Get a Traditional Burmese Tattoo at Inle Lake

Apart from the famous lake, Nyaungshwe has a lot more to offer. If you are like me who love to get a tattoo everywhere you visit, you can not miss the traditional tattoo here at Inle Lake. 

I'm sure you know the famous bamboo tattoo at Thailand. Myanmar offers another kind of authentic tattoo done by bronze needles. 

The tattoo shop located in the north of the town Nyaungshwe, not far from the market. You can ask our front desk for the exact location. If you have, you can easily find the location - "Inle Lake Traditional Tattoos". It's hardly a shop as it's located at the tattoo artist's house which is very similar to any other houses around. Pay attention to the small sign - "Inle Traditional Tattoo"

Once you walk in, the family will welcome you with Shan tea. They will lay the design books out for you before you ask. The design books are all hand-drawn and pass down generation to generation. Note that part of the tattoo (mostly related with Buddha) can only be done on the upper body. If you want a tattoo on your legs/feet, you can communicate with the tattoo artist's daughter. She will show you which ones can be done on the lower body. 

Once you choose your traditional Burmese tattoo design the tattoo artist will bring out the tools - needles, ink, etc. The needle will be sterilized by boiling water. The tattoo artist works really fast. It will be done before you realize. After the tattoo, you will be given a small bottle of coconut oil. Different with other tattoos, you shouldn't put any cream on it but coconut oil. You can go swim or be in the sun after.

Q&A you might have:

1. How much does it cost?

My one-line tattoo costs 20k kyats (4mins). And my friends' tattoos cost 40k kyats (7mins) and 50k kyats (12mins). Depends on the size you want and the time will be spent. It's not the cheapest tattoo you can get in Myanmar but it's more meaningful. 

2. Is it painful?

Yes. It's definitely one of the most painful ways to get a tattoo. But it's bearable. And it's way faster than a machine tattoo and bamboo tattoo.

3. Is it clean?

Yes and no. No to western standard. The artist is not wearing gloves and you will get the tattoo at the floor in the living room.

But it's safe. The needle will be sterilized by boiling water. 

If you have more question, you can either drop us a message or email (SINGINGTRAVEL@GMAIL.COM). Or ask our front desk if you stay with us -

Design and needles

Design and needles



Work in Process

Work in Process

Choose a design

Choose a design

Work in progress

Work in progress

Appreciate the art

Appreciate the art

Sunrise Boat Trip on Inle Lake

You can't leave Inle Lake without been on a boat tour of the Lake. 

Here at Song of Travel Hostel we organize sunrise and sunset boat trip. We highly recommend the stunning sunrise boat trip.

The trip start at 5:00am at our lobby. So make sure you be here before that. You don't really have to bring anything, but a scarf or longyi is recommended as we do visit a pagoda on the way.

A tuk-tuk will pick you up at 5:00am from our hostel to go to the port. From the port you will go through a long canal to reach the lake at around 5:30am. It's okay if you see the sunlight before reaching the lake. The sun still have to climb up the mountain. You will see the sun at about 6:00am. The "fish men" at the opening of the lake is one of the first things you see. Note that they are actually "models". They wear traditional clothes and pose for you to take pics. You are expected to tip them after (500 kyats - 1000 kyats per person is reasonable price). If you don't want to pay please don't take any pictures). You can still see real fish men during the whole trip but most time they are preparing so are probably not photo friendly. 

Our boats will stop in the middle of the lake for you to have breakfast and watch the sunrise. It can get a little chilly on the lake at this time. We will provide you with blanket. After breakfast, we continue the journey to the five day market. We will pass by floating gardens, tomato farms, etc. You will spend about 40mins at the market. Remember to bargain if you do find something you like to buy. I've purchased 2 silver rings for 3000 kyats each. 

We will go to blacksmith, lotus weaving and tobacco rolling after. At tobacco rolling house you get to taste all different flavor tobaccos. My personal favourite is the banana cigarette. They will explain to you how each tobacco flavor is mixed with the ingredients.

We will head to lunch after at one of the villages. The lunch is included in the total price so there is no extra cost. If you are lucky you get to taste the fresh fish which is from the lake. Depends on the people you are with. You can either have a chill chat after lunch or take a short nap after. The lovely family will also invite you to try the secret to Burmese beauty - Thanaka. What is Thanaka? We explained here - What is Thanaka?

After lunch is workout time. You get to try canoeing in traditional boat. It's harder than you imagined. :)

We continue the journey to the In Dein Pagoda. It is a climb to the top of the hill but totally worth it. 

The last stop of our trip is Maing Thauk where the 1km wooden bridge is located. You can have a cold beer at one of the floating bars. 

You will be back to our hostel at around 4ish. 

The cost for a sunrise boat trip is 16,500 kyats per person. Sign up at our reception.

Below are some pictures from the trip:

What is the Inle Lake Five Day Market?

A very well-known tradition here at Shan State is the Five Day Market.

But, what is Five Day Market?

Back in the old days, there are several kingdoms in Myanmar. Inle Lake belongs to the Shan State. The Shan Sawbwa (leaders) would go village to village and house to house to collect money (or tax). It was quite time consuming. In order to be more efficient, they would gather the people from nearby villages in one town at a certain day. Slowly people started to bring goods and trade while waiting for the Sawbwa to collect tax. 

Even tho today, the Sawbwa was long gone. The tradition remained. :)

Have more questions for the locals? Send us an email or a message. Or just ask any of our staff if you live with us - 

Photo 4-22-19, 9 42 34 AM.jpg