Ringed by the cool green hills of the highlands of the Shan State and yet seemingly worlds apart from the rest of Myanmar, lies Inle Lake in all its outstanding natural beauty. The lake itself sits at a pleasant 1300 meters above sea level and is famous for its strange unique leg rowers, floating markets and prolific birdlife. In this unique wetland environment, whole villages and temples sit on floating islands on the Lake. Colourful hill tribes inhabit fertile valleys and forested mountaintops, and their own hand-woven silks are a specialty of the region. The best way to explore this distinctive environment is by boat, tours include stops at places such as the curious “jumping cat monastery” and cottage industries where you will witness the age old methods of cheroot making, silk weaving and silversmiths to name but a few.
Kakku is a one of a kind temple complex and home to more than 2000 stupas. It has lied hidden in the Pa-O heartland of Southern Shan State for centuries. Unknown to the outside world and to most of Myanmar until recently, these exquisite monuments can now be visited. Although a long drive from the lake the effort is well worth it. One of Myanmars hidden treasures that few take the time to see.