Inle Lake is famous for FLOATING ISLANDS, (INNPAW KHONE, POUK PAR, YWA MA, KHAR TAW ), PHAUNG DAW OO PAGODA, NGA PHE CHAUNG MONASTERY, known as jumping cat monastery and the unique LEG-ROWERS, their traditional fishing style; Lotus and silk weaving, boat making, cheroot making and silverwork making. PHAUNG DAW OO PAGODA, on the western end of the lake, is a famous pilgrimage site visited by people from throughout Myanmar. The pagoda holds a festival every year around September and October, which draws many local and foreign visitors. There are nearly 20 villages around the lake, some of which are farming communities while others are known for papermaking, weaving, silver making, pottery making and monks’ robes woven from lotus fibers. Also Inle Lake’s a fifth day market, which rotates from village to village on a five-day cycle, provides the opportunity to observe various tribes of Shan.
Pindaya is a small, charming town, centered round a lake, called Nattamiekan or Angels Lake. Pindaya is situated at 1164 m above sea level and is about 40 km from Kalaw and in the west of the Shan State and can be reached only by car from Heho airport or other cities. Pindaya has beautiful landscape and is famous for its spectacular limestone caves as well as temples, DANU VILLAGE and pagodas which have become popular tourist destinations in recent years. It is also a good place to begin short treks to surrounding Danu , Pa-O, Palaung and taung-yo villages.
The main sight is PINDAYA CAVE (SHWE OO MIN CAVE),the limestone cave contains a maze of chambers with 6,226 Buddha statues. Some of the images are tiny, others are huge, and are made of white marble, bronze or plaster, coated with gold leaf. Some of the smaller caves within the complex serve as meditation chambers. The other interesting places are BAMBOO HAT MAKING WORKSHOP, OR YAW VILLAGE TO ENJOY POTTERY AND HANDICRAFTS MAKING, picturesque PONE TA LOTE LAKE and traditional cottage industry of UMBRELLA MAKING.
Kakku Pagoda Complex features a cluster of fantastic ancient monuments. There are over 2000 stupas built in 16 centuries. They are packed closely together in ranks and covering an area perhaps a square kilometer. The main stupa is around 40 meters high and the mass of the spire surrounding it uniformly. But each one is an individual masterpiece. Visitors can get to see the natural vegetation and cultivation along the roads which leads to the Pagoda Complex. They are ample scope of watching the lifestyle of Pa-O tribal people and have a sneak peek at their culture.
Kakku pagoda festival is usually held during March, the fullmoon day of Tabaung. Kekku has been the center of the worship for the Pa-O people. During the festival, the Pa-O people come to pay homage to the pagoda in their best costumes. Some from near villages come to the festival with decorated bullocks cart.
Also in the centre of town is the AUNG CHANG THA STUPA, which glitters with silver and gold glass mosaics. A good example of Myanmar’s new drive for eco tourism is the Green Hill Valley elephant camp (about 40 mins drive by car from Kalaw). The camp was founded in 2011 to protect the local environment and care for ageing and poorly elephants, whilst allowing visitors to see them in their natural habitat. Short rides on the elephants are permitted, but all activities are conducted primarily with the animals’ welfare in mind.
Taunggyi, the capital of Shan state, is situated 1436 meters above sea-level in the southern Shan state. It can be reached by bus from other cities. The nearest airport is situated in Heho (about 1 hour drive by car from Taunggyi). Taunggyi has a humid subtropical climate and an ideal hill resort for holiday-makers. There are pines, cherry and eucalyptus trees growing all over the town and the whole area is green and pleasant.
The busiest part of Taunggyi is the MYOMA MARKET, a place where people from the environs used to flock only once every five days to buy and sell their regional products. Now it has become a daily market and is constantly crowded with people. The other interesting places are THE SU TAUNG PYI PAGODA(Wish-Granting Pagoda), commands a panoramic view of the town and country-side; SHAN STATE CULTURAL MUSEUM, HAWNANS(palatial residences) where the Shan Sawbwas (Shan Chieftains) used to live can also be observed. In Taunggyi, the people celebrate the TAZAUNGDINE FESTIVAL WITH KAHTEIN (offering of monk robes) as well as the releasing up fire-balloons in various shapes into the sky. It is the biggest festival in the country. Taunggyi’s Kahtein tradition is amazing and worthy of reverence.
Sagar is a ruined royal capital with ancient monasteries and pagodas at the southern end of Inle Lake. The scenic boat trip takes about 2.5 or 3 hours. It is worth visiting for bird watching. Major tourist attractions are sunken stupas of Sagar dated back from the 16th – 17th centuries that are partially underwater for a few months a year, THAYA GONE VILLAGE, SAEKHAUNG POTTERY VILLAGEand TAR KAUNG O.