Backpacking on the rise in Nyaungshwe, Inle

According to the Nyaungshwe branch of the Myanmar Tour Guide Association (MTGA), the number of individual tourists visiting Nyaungshwe and Inle Lake in Shan State has been steadily rising.

“Lately, the foreign individual tourist (FIT) market is thriving because of easier communication and access. There has been no decrease in the number of tourists here on package tours. Age differences is one of the key factors,” said Sai Win, chair of the MTGA.

Most tour guides have said the demographic of foreign tourists who make up the FIT market are young, adventurous and usually alone, while those here on package tours tend to be middle-aged or older and prefer learn about the history and culture of the region.

Costs matter a lot more to backpackers, and they prefer to stay at small motels or guests houses and to eat at roadside stalls.

A total of 130,715 tourists visited Nyaungshwe in the 2014-2015 fiscal year, and 89,169 tourists have come during the 2015-2016 fiscal year up to December.