole villages sit on floating islands on the lake. Colourful hill tribes inhabit fertile valleys and forested mountaintops and their hand-woven silks are a specialty of the region. The native Intha people who inhabit the lake regions send their village leg rowers to compete each year during the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival in September/October. Nyaung Shwe is the starting point of the trip into the Inle Lake.

Places of interest

The airport for southern Shan State, Taunggyi and Inle Lake are situated in Heho. Heho also has a very colourful 5 day market in which the cattle sale is especially interesting. Visitors can easily visit in the morning when arriving at the airport on market days.
Kalaw is a beautiful hill station surrounded by pine trees and forests. These are several interesting hill tribe villages in the area including the Palaung and Pa-O tribes. These people are known for their very colourful costumes and friendly faces.

The capital of Shan State, Taunggyi is a pine forrested hill station set at about 1500 metres. The weather is cool all year round and during the winter months can be quite cold at night. Taunggyi can be easily reached by road from Inle Lake. The local market is well known throughout Myanmar and the road south will lead you to the unique location of Kakku. The Fire Ballon Festival which is held annually during the full moon of Tazaungmon in November is not to be missed.