Over the years, Lake Inle, a freshwater lake in the Shan state of Myanmar, has become a popular tourist destination, particularly for those looking for an experiential holiday in the heart of the Burmese countryside. While most people use the nearby town of Nyaungshwe as their base, there’s nothing more authentic than a lakeside stay, and Villa Inle Boutique Resort is the perfect option!
Located on the eastern side of the lake amidst paddy fields overlooking the beautiful Shan mountains, Villa Inle is a standalone property with 27 wooden villas, each of which are built on stilts. The property is a mix of modern elegance and local culture, which is showcased in all its aspects, be it the overall architecture or the hospitality of the staff.
The Villa Inle experience begins even before you reach the property. As you approach the property by boat, the engine is turned off and a resort staff hops on, taking you to the drop off point by manually paddling the boat, using the unique one legged paddling technique of the Inle region.
After a welcome drink and quick check in by the gracious staff, you are escorted to your villa, which is beautifully decorated with Shan styled handicrafts like handmade paper and traditional wooden accessories. The villa is incredibly spacious – a large comfortable bed covered with a locally styled bedspread and a mosquito net (which can be turned down at night upon request), an indoor seating area with a bowl of regional fruits (replenished everyday), a luxurious bathroom with a tub and rain-shower, a complimentary mini bar with local spirits, and a massive balcony from where you can enjoy the view.
Some of the amenities, like the TV, air conditioner, locker and hair dryer, may be be expected in the rooms. But it’s the small, well thought out ones, like the insect repellent and Burmese parasols, that really leave you impressed!
While walking over to your villa, you are also given a short tour of the property such as the in house multi-cuisine restaurant, spa and swimming pool.
Restaurant: The resort’s restaurant is open through the day and has western and local Burmese dishes on offer. Alcohol is available and there are also happy hours every evening where drinks are served at discounted rates.
This restaurant is also where the daily buffet breakfast is served. The breakfast spread has a unique variety of items, both Burmese (noodle soup, fried rice, chicken curry) as well as Western (bread and cakes counter, eggs made to order) etc. In case you’re in the mood, the spread also includes some sparkling wine in addition to the usual fresh juices!
Spa: The in-house spa has some unique traditional massages on offer, and you can reach out to the reception staff to make bookings. Here is the list of services available at the spa along with their prices:
Swimming Pool: The 20 metre pool with sun-beds all around is the perfect place to relax on a sunny day, and the best part is that you can also see the lake and mountains whilst in the pool.
While the resort is an experience in itself, you cannot visit Inle and not explore the beautiful lake, which is a lifeline to the farmers and fishermen of the region, and home to various regional tribes. In order to do this, the resort can also arrange for sightseeing and other activities upon request such as:
|Boat Tour||Boat rental for the day, for a tour of the lake and local villages and pagoda sights. Separate cost for guide.||
USD 36 (for boat without Pagodas)|
USD 44 (for boat with Indein Pagodas)
USD 30 (additional for guide)
|Burmese Cooking Class||Learn how to prepare a 3 course traditional meal||USD 80 per person|
|Floating Dinner||Candlelight dinner for 2 on a floating platform in the middle of the lake||USD 350 for 2 persons|
|Canoe Service||Rental of small canoe for a trip around the lake (1 hour)||USD 10 for 2 persons|
|Morning Offering||Morning offering to monks at the resort itself||USD 20|
|Cycling||Cycle rental (Note: Motorbikes are not allowed in Inle. They are only allowed in the nearby town of Nyaungshwe)||
USD 5 (half day)|
USD 10 (full day)
|Sagar Lake Tour||Full day tour of Sagar Lake which lies to the south of Inle||USD 110 (for boat)|
How to plan your visit
Room Booking: You can make a booking at Villa Inle directly through their website or by writing to them at the following email IDs: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. They offer multi-day packages as well, which include accommodation, meals and guided tours. You can take a look at the resort packages here. You can also make bookings via third party sites such as Booking.com and Agoda, which often offer discounted prices.
Transportation: There are 2 ways to reach Villa Inle
- If you are taking a flight to Heho (the nearest Airport), then you can either hire a car and drive straight to Villa Inle (it will take about 1 hour). The resort offers airport transfers for approximately USD 55.
- If you are taking a bus to Nyaungshwe (the nearest town), then you can either:
- Hire a car and drive straight to Villa Inle: it will take about 30 minutes and cost approximately 15,000 – 20,000 kyat
- Hire a boat and reach the resort: it will take about 45 minutes and cost approximately 20,000 kyat
- If you like, you can also take a taxi from Heho to Nyaungshwe (costs approximately 20,000 kyat) and then take a boat there, but this would take longer.
- All prices in this article are as of August 2019
- Upon reaching Nyaungshwe, you will be stopped at a toll where you will need to pay 15,000 kyat for entrance into the Lake Inle area
- You will find many local drivers and boatmen outside the airport and near your bus stop who will be ready to take you to Villa Inle, if you do not wish to prebook. In case you’re unable to find a boatman, try heading towards the Strand Hotel – most boats in Nyaungshwe dock around there.
- The complimentary items in the mini bar are as follows: Myanmar Beer, Tiger Beer, Myanmar Dry Gin, Mandalay Rum, soft drinks and some chips/snacks.
So, when are you heading to Villa Inle?
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