As I mentioned in my Inle Lake Photo Diary, we stayed far away from Nyuang Shwe, the “big town” near Inle Lake. We drove through it quickly, but it looked pretty full of tourists.
Instead, we opted to stay further out on the lake- literally, on the lake, in a floating resort.
Shwe Inn Tha is nestled in the middle of the lake, about an hour’s boat ride away from Nyuang Shwe. To get to the hotel from the airport, we had to take a taxi to the pier and then a boat to the hotel. If you email or call the hotel, they’ll sort all this for you. Be warned: it costs about as much as a night at the hotel just to get there! But in my opinion, it was worth it for a few days of relaxing.
You’re quite far out on the lake, so don’t expect great wifi reception, or being able to walk to the nearest restaurant. The hotel has breakfast and dinner facilities, and although it was too cold to get in the pool, I believe you can order food and drinks at lunch, too. Most people used the hotel as a place to explore the rest of Inle, so it seemed. The pool did look nice, and had a great view (when it was sunny, which wasn’t much on our trip unfortunately). There was also a spa on the premises.
At dark, the boats stop going by so much, so you’re really relegated to the hotel. There’s a happy hour from 5-7pm, and you can go the open bar for a drink in the dark. Since the wifi was not great, we played cards and chatted. It all felt very retro and really showed us how attached to our phones we are, that we were a bit lost for what to do without them!
Try the rum sour or the white lady, they were both very good. (Only liquor and beer was covered on the happy hour, wine was not included.)
The restaurant is just adjacent to the bar, and had decent food that was not too expensive, considering it really is guests’ only option in the evening. The wine selection is fairly extensive, not so much if you’re comparing to restaurants in the west but definitely the case if you’re comparing to other places in Myanmar. Both nights we tried half bottles of local wine. We were’t a fan of the Mountain Estate wine but really liked Aythaya.
The food selection was pretty vast, with fish being the obvious big thing, being on a lake and all. There were also plenty of veggie options, however, which made me happy, and chicken for C.
Breakfast the next morning was in the same place. I didn’t snap any photos of the breakfast bar, but it was fairly extensive, with an egg bar, fruits, Asian options (rice, noodles and congee) and great coffee.
The rooms were definitely the highlight of the hotel (well, besides the view!), but it gets *VERY COLD* on the lake at night, and there is no heat in the rooms, and you’re separated from the water by wooden planks and about five feet of stilts, so pack accordingly.
The room featured an indoor and outdoor shower (I think most of the time people use the outdoor shower as the indoor made a huge mess without a curtain, but it was just too cold when we were there). There were very few amenities, and the bath and shower gel was communal (so refilled to a big pot).
We had room 103 and although we were initially disappointed that we didn’t get windows facing onto the lake, we ended up really liking our view of the other rooms and the mountains beyond, particularly at sunset.
Since we were there during a pretty bad cold snap, I think it put a slight damper to our trip, but we still really enjoyed the hotel and the lake. Just make sure you pack appropriately and have the right expectations about your mobility around the lake, which will be by open boat!