Inle Lake and Shan State

Inle lake balloon flight, Grand Lotus ToursBalloon Flight Over Inle Lake

Your journey commences with an early morning flight over Inle Lake, home to the Inthar people. The pilots carefully use their knowledge of the winds to steer the balloon over the floating villages and water gardens. Breakfast is taken either on your special retrieve boat in the middle of the lake or next to one of the beautiful Shan villages wherever we land. To fly over the lake in a balloon, has to be one of the most beautiful ways to experience one of Myanmar’s most scenic and cultural attractions.

 

 

 

Lunch at a Local Family House on Inle Lake

At lunch time, reach a local family’s home for a unique experience on the lake. The Intha have an unbelievable way of life: they live in houses on stilts and grow vegetables on incredible floating gardens in the middle of the lake. You will discover all the culinary techniques of the Intha and the traditional ingredients. Enjoy a delightful meal and an unforgettable moment with your hosts.

 

Private lunch on a boat at Inle Lake, Grand Lotus ToursPrivate Exotic Boat Lunch on Inle Lake

Enjoy a delicious lunch in a private setting in the middle of Inle Lake. An exotic boat awaits you with some delicious dishes on board. This moment, with the special atmosphere of the lake surrounding you, will for sure be an unforgettable experience.

 

 

 

 

 

Picnic in Bamboo Forest, Grand Lotus ToursPicnic in a Bamboo forest

Enjoy a delicious picnic in a private setting in the middle of a bamboo forest in Inle Lake. Sit comfortably under the shade, and enjoy this unique relaxing moment. The Lake itself and the atmosphere of the forest is an invitation to be in perfect harmony with the nature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Mountain Winery, Nyaung Shwe, Grand Lotus ToursWine Tasting at Red Mountain Estate

Enjoy some snacks and a wine tasting at the Red Mountain Estate Vineyard and Winery. Since its founding in 2002, French winemaker, Francois Raynal, has imported over 400,000 vines from Spain and France along with the best European equipment and is producing exciting, young wines from Myanmar. His wines are the first ever made in the country.

Note: Unfortunately, we must advise that this activity is no longer exceptional as it has become a cheap venue overcrowded with backpackers who come to sample cheap wine and tasteless food served by uninterested staff. The view remains great but that’s about all the positive we can find and therefore we suggest a pass.

 

 

Thalae U, agriculture discovery, Inle Lake, Grand Lotus ToursThalae U: Agriculture Discovery

Take the chance to discover the traditional agricultural methods of the Inle Lake area. You will walk through Thalae U, a typical lakeshore village, to enjoy the atmosphere of the surroundings and discover how the locals live there. The soil is very fertile and the residents grow an abundance of vegetables throughout the year. During the walk, you will have scenic views on the lake and the Shan hills.

 

 

 

 

Private Dinner in a wine cellar, Inle Lake, Grand Lotus ToursDinner at the wine Cellar at IPR

Your dinner will be served in a traditional wine cellar, surrounded by possibly the largest wine collection in Myanmar. Delicious food in a rich and exclusive setting, accompanied by a good wine of your choice.

 

 

 

 

Canoe Ride

Take a relaxing canoe ride through a floating village on the lake. You will glide by typical Intha houses, discovering the village life on the water. See the unique agricultural method, the village school and even the post office; all are built on stilts. The ride is an activity for a good cause. The canoe owners and the rowers are all local ladies. Ultimately, the aim of this project is to empower the Intha ladies living on the lake. While most of them work at the village cheroot factory, the canoe rides provide another source of income for them.

 

 

 

 

Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp. Grand Lotus ToursVisit the Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp in Kalaw

Enjoy a unique visit to the Green Hill Valley Elephant Project that is focused on protecting the nature, elephants and traditions of local people living in the village of Magwe, near Kalaw. The project aims to create a natural environment for Burmese elephants by reforestation while helping to support education and micro finance for the local population. You will be welcomed in the village and then taken on a 15-minute walk up the hill and to the elephant camp. Enjoy a cup of tea and a short talk on the project and work being done here by the staff. Walk a short distance to see where elephants are bathed by the Mahouts (elephant handlers). You can participate in feeding and washing the elephants, as well as learn some of the commands for driving and instructing them. After the picnic lunch, you are invited to help plant 3-5 trees, and participate in the forest recovery project. Later enjoy refreshments before walking back to the village.

 

 

Day trek around Kalaw, Grand Lotus ToursDay Trek Around Kalaw

Head to Myinka village, home to the Danu and Taung Yoe people. Meet the friendly villagers and tour their plots of seasonal vegetables and fruits—cabbage, ginger, oranges, tea, gourds, chillies and wheat. Then begin your walk through the countryside to Painnebin village (about two hours away). En route, you’ll pass through fields of oranges, strawberries, tea and pears. In Painnebin, say hello to the Palaung villagers who still live very traditional lives in this scenic outpost. Then keep walking for another hour and a half to reach Yay Yar Village where your car and driver await to transfer you back to Kalaw. This evening you’ll be sure to visit the wonderful local market.

 

Pindaya caves excursion, Grand Lotus ToursPindaya Caves – Day trip from Inle Lake

Pindaya Caves are located in the Shan State about a three hour drive from Inle Lake, in the town of Pindaya. This small town does not have much to offer besides the caves and a lake, but a day trip from Inle is well worth the time. At the entrance to the cave there is the Shwe U min Paya (Golden Cave), a 50 foot all pagoda to mark the importance of the cave. As you enter the nearly 500 foot long cave you will notice that it is filled with thousands of Buddha images, and it is said that there are over 8,000 images of Buddha within the cave dating from the mid 1700’s to present day. The images are made of various mediums such as alabaster, teak, marble, brick, lacquer, and cement. As you explore the cave you may have to do a bit of crawling to reach some of the side chambers where you may come across a monk or two meditating. It is a real treat to visit the large stalagmites inside the cave, and they can be struck with a wooden hammer to produce an interesting gong sound. Once you have wandered the caves you will realize why these caves are very important to the Buddhist religion.