If you do a full-day boat tour of Inle Lake, then you’ll likely stop at the Shwe Inn Dein Pagoda as one of the stops. It’s a beautiful complex of ancient stupas that are at the verge of crumbling and washing away. Different sections of the area have different designs from different eras. Many of the ruins are covered in brush, although some have been restored back to their full glory. You’ll completely marvel at the hundreds of different temples. Each of them unique in their own way.
What makes this complex so interesting is the ancientness of it vs. the restored modernity right along side. In certain areas, there are new golden temples, but you’ll likely notice the older pagodas next door.
We spent our time wandering around and gazing upwards at all the different designs. It’s quite amazing how well they have survived since about the 14th century and beyond.
It’s all quite a sensory overload, so you’ll want to keep an eye out for the details. Looking at these photos I noticed all the different colors. Some gold, some silver, some red earthen clay. Sometimes you’ll see a leaning bell tower on the top of the stupa, which looks like it’ll fall over at any moment. I watched a video that I took and didn’t remember hearing all the bird sounds or how quiet it was back there.
But you’ll find the heat and hot breeze more tiring than anything, which adds to the difficulty of taking everything in. I took a quick nap along side some wild pagoda dogs in the center part of the temple.
Make sure you find the most ancient looking area too. This side has not received any attention for a long time. It’s like traveling through another era. Much less crowded than the Angkor Wat temples, but still quite intriguing. Here, the stupas are very interesting to look at.
Myanmar has a rainy season during the late summer, so be prepared to change travel destinations if you only have time to visit during August. It’s a lot of muddy trekking, which means less exploring by foot.
We were fortunate to be here during February, when the water level was still high enough to visit. But this time of the year was dry season and we could walk everywhere through the stupa maze, although it was hot and dusty all the time.
On the walkway up to the temples, there are many vendors selling gifts. We didn’t have any space and were still too early in the travels to be carrying around much, but I wish we still looked at the interesting items they had. In Bagan, we got a small handpainted bracelet that didn’t take too much space, but it was a perfect gift and held lots of memories of our time there.
The Shwe Inn Dein Pagoda is located at the southwest corner of the lake. You’ll have to take a 40 minute boat ride, or do the full-day boat tour of all the other temple locations around the area to get here.
We stayed at the Diamond Star Guesthouse and they arranged the boat tour for us.
More Myanmar Guides Here:
These are my other guides for Myanmar:
Explore the whole country: Your Travel Guide to Myanmar
Explore Bagan: Your Travel Guide to Bagan
Explore Inle Lake: Your Travel Guide to Inle Lake
Explore Loikaw: Your Travel Guide to Loikaw
Explore Hpa-an: Your Travel Guide to Hpa-an
Explore Yangon: Your Travel Guide to Yangon
Get Inspired for Myanmar: Top Five Reasons to Visit Myanmar