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Trekking from Kalaw to Inle Lake in Myanmar

posted in: ASIA, Myanmar | 10

Prior to traveling around Myanmar we already heard nice stories about the treks there and were very excited to join one of them as well. Exploring rural life in Myanmar and its local culture and nature while doing some exercise was definitely something we wanted to do while visiting the country. Myanmar’s trekking mecca is located in Kalaw, a colonial town located in the northern Shan state. We heard about a great trek going from here all the way to the beautiful Inle Lake, from which we already wrote about in our prior post on Discovering Scenic Inle Lake. Getting there was another great experience – and so our Kalaw trekking adventure began!

After surviving our adventurous 24-hour train ride from Hpa-An we finally reached the town of Kalaw. The town itself is packed with smaller hotels and guesthouses with many of them offering guides and treks to Inle Lake and other places. It was not that easy to choose from but we eventually opted for the guide offered to us by the guesthouse we stayed in called Golden Lilly Guesthouse – perhaps not the best place to stay but they offered nice treks. The entire trek would last for 3 days and 2 nights, taking us through rural hill tribe villages and beautiful landscapes. The cost was around $35/person and included all overnights and food, along with a guide. In total we would walk around 60 kilometers, so roughly 20 kilometers a day! Meeting up with our fellow trekkers we started our hike out of town and commenced on a great journey.

The first day took us through some great hill treks, offering us beautiful scenic views across the landscape of the Taunggyi province. We also passed by the village of our guide who introduced us to his family and home and gave us a nice insight into the rural life. More beautiful landscapes passed until we finally reached a small village on top of a hill which would be our stay for the night. Our overnight was a large house with many mattresses where the entire group would sleep in one big room. It was comfortable and we were happy to rest after a long day’s trek.

trekking in myanmar

kalaw-trekking-landscape

rural myanmar village
A small village on our trek

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myanmar trekking
Our lunch spot for the day
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Our lunch (just kidding)
Village kids welcoming us
Village kids welcoming us

myanmar sunset

Our House for the night
Our house for the night

The second day started early with a quick hand-wash ‘shower’ and a great breakfast in the neighboring house. Interestingly, they have a fireplace inside the house where all the food is being prepared. It was delicious, home-cooked vegetarian food that gave us enough strength for the day. We passed by more villages, had a nice swim in the river and were able to see local handicraft being produced. The day ended at a monastery in which we would also end up sleeping in. We met with monks, played football with them and listened to their prayers. Our dinner was inside the monastery as well and we enjoyed every bite of it. It was a great experience and we really loved this part of the trek.

myanmar village breakfast
Breakfast preparation
Our breakfast
Our breakfast
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Our neighbor

trekking view in myanmar

handicraft myanmar
Handmade baskets

kalaw trekking

kalaw trekking
Trying to look good after 20 kilometers of trekking
myanmar monastery
This monastery was our stay for the night
myanmar monks
Young monks playing in front of the monastery

The third and last day of the trek took us past some more beautiful landscapes and sceneries and finally brought us to beautiful Inle Lake. It greeted us with lush green fields and waterways and perfectly concluded our amazing Kalaw trekking experience.

kalaw trekking
Our trekking guide leading the way

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The floating gardens of Inle Lake
The floating gardens of Inle Lake
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Our ride on Inle Lake

We highly recommend this trek and highly suggest you to experience it the way we did. As tourism is growing rapidly in Myanmar it will most probably also get more crowded in the years to come and perhaps lose its charm. We had a great time discovering local village life, living the rural culture and seeing some amazing Myanmar landscapes. The trek as such was quite tiring at times, especially during the hot and dry season. Yet, it was definitely worth the effort and we loved it. Make sure you wear comfortable clothes and proper shoes and bring some warm clothes along as it can get a bit cold during the nights. Do not expect much comfort and be prepared for some tougher hikes in between. We do hope to have given you some inspiration to go and discover this area by yourself and experience the beautiful rural side of Myanmar!

 

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

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Hi, my name is Julian and I am the co-author, photographer and blogger of apenoni. I am happy to share the experiences of our travels with you and hope you enjoy reading our posts.

10 Responses

  1. chen
    | Reply

    Awesome post with great images.

  2. JuliaSan
    | Reply

    Myanmar is fantastic! We have been there a couple of months ago, also visited the Inle lake (not trekking, though 🙂 ) Thanks for sharng and bringing back memories. 🙂

    • Julian
      | Reply

      Thank you, Myanmar is truly an amazing country. Inle Lake is beautiful, it was our reward for the trek 🙂

  3. Agness
    | Reply

    The view is really beautiful and it’s nice to see smiley locals running around! 🙂

  4. Kevin Wagar
    | Reply

    What a gorgeous region! I can see tourism in the region exploding in the future, so I would love to visit while it’s still so pure

    • Julian
      | Reply

      Definitely, Kevin. It’s starting to become a tourist hotspot and many things will change so make sure to get there asap!

  5. Maria
    | Reply

    Great experience and marvelous photos. Specially love the ones with local people. They look so friendly and happy to have you there.

    • Julian
      | Reply

      Thanks a lot, Maria. It was an incredible experience and a great way to discover the rural sides of Myanmar.

  6. […] is home to a rich flora and fauna. Enjoy romantic river cruises in the Irrawaddy River or go trekking in the Shan highlands. Have a look at once our posts about the beautiful Inle Lake to get an idea of the country’s […]

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