The lake itself is dotted with many interesting villages and sights worth visiting but there is even more to explore in the surrounding areas. Nyaung Shwe, a tourist hub for visiting both Inlay Lake and Inlay Lake Wetland Sanctuary, also serves as a marina for the numerous long boats ferrying visitors into the lake. Taunggyi, the capital of Shan State, is a cultural melting pot with vineyards nearby offering views of the picturesque Aythaya Valley. Ramblers will delight in Kalaw, a colonial hill station, also known as Myanmar’s trekking mecca. For cave lovers there is Pindaya (45km from Kalaw) and Hten San Cave (42km from Taunggyi).
Beyond Inya Lake lie bustling towns Taunggyi and Nyaung Shwe, and laidback hill station, Kalaw, from where many trek to immerse themselves in nature and local tribal communities. Rural idylls abound in Shan, as do sacred cave systems bedecked with Buddhist icons, for example Pindaya Cave and Hten San Cave.Worth visiting any time, Kakku is an enchanting place with thousands of closely-packed, tinkling stupas. It is also the impressive setting for Kakku Pagoda Festival in March when the Pa-O people, for whom Kakku is an important centre of worship, pay homage in their finest ethnic attire and by decorating their prize bullocks.
Kakku Pagodas are Asia’s largest and most spectacular wonders. The Pagoda complex has over 2,400 stupas with origins dating back many centuries. Kakku is about 33 miles (53km) from Taunggyi, Shan State.
Kalaw stands 1320 meter above sea level on the western edge of the Shan Plateau. It is 70km west of Taunggyi, about halfway along the Thazi-Taunggyi road. This was a popular hill station in the British days and it is still a peaceful and quiet place. It is also pleasantly cool and a good place for hiking amid gnarled pines, bamboo groves and rugged mountain scenes.
Nee Paya (Bamboo Buddha Image)
It lies in Pinmagon Monastery of Pinmagon Village, Kalaw Township, south of Shan State. It was estimated to be established in First Inn-wa Period over 500 years ago. It is eight feet four inches high. It is noted for its longevity, its prevention of fire, and its wish granting powers.
Or Yaw Village
Or Yaw is a quarter of Pindaya and the main business of the native people is agriculture. On the other hand they enjoy pottery and handicrafts making. They produce water pot, flower vases and toys for children.
Most of the Pa-O tribes live around southern Shan State and there are many Pa-O villages in Shan State. They live on agriculture and especially they grow cigar leaves, garlic, wheat and peas.
The Palaungs, who mainly live in the Kalaw area in Shan State, belong to the Mon-Khmer. It takes about two to four hours through the hills to the village of the Palaung tribe. At first a steep track leads down into a narrow valley where the Palaung cultivate tea, damsons and mangoes on the hillsides. The track across the valley floor and then climbs very steeply again to the Palaung village of Pinnabin, which sits on top of a hill.
Pawri That Pagoda
The pagoda was built by Shan Chief-Si Sanpa in 600 years ago. It is located on the way to Nyaung Shwe. The original stupa was built by Bamboo mats. Pagoda festival is held every year in full moon day of Tabaung (March).
Pindaya is a quiet town perched on the bank of the placid Pone Ta Lote Lake. The Pindaya cave, containing thousands of Buddha images, is one of the interesting destinations in Inlay region.
The ancient caves are about one mile southwest of the town, and can be reached by car. Except for the young and energetic, the best way is to go leisurely be horse-cart to the foot of the hills, reserving your energy for the 200 steps up the covered stairway leading to the cave entrance and for exploring the huge meandering maze made up of numerous caves.
Simple attractions are what Pindaya has become famous for including its rolling farmland, hills, and limestone caves filled with thousands of Buddha images (some dating back to the 11th century) and meditation chambers. The caves are a short distance from Pindaya town centre which is located on the placid picturesque lake of Pone Taloke. They are reachable by horse and cart, jeep or a pleasant 45-min walk. The colourful countryside can also be explored on foot or even by hot air balloon.
Pyadalin prehistoric cave is situated on the western slope of Shan State, Ywangan township, Pindaya district, Southern Shan State. This cave was firstly discovered in 1960. The rock paintings are seen in the cave.
Taunggyi is the caital of Shan State, Myanmar. As of Taunggyi is at an elevation of 4,712ft (1,436m) above sea level, it is hill station and gate way to Kakku Historical Zone.Perched atop a mountain, the Shan capital, Taunggyi is home to numerous ethnic tribes and some important sights. Shwe Phone Pwint Pagoda affords panoramic views of the city and across the plains to Inlay Lake. Sulamuni Pagoda, Taunggyi’s most prominent religious monument, a huge white stupa built in 1994 to commemorate the town’s centenary, is modelled on Ananda Pagoda in Bagan. The nearby golf course and vineyards provide scenic outings. In November throngs of visitors gather for the spectacular Taunggyi Fire Balloon Festival.