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Monasteries of Myanmar – Training Whiskers

The Inle Lake region in Shan State is possibly the most popular tourist destination of Myanmar. With traditional fishing, floating markets as well as floating gardens tended by farmers in boats Inle Lake sounded like a promising way to spend a few days.

Traditional fishing on Inle Lake

Traditional fishing on Inle Lake

From the base of Nuang Shwe village we biked around paddy fields being ploughed for the coming rainy season and canals full of ducks, water buffalo and swimming kids. The surprising highlight of Inle was the Red Mountain Estate winery which made a great spot for wine and fried tofu fed sunsets.

Our longboat ride

Our longboat ride

A day on Inle Lake is reminiscent of taking an organised day trip through Bali. Cruising on a longboat from village to village our skipper took us to a number of tourist orientated shops including silversmiths, lotus silk weavers, lacquer ware and cheroot cigarette makers.

One of the numerous non-jumping cats of the Jumping Cat Monestary

One of the numerous non-jumping cats of the Jumping Cat Monastery

Possibly the oddest stop was a Buddhist Monastery famed for its jumping cats. That’s right, out on the middle of Inle Lake is a Monastery visited by thousands of people a year hoping to catch a glimpse of a cat jumping through a hoop. As I expected there was not a whole lot of jumping going on but there were a lot of cats weaving their way between the monks and statues of the Buddha.

Sunset over Inle Lake

Sunset over Inle Lake

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Transit post – Breaking in the Backpack in Bangkok

So after five days in Bangkok it’s time to move on to Myanmar (Burma) in the morning. As a place to start Bangkok has been pretty easy. The public transport system is convenient and cheap, everyone speaks English and the hostel is clean, air-conditioned and pretty quiet.

Navigating through the crowds of Chinese tourists makes it a challenge but the Grand Palace complex is worth seeing. As of course is the Songkran festival which is still drawing crowds into the city. Khao San Road is like a Thai version of Kuta, lots of tourists and lots of stores and stalls catering to travellers.

Sneaky selfie in front of a section of the Grand Palace

Sneaky selfie in front of a section of the Grand Palace

Getting into the spirit of Thai New Year

Getting into the spirit of Thai New Year

The backpacker mecca of Khao San

The backpacker mecca of Khao San

Tomorrow I’ll arrive in Yangon mid-way through the Burmese version of New Year including their own water festival. Should be fun!

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