Inle Lake

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Try to get out on the lake ahead of the tour boats.  We were lucky to miss the crowds everywhere we went by virtue of leaving an hour earlier than most.

We visited this monastery simply to walk through it on our way to the five day rotating market.  If you want to visit a particular market you will need to look up the yearly schedule.  It can be found online.

Even knowing the day, I was unable to identify the monastery and market with any certainty.

Please email me if you know the answer.

Nga Phe Kyaung Pagoda has stood over the lake for over a century but the cats who made it famous are a recent addition.

One hears and reads a lot of negative comments about visiting this 'tourist trap'.   I can only say that when we arrived there were only three people there and they were leaving.  One of them was Friedel my trekking companion from Hsipaw. 

We found ourselves alone, except for a sleeping Abbot, 15 cats in a similar state and two rather bored looking monks sitting in a window embrasure.  

On display were some 75 Buddha images on magnificently decorated antique Shan pedestals.  A few of the Buddha's are old but most are modern.  These occupied us for some time but when there was still no sign of leaping cat,  I asked one of the monks when we could return to see them in action.

U San Da learned his excellent English the way so many monks do, by talking to visitors.  He teased us for awhile, talking about the Buddha images, of his life in Mandalay before coming to Inle, and the cats which take only 3 weeks to train.   Conversation exhausted he picked up a hoop, rattled a can of fish treats and persuaded a couple of sleepy cats to leap for us.   

We left as the tour boats were arriving.  Sometimes it pays to ignore the Lonely Planet Guide and the Thorn Tree.

2005 update.  

Once again we were lucky with our timing and were alone to enjoy a cup of tea and chat to U San Da

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