Trek between Kalaw and Inle Lake

The trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake, Myanmar, is done in two or three days. It is an easy trek that will give you the opportunity to discover the Burmese local life. The Homestay is prohibited in Myanmar by the military junta does not want money from tourists benefit them. In this case, it is practically one of the few known alternatives and indexed by the guides. A trek that I highly recommend for its beauty and its immersion in the Burmese countryside.

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The town of Kalaw

We usually arrive by bus, at night. There are several hotels and guesthouses, cheap or luxurious. You will have all next day to organize your trek. With a friend, I booked through the Sam’s Family Guide/restaurant for a three day trek.

You can also spend your day off to go to Pindaya, about an hour’s drive from Kalaw and visit the 8000 Buddhas cave.

The town of Kalaw in altitude is very cold at night. Despite the lack of infrastructure and things to do, this is a city that has all the same charm.

 

Trek Kalaw – Lac Inle

Let’s go for three day trek. Most of it is flat and the little climb is easy for all novices.

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Landscapes are beautiful. Nature is sumptuous, lush, fragrant. Some slopes are covered with rice fields, other chili plantations letting off red spots on the hills. Further, we see forest pieces of an intense green.

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The guide often stops to show and sometimes even to taste the species of plants and roots which we recognize the taste in the mouth… lemongrass, ginger… Sometimes we take a break under the trees in the comforting shade. While approaching the field, you can see the Burmese to work chopping, picking, plowing. They do everything by hand, helped by buffaloes.

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Our progress on this red earth is accompanied throughout the three days by the singing of birds. The hills succeed. The easy descents lead to very short climbs and more difficult because of the sun. But once climbed a hill, you can admire a different view each time, sometimes on the forest, a lake, rice crops, chili. Sometimes a village arises in the opening of a pass.

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In the evening, each group joined a dedicated village and sleep with the locals. It’s very nice to go with all Burmese. At night, they all arrived from everywhere. Farmers bring wood logs on their heads, rice bags. Others push their buffaloes to lock them in their meadow. Chickens, cows and pigs move freely between the houses. The sun sets quickly. At nightfall, the village children play Chilo (sort of soccer), women prepare the meal, men make fire.

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The house has a room that hosts for hikers. It’s pretty basic. We sleep together in one room, on the floor, warm in blankets smelling of fire. It is relatively cold but the tiredness of the day allows to fall asleep easily.

Toilets are outside in a hut, poorly lit and showers, nonexistent, replaced by corners with no privacy where we pull directly cold water from large wells. Wash what is essential, jumping at every contact with frozen water. Anyway, we took only one holding really dirty because of the day !!

Kitchen chief served huge dishes for everyone. It is a real delight. Each pick up in the plates and enjoy.

In the morning, try to see women “make up” and may be you will do it also! From the tree branch, this natural “cream” that men and women apply on the face with a brush serves to beautify but also protection against the sun.

 

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End of the trek, we arrive on the Inle lake we already guessing for more than two hours away.

Access to Lake cost 12,000 Kyats (about 10 euros) per person and the ticket is valid for several days. Final stage of the three-day trek, crossing the lake by boat (see tip below) to join Nyaungshwe. Then comes the long awaited moment finally a hot shower !!

 

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Useful information

The price of the trek varies depending on the number of participants. The more you are, the less expensive it will be per person. Do not worry, there are always enough people. For our group of 7 people, we paid 20,000 Kyat (about 15 euros) per day and per person. This price includes three meals a day except for breakfast the first day and dinner the last day when you arrive at Inle Lake. Sometimes you have a snack (fruit), two guides, cook, housing and transport of your bags.

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Indeed, the trek is done with light bag. You leave in Kalaw your backpacks and they are delivered directly to the hotel of your choice to Nyaungshwe, Inle Lake. If you don’t want to book in advance, no problem, you just need to add one euro for this to be kept and secured to the Office of the pier.

Access to the lake is not free, 12,000 Kyat (about 10 euros) is valid for several days. Last step, finally, Nyaungshwe which is reached by boat (see tip below) and is also included in the price of the three-day trek.

 

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Tips

At Inle Lake, there are many things to see and only accessible by boat, such as floating markets, the monastery, etc. For smaller budgets, take a boat to visit is quite expensive.

Arriving at Inle Lake, after the trek, the boat across the lake and lead you to Nyaungshwe is included in the price of your trek. Organize yourselves to give a tips to the captain so that you make a turn. So you will have seen the major sites without breaking the bank!

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