I present to you, the famous jumping cats of Nga Phe Kyuang!
Or would you fancy a video instead?
Inle Lake is like the big brother of Srinagar’s Dal Lake. It’s simply gorgeous. Except for the jumping cats of Nga Phe Kyuang, it’s not really a place to see anything but rather to explore how life works and revolves around this massive body of water.
So I started the day in Mandalay’s creepily deserted airport:
And before I knew it, I was motorboating into from the “base camp” town of Nyaungshwe into Lake Inle:
I got to meet some of the villagers:
…including the Padaung “Giraffe women,” who have become famous for wearing brass or iron rings around their necks. They start with about 4-5 rings at age 5, adding about 1 a year until they reach 22-25 rings. They do this for many reasons, including having them as a traditional sign of beauty.
Go ahead and take photos of them (as long as you give money). Just be aware that the joke’s on you when you do — the “long neck” women here are reportedly entrepreneurs who commute from another village far from Inle Lake, just to hang out here looking both “authentic” for your cameras and to make a quick buck off of your cash cow.
And those of you who are quick to judge the rings themselves, ask yourself whether it’s any different from the societal pressures that compelled some girls to undergo Chinese foot-binding, Korean eyelid surgery, or American & European nosejobs/breast implants/constant dieting past the point of anorexia?
More on this: Giraffe women (Burma & Thailand).
There’s also the well-known one-legged rowing unique to Inle Lake:
And the adorable cats of Nga Phe Kyuang Monastery:
Yes, what a place to take it all in:
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- At time of posting in Yangon, it was 28 °C - Humidity: 94% | Wind Speed: 5km/hr | Cloud Cover: broken clouds