Key information: Kalaw-Inle Area
- Fine trekking around this colonial era hill station - secondary forested hills and farmed valleys; lovely views, monasteries and shrines and, of course, the idiosyncratic hill tribes who live the area. The abstract harmonies of tea plantations, even.
- Treks vary from half day to multi day and can be organized locally. An overnight expedition, sleeping in a tribal village, would be a must, if time allows. The various Kalaw to Inle Lake walks are the most popular, with good reason.
- Some way off is Pindaya, home to a famous Buddhist cave. There is lovely walking around the town, with pagodas on nearby high points and trekking out to tribal villages in the surrounding area. These can be day treks, or overnighters.
- Beautiful Inle Lake has some good walks in its environs.
- Walkopedia rating93
- Natural interest15
- Human interest16
- Negative points0
- Total rating93
- Length: Variable
- Maximum Altitude: c. 2,000m
- Level of Difficulty: Variable
The countryside around this colonial era hill station makes for fine trekking - forested hills (well, secondary forested hills) and farmed valleys with lovely views, stupas and monasteries and, of course, the endlessly interesting villages of the idiosyncratic hill tribes who live the area. Pockets of rich woodland (although sadly depleted by logging - the guide books oversell it a bit) and some animal life. The abstract harmonies of tea plantations, even.
Treks vary from half day to multi day and can be organized locally. An overnight expedition, sleeping in a tribal village, would be a must, if time allows. The various Kalaw to Inle Lake walks are the most popular, with good reason.
Day-walk routes are plentiful. Nawa Taung pagoda and the surrounding villages (of various tribes) to the north are said to be lovely and include some tea plantations; the mainly Pa-O villages south and south-east of Myin Dike railway station to the south are fascinating and the surrounding countryside magnificent; the "top" mountain, "Viewpoint" (a restaurant with, you got it, a good view) and Shwe Min Pone pagoda to the west; all are wonderful walking areas. If you have time, get yourself driven up a roadhead for access to remoter countryside.
Guides are a good idea and a must if going overnight. Consider also taking a cook if trekking overnight to remoter places - food and sanitation are basic outside town and it is very easy to get ill. Agree your requirements and the pay clearly beforehand. If feeling like doing things informally, you can simply walk out of town toward places such as "the Viewpoint". The downside is it can take a while to get out of the outskirts, which are scruffy but interesting, and can afford a glimpse of stockbroker tudor colonial rest houses, and you need to keep an eye on which way you have gone, so you can retrace your steps.
The cool(er) air (Kalaw is at around 1,300m) is welcome after the heat of the lowlands. But it can get cold at nights.
Famously lovely Inle Lake has some good walks in the hills behind it - as if you will get tired of pottering about this wonderful and fascinating watery world.
Some way off is Pindaya, home to a famous and vast cave containing a multitude of Buddha statues. There is lovely walking around the town, with pagodas on nearby high points and trekking out to tribal villages in the surrounding area. These can be day treks, or overnighters.
Lonely Planet's Myanmar has good basic information on trekking in this area.
To go or not: until recently, there were major issues with visiting Myanmar, as a result of the money and affirmation that the regime receives - with counter-arguments to the effect that money to the desperately poor locals and foreign contact is more important. These were well put in the 2009 Lonely Planet. But, with the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, the dabate has for the time being changed; she cautiously welcomes visitors coming to Myanmar.
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COMMUNITY COMMENTS AND PHOTOS
Posted on: 11/10/2013
"International flights arrive only at Yangon" Flights (from Bangkok with Thai) also to Mandalay
Name: Fat Cat
Posted on: 14/06/2014
Guides/Support Ko Min is one of the excellent trekking guide in Kalaw.He can speak good english and knowledgeable.(firstname.lastname@example.org).
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