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.
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.
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.
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.