Kalaw to Inle Lake
Key information: Kalaw to Inle Lake
- Trek through tribal hill country from Kalaw to famously lovely and atmospheric Inle Lake.
- You will get properly up into the hills, crossing ridges, passing through (and staying in) tribal villages with differing customs and ways of life.
- Beautiful scenery - an agricultural plateau with (some) forested ridges and traditional farming in the valleys. Rich vegetation and animal life.
- There are various routes to choose from, enabling you to walk for two or three days. You will need to go with a guide, who can be hired locally.
- Walkopedia rating90
- Natural interest15
- Human interest15
- Negative points0
- Total rating90
- Length: 2 days or more
- Maximum Altitude: Variable
- Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Trek through tribal hill country from the colonial era hill station of Kalaw to famously lovely and atmospheric Inle Lake.
This is interesting and lovely landscape, at the western end of the Shan plateau: rolling hills and terraced valleys separated by rough sandstone ridge. The hills were once thickly forested, but the army apparently felled most of them in the 1970s. Parts are now burnt and kept thin, but they are still at times delightful. Despite the depredations, there is rich vegetation and animal life.
You will get properly up into the hills, crossing ridges, passing through (and staying in) tribal villages with differing customs and ways of life: many of them orange-turbaned Pa-O, but also Taung Yo, Danu and Palaung. You will stay in the bamboo-walled upper floors of stilted villages houses, or in the atmospheric but popular Htetan monastery.
This is not difficult walking, but the days can be long. The cooler air is a welcome contrast to the heat of the lowlands, but nights can be positively cold.
There are various routes to choose from, enabling you to walk for two or three days. Three days enables you to get further 'out' and meander more slowly. (We headed south on day 1, turning east toward Inle Lake on days 2 and 3). Some routes are really quite heavily walked, and, even through we asked to 'go remote', there were two other groups in our village.
Unless you walk into Naungshwe, the town at the northern end of Lake Inle, you will need to take a boat (or other transport) from the lakeside or roadhead where you end your trek. This can of course be arranged and your bags can be taken to meet you at Inle Lake. (ours were at the bottom of our boat 2 1/2 days later).
You will need to go with a guide, who can be hired locally. Also consider seriously taking a cook - food and hygiene are very basic outside town. Agree what will be involved/included and the pay clearly beforehand. But don't negotiate too hard - every penny helps in this poor area.
Consider a walk in the Kalaw Area before you head off on this trek. It takes a while to get out of the suburbs. If you are on a long trek these have their own interest; otherwise, get driven to a roadhead.
See Willam Mackesy's account of this walk (below) for detail of what a walk here is like.
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.
FOR DETAILED PRACTICAL INFORMATION, SEE OUR KALAW-INLE AREA WALK PAGE
THIS PAGE IS AT AN EARLY STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT: ALL SUGGESTIONS AND PHOTOS WELCOME!
WILLIAM MACKESY'S ACCOUNT
of this walk
2 1/2 days walk, March 2013
At 9am sharp, we lurch out into our colonial era rest-house’s garden on a ridge above Kalaw - and into sparkling early sunshine. There by the gate is our guide-to-be, Eddie. He is a slightly stooped, softly spoken, almost diffident mannered, 60 year old, and it is easy to miss on first meeting that he is a hero among trekking guides. A recently retired government agricultural adviser whose job has been to help the tribal.....READ MORE
Other accounts: share your experiences
Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.
COMMUNITY COMMENTS AND PHOTOS
Posted on: 11/10/2013
I was really interested in details of the account of the walk at: http://www.walkopedia.net/walks/display-walk.asp?WalkID=966 but when I clicked on Read More link, got no result. I think there is a problem with this page Great web site regards Rex
Name: Fat Cat
Posted on: 14/06/2014
Ko Min is one of the excellent trekking guide in Kalaw.He can speak good english and knowledgeable.He is very hospitable and good service.You can contact by email firstname.lastname@example.org
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