We left Mandalay sometime after 6 pm and got to Shwenyaung, 13 km from Inle Lake, before 4 am. The bus dropped Inle-bound travellers off in Shwenyaung and as I stepped out there was a happy crowd of taxi drivers ready to take us to our final destinations. I shared a taxi with four French travellers and we paid 2000 kyat (approximately US$2.50) each. On the way to the lake the taxi stopped at a check point so we could pay the $5.00 entrance fee to Inle. The taxi driver will take you to a guesthouse of your choice or will suggest guesthouses that might have free rooms, and he will also wake up the guesthouse staff to show you the rooms.
Cost: 12 000 kyat (under $15) including a pick-up from my hotel, the ET Hotel in Mandalay, to the bus station. And by pick-up I mean we all stood on the back of a lorry for an hour while the it drove around Mandalay picking up more passengers.