Sanctum Inle Resort

As travel gets easier and more popular, it’s harder to find those places that have perfected the art of creating a peaceful retreat from it all, that’s just one of the reasons why Sanctum Inle Resort is a particularly good find.

Set back from Inle Lake, the only noise you’ll hear is birdsong and the chanting of monks in the distance. Perhaps you might hear the hum of a mower as gardeners tend to the grounds or a cart ferrying organic vegetables straight from the garden to the kitchen. Yes, this is a place where you can just sit back and breathe in the quiet.

There’s s feeling of rustic European charm to the place and if it weren’t for the tamarind trees and tropical plants growing next to the stone pathways, golden stupas hidden amongst trees on the hillside or a smiling staff member exchanging a friendly ‘mingalabar’ as they pass, you might be forgiven for forgetting you are in Myanmar at all.

Sanctum Inle Resort at Inle Lake
Beautiful design at Sanctum Inle Resort
Sanctum Inle Resort at Inle Lake
Al Fresco dining at Sanctum Inle Resort

Stay in one of the junior suites where the high arched ceilings with exposed beams add to the already huge sense of space. Sit outside on your private terrace and lose hours staring at peaceful lake views.  Inside, rooms are designed to offer maximum comfort with a huge pillow laden bed (select your own pillows from the menu), a coffee machine and walk-in shower big enough for two.

There are all the other usual features you’d expect; TV, safe, minibar but they’ve swapped the complimentary water in plastic bottles for planet friendly glass bottles. As firm supporters of the Refill Not Landlfill campaign which was born in Cambodia we were very happy to see this.

Junior Suite at Sanctum Inle Resort
Private terrace in our junior suite
Amazing sunset views from the swimming pool at Sanctum Inle Resort
Swimming pool at night at Sanctum Inle Resort

The Vegan Food

For breakfast there was the option to go local with dishes like Shan noodles, served with a traditional pickle and a bowl of light vegetable soup on the side. The noodles themselves were a sticky, flavour packed dish like nothing we’ve tried before. An oil rich (like a lot of food in Myanmar) tomato based sauce, with coriander seeds, flakes of a fermented soy bean cake and slithers of a pickled green, with the addition of diced carrots, peas and some sweetcorn and you have a vegan version of this ubiquitous Shan state dish.

If you want a more Western option go for grilled Inle Lake tomatoes, sautéed mushrooms, baked beans and herbed baby potatoes (which taste like they’ve just been dug out of the ground). All of this was served with a fruit platter, freshly baked baguettes, tea or coffee and fresh juice of the day.

For lunch and dinner, the regular menu was full of options and with instructions from the staff to feel free to make any changes or adaptations we wanted, we were never stuck for things to order.

Try the ‘Green eggplant curry with Inle tomato salad’, a simple eggplant dish with a traditional tomato salad where tasty tomatoes were tossed with crushed peanut and roasted chickpea flour. This dish is usually served with rice but ours came with red quinoa with fermented tea leaves much to our delight; when in Myanmar, eat as many fermented tea leaves as you can.

There were also fried noodles or fried rice and Western options like pizza and pasta, we requested spinach and mushrooms in place of the cheese on our pizza and a little extra spinach to the arrabiata fusilli with no problems at all.

Vegan curry at Sanctum Inle Resort
Tomato salad at Sanctum Inle Resort
Pasta with organic tomatoes and spinach
Vegan quinoa dish at Sanctum Inle Resort

There were delicious, healthy soups to choose from like a velvety Inle pumpkin soup with nutty tasting roasted sunflower seeds and a hearty yellow lentil soup with a basil pesto crostini. Pretty coriander flowers were scattered on a crostini ‘bridge’ drizzled with an oil rich pesto.

The dishes we ate made the most out of the fresh, local ingredients in season and there was careful attention to detail with presentation. The ‘Shan tomato avacado tartar with basil caviar and a balsamic glaze’ was a beautiful looking dish, where tiny basil spheres sat atop green avocado looking exactly like a stem of fresh green peppercorns. We’re happy to report back that it tasted as good as it looked.

When travelling around Myanmar we developed a rule to try to eat as many versions of the famous ‘laphet’, or fermented tea leaf salads as we could and so we were keen to try the version from Sanctum Inle Resort (devoured whilst drinking in the view of the lake, mountains and infinity pool at sunset may we add). It was incredibly moreish with intriguing layers and a little lighter on the oil than other versions we had tried (an element that we really liked). There was tartness of lime, fresh green and red tomatoes and crunch from nuts and fried beans throughout; a definite success.

It’s probably time to mention our favourite pasta dish, a homemade ravioli filled with organic beetroot straight from the garden, tossed with sautéed mushrooms and garnished with rocket leaves and tiny segments of fresh orange. Delicate pasta filled with sweet fresh beetroot, aromatic orange and the oil and black pepper dressing adding a wonderful yet simple indulgence.

Vegan soup at Sanctum Inle Resort
Avocado tartare at Sanctum Inle Resort
Tea leaf salad at Sanctum Inle Resort
Beetroot ravioli at Sanctum Inle Resort

That beetroot, so deliciously fresh from the organic garden, was a bit of a star during our stay with simple yet tasty salads being a regular feature on our dining table. The kind of vegan food on the menu, the spectacular sunset views and the exquisite sounds of wildlife in the early evening was perfectly accompanied by a glass of chilled vegan wine from Yalumba. Experiences like this are not to be missed on your travels.

And as if all this wasn’t already enough, there was also a vegan dessert option, traditional rice flour dumplings filled with palm sugar and served in a kind of tiny canoe made from coconut wood, topped with toasted fresh coconut.

Beetroot, orange and avocado salad at
Vegan dessert at Sanctum Inle Resort

The Vegan Essentials

There was an entire pillow menu to choose from so vegan guests can enjoy sleeping on feather free pillows, opt for a ‘Cassia Seed Pillow’ or maybe a memory foam pillow to rest your head on, just read the description on your menu and make your choice.

The in-room amenities were in planet friendly refillable containers so we weren’t able to tell if they were vegan or not; we simply used our own instead.

We highly recommend taking a walk around the organic garden to see the kinds of things that might end up on your dinner plate during your stay. It’s a beautifully kept space teeming with life, enough to make any amateur gardeners out there jealous but also a great place to see the friendly water buffalo that spend their days in the neighbouring fields and lake.

The organic garden at Sanctum Inle Resort
Fresh vegetables from the organic garden at

The Vegan Food Quest Verdict

Make a reservation at Sanctum Inle Resort when you are planning your trip to Myanmar, it is a truly beautiful resort in a breathtaking setting that you are sure to fall in love with.

Discover new levels of peace and tranquility whilst dining on vegan friendly food made from ingredients that are fresh from the organic garden, enjoy Western and locally inspired dishes, surrounded by stunning views and served with a friendly smile.

This place is perfect to create memories to dine out on for a lifetime…

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We were guests of Sanctum Inle Resort but please rest assured that their generosity in hosting us didn’t influence our views.

Sanctum Inle Resort
Maing Thauk Village,
Inle Lake,

Telephone: +95 9 252 818 800
Cost From:
£95 / $130 (May 2018)

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