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Open the shutters of your hotel room to a vista of shimmering water, whose surface is strewn with floating gardens and stilt villges, which locals skim between on shallow dugouts, propelled along by long oars which they paddle using one leg. In Intha settlements, you can watch artisans at work, soak up the distinctive atmosphere of local markets, or take meandering rides around the lakeshore. A popular excursion by canoe is to an islet where a sanctuary for Burmese cats occupies a stately old colonial mansion, while at Nga Hpe Kyaung monastery, the monks have trained resident felines to leap through hoops.