Enfolded by the rippling Shan Hills, Inle Lake forms a world apart from the rest of Myanmar. The Intha people (see p168) who live in stilt villages along its fringes have evolved a unique way of life, beautifully adapted to the seasonal ebb and flow of the shoreline, where slender-topped stupas overlook a mosaic of rice paddies and floating vegetable gardens. Each morning, a fleet of long-tailed motorboats skim across Inle’s glassy sur- face, ferrying visitors to monasteries and temples, and work- shops where silk is hand woven from lotus fiber. The idyll is only slightly marred by the hordes who descend on the lake in the tourist season. Plenty of quiet corners remain, how ever, where it is possible to experience the essential tranquillity of wood- and-thatch villages far removed from the road network.