How to get from Hsipaw to Inle Lake

Fishermen at Inle Lake, Myanmar

Visitors to Inle Lake stay in Nyaungshwe, a town right north of it. It has plenty of accommodation and food options, hospitals and even a bookstore. So that is your final destination if you want to visit Inle Lake for a few days.

There is a larger city called Taunggyi nearby that serves as a transportation hub. Tens of buses and minivans run between Taunggyi and Nyaungshwe.

An alternative to all transportation options listed below is, of course, hitchhiking all the way to the lake.

Direct bus or shared taxi from Hsipaw to Inle

As Hsipaw gets more and more tourists, bus companies in Myanmar will soon implement more buses, at the moment there are only a few options. Make sure to be at the bus station at least 30 minutes before departure time! Tickets cost between 15,000 and 16,000 kyats.

  • Shwe Loon Pyan (Golden Shuttle Bus). Departs at 16:00 from Hsipaw RC Gate, and arrives in Nyaung Shwe at 07:00 at Shwe Loon Pyan May Gate.
  • Taung Pyar Than bus. Departs at 4pm or 7pm (depending who you ask, so confirm with your guesthouse), arrives in Taunggyi (not Nyaung Shwe) in the morning.

A direct taxi from Hsipaw to Inle costs around 23,000 kyats and takes only 8-9 hours.

Streets of Nyaungshwe, Inle Lake, Myanmar
Streets of Nyaungshwe

Train and bus combination

There is a way to go from Hsipaw to Inle and still be able to see the Gokteik Viaduct from the train, which is a national landmark. To do this, take the 09:20 train from Hsipaw’s railway station towards Mandalay and exit at Nawnghkio (ticket is 750/1700 for ordinary/upper class). See this article for complete train schedule and fares. Nawnghkio is a junction town, where the north-south road that goes to Inle (road 43) and the Mandalay-Hsipaw/Lashio road (road 3) intersect. It is located after the Gokteik bridge coming from Hsipaw.

Once in Nawnghkio, finding public transportation to go south towards Inle without getting ripped off is no easy feat.

Going directly from Nawnghkio to Inle, you avoid going all the way to Mandalay, which is a big detour if you look at a roadmap.

Hsipaw station, Myanmar
Hsipaw station

Taxis and minivans from Nawnghkio to Inle Lake

If you mutter “inle lake taxi” to anyone on the main road of the city, you’ll quicky find a taxi ready to take you, but definitely no other travellers in town to share it with.

To get a minivan, you can either stay around the main road or where road 43 leaves the city and stop one. They are easy to recognize, as they are white and have a small banner with the destination on the front. The names are in Burmese, so make sure you can recognize the Burmese name for Taunggyi (တောင်ကြီးမြို့). No minivan goes straight from Nawnghkio to Nyaungshwe.

Alternatively, you can call a minivan from Golden Nawnghkio at +95(0)9450950446 (secondary numbers +95(0)9777681826 and +95(0)9961543446), which is a regional network of minivans.

Buses from Nawnghkio to Taunggyi

There are two travel agencies in town that deal with buses: Mayman (22.331319, 96.800799) and Shwe Mandalar (22.331131, 96.798386). Mayman offers many buses “between morning and lunch”, and then an evening bus at 8pm (but be there around 7pm just in case).

Shwe Mandalar seems not to be able to get you on the evening bus; they only offer morning buses, starting 8AM, for 15,000 kyats.

Eat and sleep in Nawnghkio

There are two options for overnight accommodation: either book a night with Shwe Mandalar, or head to a hotel a few buildings east from Mayman (22.331295, 96.800391).

Like other small towns, there are plenty of street cafes and food stands throughout the main streets. For a good lunch or dinner, I recommend a restaurant called Lucky (22.329029, 96.798632) with a widge range of rice, vegetables, pork and chicken dishes.

Nawnghkio also has a market where you can buy groceries.

Junction at Shwenyaung, Inle, Myanmar
Shwenyaung junction

4 Comments

    • If you don’t want to go all the way to Hsipaw and spend a night there, the easiest way to do this is to get off the Mandalay-Hsipaw train after passing the Gokteik Viaduct. That means you can get off at the stations called Nwangpeng or Kyaukme. From those stations, if you don’t want to go back to Mandalay on your way to Inle, I would (a) talk to a hotel in the town to get on the Hsipaw-Inle bus, or (b) ask for a bus/taxi/hitchhike to Nawnghkio, and then take a bus or hitchhike from there down south to Inle.

  1. Thank you, this is very useful.
    Can one take a bus/minibus/shared taxi in Nawngpeng as well, to go to Inle Lake?
    Do the minibuses in Nawnghkio start from there or come from Nawngpeng (and Kyaukme, etc.?
    My plan is to go from POL to Pindaya this way:
    – 7:00 taxi to Nawnghkio (or Nawngpeng), visiting the sights along the way
    – 10:33 – 11:58 train up to Nawngpeng (or down to Nawnghkio)
    – minibus (or bus) heading to Taunggyi (are they easy to find in Nawngpeng around 1 pm ? or is it better in Nawnghkio?)
    – get off at Lawksawk
    – taxi to Pindaya (is it easy to find a taxi in Lawksawk?)
    Is it feasible?

    • Short answer: only way to know is asking there in person.

      There are buses and minibuses that go between Nawnghkio and Lawsawk, and Lawsawk and Pindaya, but I don’t think there is any info online about those. You have to be there and ask around. 1pm is still good, but keep in mind that most transport options run in the morning around those cities, as far as I experienced. Regarding taxis, Lawsawk is not a small crossing, so if you ask around the busy areas, there’s definitely going to be cars willing to take you to Pindaya, since it’s quite close. If you want to make 200% sure that you follow the exact schedule, you can always rent a taxi through a travel agency for those days, but that’s expensive and you miss some of the fun.

      I did not get off in Nawngpeng. You might want to ask the staff at the last hotel you stay before going to POL.

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