One day at Inle Lake: The Jumping Cat Monastery - Nga Phe Kyaung - Vikingess Voyages

Monday, October 31, 2016

One day at Inle Lake: The Jumping Cat Monastery - Nga Phe Kyaung

The Nga Phe Kyaung monastery is both the biggest and oldest monastery in Inle Lake. Among tourists it is still known as the "jumping cat monastery" - a name it got because of the cats living there, who had been trained by the monks to jump through little hoops. You can see a simple YouTube clip that demonstrates the practice below:
Unfortunately for those who might have wanted to see the jumping cats in action this practice came to an end a couple of years ago. While the official story says that the monk who used to train the cats passed away there are rumours saying that the practice came to an end after negative coverage by a foreign journalist who didn't like that the monks made the cats jump (one would have thought that there are more important issues in Myanmar to focus on rather than a bunch of jumping cats..). We were told by locals that the monastery has gotten a new nickname as a result - the "fishbowl monastery". Well well.. It would be interesting to hear if anybody else have gotten this explanation too..
Either way, without the jumping cats we found that the monastery was rather plain; you could still see a couple of cats wandering around and they seemed well-fed and used to people, but there was nothing out of the ordinary to see. Except for perhaps the bored monk in the picture below seemingly playing on his iPad. Although in his defence he might have been just a tech-savvy monk reading spiritual texts for all I know.
A bored/tech-savvy monk and his iPad.
The Nga Phe Kyaung was built in the 19th century, and inside the monastery you can enjoy the sight of traditional architecture with numerous stilts supporting the roof. Even without the jumping cats the interesting architecture might make a trip to this history-rich Inle monastery worth it.
An old Louis Vuitton poster inside the Nga Phe Kyaung monastery
All in all this was not really the highlight of our visit to Inle Lake, but as they say; been there, done that.
Basic Info
  • ・Name: The Jumping Cat Monastery - Nga Phe Kyaung
  • ・Opening Hours: 06:00 AM - 08:00 PM
  • ・Access:By boat only

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About Anette
Anette came to Japan as an exchange student in 2010, met the love of her life and got stuck. From her base in Tokyo she writes about her experiences as a full-time worker in Tokyo and about her travels in Japan and abroad. She's a free-spirited adventurer who enjoys both the great outdoors and her urban lifestyle.

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Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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