Inle Lake is a freshwater lake located in the Nyaungshwe Township of Taunggyi District of Shan State, part of Shan Hills in Myanmar. It is the second largest lake in Myanmar with an estimated surface area of 44.9 square miles (116 km2), and one of the highest at an elevation of 2,900 feet (880 m).
The watershed area for the lake lies to a large extent to the north and west of the lake. The lake drains through the Nam Pilu or Balu Chaung on its southern end. There is a hot spring on its northwestern shore.
The surface of the lake seems to perpetually resemble a vast silver sheet, one interspersed with stilt-house villages, island-bound Buddhist temples and floating gardens. The area around the lake has also been protected as the Inle Wetland Bird Sanctuary, a government-recognised bird sanctuary, since 1985 and you’ll see herons, warblers, cormorants, wild ducks and egrets.
Different ethnic nationals of the area, with an estimated population of some 150,000, live on floating islands of vegetation.
Inle Lake, natural and unpolluted, is famous for its scenic beauty and the unique leg-rowing of the Inthas, the native lake dwellers, who are unique for their leg rowing.
Moreover, floating villages, colorful daily floating market and Inle Spa are places worthy of visit. The festival of Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda in Inle Lake held during October is full of pageantry and colorful splendor.
Inle lake area is also famous for its weaving industry. The Shan-bags, which many tourists like to buy not only as souvenir, but used as a tote-bag, are produced in large quantities there. Silk-weaving is another important industry. Unique fabric from the lotus plant fibers is produced only at Inle Lake.