Trekking from Kalaw to Inle Lake
Hello my Fellow Travelers,
No doubt about it, the 2 day trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake was definitely a highlight of my stay in Myanmar. I recommend it highly and, if she is available, try and get Toe Toe or her daughter as your guide. She can be found through the Dream Villa Guesthouse there. However, there are many good "local" guides in Kalaw that can lead you and introduce you to all the diversity that trail has to offer. But, one thing you need to be aware of and that is to stay far away from the Golden Lilly Guesthouse. Believe it or not, I think that they are the worst human beings that I have ever come across in my entire life. They are not locals and direct 100% of their energies toward slandering the humble local family guides. They combat their own deficiencies by creating horrible lies about others in the business and as a result are despised by the community. This resentment can be felt all along the trail as villages, farmers, and other guides turn a cold shoulder as Golden Lilly groups walk by. Adversely, if you are with a local family guide, that wonderful countryside and its effervescent people welcome you as only Myanmar can.
So, put Kalaw on your itinerary, and enjoy your trip, and if there is anything that I might be able to help you with as you prepare to go please do not hesitate to ask. I love traveling in Myanmar more than anything else in life.
Colourfully dressed Palaung is one of the 135 minority tribes of Myanmar with a turbulent history. Don't expect though that everyone in these minority villages are dressed traditionally
A more detailed reference on Palaung can be read in this website: http://www.peoplesoftheworld.org/text?people=Palaung
Inside a Palaung long house
Some of the people in this village live in the traditional long houses: a stilt establishment long enough to house five or six families to a house. Some others live in single family dwellings. We were offered tea on the patio of one of the village’s leading citizens and watched a group of children playing inside and also the family cooking and weaving. We were offered to buy souvenirs but unfortunately they are not locally produced. We had already decided not to offer money but we bought notebooks and pencils instead. This was our guide’s recommendation as he said that if they get used to money they can get spoiled.
Going down was almost more of a test than going up. It was dusty, my knees were sore due to such a steep descent (I blamed myself for smoking)
Ancending the hills to Palaung village
We were dropped off at a junction from where it iwas about a 2-hour hike up the hill on a dirt track to the Palaung village, but pleasant.
As we moved up the slope, we saw many tea bushes on the almost perpendicular hillsides. Unlike Sri Lanka with endless acres of brightly green tea bushes , here they looked rather miserable… With some short rest stops, we finally made it up to the village
Trekking around Kalaw
At the hills around Kalaw there are a number of villages that are accessible only by foot. This is the main reason being there: trekking to minority villages. Some of these villages are inhabited by the Palaung people, one of many ethnic groups in Myanmar, which was the only one we visited in our half day trekking.
We arranged our trekking through our travel agency. In fact we found out that we used the services of a local trekking agency which is also recommended by LP guide: Sam’s trekking services. As mentioned in their leaflet their group is knowledgable and I can really guarrantee that.
Hay muchas posibilidades de hacer trekking en Kalaw de un o varios días en las montañas de alrededor donde además de tener una vegetación y paisajes impresionantes habitan las tribus de los Palaung y los Pa-O
En los hoteles te puedes poner en contacto con los guías .Nosotros fuimos con Michael y estuvimos muy contentos
Nos sorprendió el tipo de vegetación que tienen a 1300m naranjas,palmeras,te...
There are many chances to do trekking in Kalaw of one or several days on the sourrounding mountainswhere besides of having impressive views and vegetation are inhabited by Palaung and Pa-O tribes
In the hotels you may put in contact with the local guides.We went with Michael and we were very happy
We were surprised with the vegetation they have at 1300m , oranges, palms, tea...
Across the Kalaw Main Street you have the big Thein Taung Paya which lies above the street.
It's a long walk up there and some monks accompanied us.
I took their picture and if you look very good, you'll see the city lights of Kalaw far away.
But the contrast of the orange cloth and the dark city is nice, I think so
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Kalaw, singing nun
While making the trek, we visited a female monastery where we were invited inside.
The monks offered us tea, didn't speak one word English but kept on smiling all the time.
One of the younger 'sisters' chanted from their holy book.
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We visited a longhouse (i.e. a house where more than one family lives) where the weaved beautiful cotton.
They were very friendly but of course wanted to sell their products.
Catherine had to let herself dress their traditional way....
Well, it was nice but not something she'd wear to work in Belgium
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Kalaw, meet Joseph, our guide
In Kalaw you can choose between:
Mister Sam: the best known who has most of the tourists. He looked too polished, too businessminded. Afterwards, I heard from friends, he does a lot of charity for the local people.
Our guide, Joseph is a shy Indian who speak very good English. He is interested in your stories, only tells you what you want to know... Great guy.
Both ask 5 US $ per person per day
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Reaching Palaung village
The first ones to greet us when we reached the village, were children (always smiling and hyperactive).
Children though not dressed traditionally were everywhere!
Kalaw, local barber
We passed a few houses where a father was shaving his son's hair off.
I was afraid of my ponytail and didn't dare look
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