It’s hard to say where Inle Lake finishes and marshes start.
The surface of the 13.5 miles long lake seems a silver mirror that reflects all the existing shades of blue. But that’s not enough: the quiet waters are framed by hills and mountains so green that hardly seem real.
With no roads or sidewalks, locals get around in one-person wooden boats through villages of wooden stilt and floating gardens. Fishermen work the lake in silence; women sell vegetables from their boats and cultivate the gardens under big straw hats while their kids don’t miss a chance to say a loud hello to everyone who is passing nearby their rustic homes.
That’s life in Inle Lake, and it’s absolutely enthralling.
Like Bagan, this area is UNESCO heritage site and it totally deserves this status. Not only the scenario itself is absolutely sublime, but on the shore of the lake ruins of 1,000 centuries-old white stone stupas offer you a stunning example of Burmese heritage.
I couldn’t help taking hundreds of photos of fisherman in the lake and of the women artisans who were hand hand-weaving silk and lotus flower fabric. The weaving centres were incredibly impressive: I can still hear the clattering sound of the looms.
Our last stop was the Jumping Cat monastery, an unusual monastery not particularly beautiful but famous, indeed, for its trained jumping cats. I was embittered when I found out the the new chief monk of the place had preferred to focus on pray, instead training cats.
He probably has a point in that, I’ve to admit.