After an early breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport for a flight to Heho. From Heho, a scenic one-hour drive leads to Nyaung Shwe, the gateway village to Inle Lake. Along the way, stop at the wooden Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery which features beautiful carvings and a collection of Buddha images.
Start with a visit to the Nyaung Shwe Morning Market where colorfully dressed locals gather every morning to buy and sell fresh produce from the lake and its surroundings.
Continue by local trishaw down to the bustling canal which is a hive of activity in the morning as boats from the lake come in to unload tomatoes and other vegetables for distribution to markets around the country. Take some time to absorb the unique vibe of this bustling cultural atmosphere.
Afterwards, hop back on the trishaw and wind through quiet streets. Make a stop at the ‘Tomato House’, a warehouse-like structure where tomatoes are sorted and priced for sale. Then continue past some of the many monasteries and nunneries in the town, stopping for photos along the way.
After fueling up, begin a tour of the area by mountain bike. First, cycle to the west of the lake toward the village of Khaung Daing. From there, cross over the town’s main canal to a verdant rice paddy. Then head south for around 8 kilometers to Khaung Daing. Take time to explore this village, famous for its production of soya bean products. Then catch a local ferry boat across the lake to Maing Thauk Village. The relaxing boat trip takes around 20 minutes and is not only a perfect break from biking, but also affords some amazing photo opportunities.
From here, turn north up the lake's eastern shores for around 10 kilometers to Red Mountain Estate. The ride is gorgeous, passing many local farms and villages along the quiet roads. Take a break to visit Red Mountain Winery, a collaboration between the Pa-Oh people and a French wine expert.
Then descend to Nyaung Shwe, arriving in the late afternoon.