Inle is a freshwater lake located in the mountains of Shan State in Myanmar (Burma). It is the second largest lake in Myanmar with an estimated surface area of 44.9 sq miles, and one of the
highest at an altitude of 2900 feet. During the dry season, the average water depth is 7 feet, with the deepest point being 12 feet, but during the rainy season this can increase by 5 feet.
The watershed area for the lake lies to a large extent to the north and west of the lake. The lake drains through the Nam Pilu or Balu Chaung on its southern end. There is a hot spring on its northwestern shore.
Although not a large lake, there is a number of endemic species. Over twenty species of snails and nine species of fish are found nowhere else in the world. Some of these, like the silver-blue scaleless Sawbwa barb (Sawbwa resplendens), the Crossbanded dwarf danio (Microrasbora erythromicron), and Inle danio (Inlecypris auropurpurea), are of minor commercial importance for the aquarium trade.
You can take a long hike into the hills flanking the eastern side of the lake. A backpeackers tale the next story: I had originally planned to take the shorter hike to the Koun Soun Taungbo monastery at the top, stop in a village or two and then come back down again. That plan didn't last long.
It was a hot morning with a blazing sun and minimal shade as much of the vegetation is brush and weeds. Part way up the mountain we stopped at the sacred Ta-Eh Gu cave where a monk was at his prayers. My guide led me deep into the cave to more chambers where monks will often go to meditate in the darkness. Fortunately for us and the monks the caves were vacant on this day.