One of the highlights while travelling in Myanmar is a visit to Inle Lake in Shan State. Inle Lake is more than 100 meters above sea level and has a pleasant cool climate. A day trip by motorboat on the lake will show you around villages built on stilts, floating gardens and a colourful market frequented by different tribe people living on or around the lake. Many boutique hotels are found on the shores of the lake and in the village of Nyaung Shwe. In the south of the lake the ruins of Indein are worth a visit. Indein really looks like a ``pagoda forest``. Not to be missed is a vineyard that produces excellent wine. Other possible activities are a trekking in the area possibly up to Kakku – an ancient Pa-O hill tribe religious site which also can be reached by train from Taunggyi, a canoe trip on the lake or a visit to Nyaung Shwe with the market and the former palace of the Shan prince.
There are several interesting places around Inle Lake that are worth visiting. The former British hill station Kalaw has a bit of a colonial atmosphere with the old villas, churches and schools. The town is inhabited by Burmese, Nepali and Indian as well as several hill tribes like the Padaung and the Pa O. Kalaw is the starting point for rewarding day treks or longer treks to Inle Lake (3 days) or a trip to Pindaya which is famous for the Pindaya caves that are filled with hundreds of Buddha statues.
Most interesting in Kalaw is certainly the elephant conservation camp recently set up with the aim to protect elephants and to educate the local population about reforestation – probably the highlight of your trip in Myanmar will be washing and feeding of the elephants here.
Daily flights from Heho to Tachileik give you the opportunity to visit Keng Tung (Kyaing Tong) which is a 2 hour drive from Tachileik airport. It is one of the most attractive towns in Shan state with a huge local market and plenty of possibilities to hike to hill tribe villages living around the town.