Inlay Lake Ramsar Site

traditional culture of Inlay Lake  Wildlife Sanctuary
Birds at Inlay Lake

Inlay Lake Ramsar Site

  • Country: 
  • Site number: 
  • Area: 
    5,797.6 ha
  • Designation date: 
  • Coordinates: 
    20°34'N 96°54'E
Materials presented on this website, particularly maps and territorial information, are as-is and as-available based on available data and do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.


The Site, located on the Shan Plateau of eastern Myanmar, is the second-largest inland lake in the country. Its unique geology has created ideal conditions for a wealth of plants and animals, including many which are endemic to the Site. Elephant grass, known locally as kaing, is important in maintaining the structure of floating islands for agriculture. The endemic Inlay carp (Cyprinus intha), locally called nga-phein, is culturally symbolic and important for household as well as commercial consumption. Other fish species such as Sawbwa resplendens, Danio erythromicron and Microrasbora rubescens are also only found in the lake and so are globally endangered; nonetheless they are commercially exploited for the aquarium trade. Local inhabitants have adopted unique lifestyles and livelihoods that reflect their biophysical environment: most of them practice traditional methods of fishing and hydroponic cultivation of floating gardens. Inlay Lake was established as a Wildlife Sanctuary in 1985 to protect and conserve the rich biodiversity of the wetland ecosystem. As a critical staging ground for migratory birds on the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, the Site was listed as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) in 2004. It became an ASEAN Heritage Park in 2003 and was designated as Myanmar’s first UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2015.

Administrative region: 
Southern Shan State, the Shan Plateau of East Myanmar

  • Global international designation: 
    • UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
  • Regional (international) legal designations: 
    • Other international designation
  • Last publication date: 


Ramsar Information Sheet (RIS)

Additional reports and documents