Trekking in Kalaw
Trekking in Kalaw
by Sonia Hlaing on 12-Dec-2019
Myanmar is a country made up of beautiful natural landscapes, and there is no better way to fully witness this beauty than trekking. Trekking is an inexpensive, all-inclusive activity that lets you enjoy two different scenic locations and everything in between. If you want an adventure filled with stunning sights close-up, we recommend a Kalaw trekking experience!
Kalaw is a hill town located in Shan State, which is to the north of Yangon. Because it is located at a high altitude, you can experience fresh air and cool temperatures all year round. Known as a getaway from city life, you’ll find yourself surrounded by tree-lined streets, old colonial buildings, and kind locals of ethnic minorities.
The town is famous for its trekking opportunities, typically to nearby Inle Lake (home to the second-largest lake in Myanmar and unique stilted houses) and Pindaya. Should you choose to take on a Kalaw trekking experience, you’ll be greeted by these sights you can only find in Shan state.
Kalaw to Inle Lake Trekking
For those looking for an exciting and immersive look at Myanmar’s nature, a multi-day guided trek is for you! Treks with a tour guide will ensure that you get to see the most magnificent views of Shan state while not having to worry about your safety and basic needs. Tours come with arranged accommodation and meals. If you have luggage with you, you can have it transported to Inle Lake, waiting for your arrival from your trek.
As you trek along a winding path, you will encounter fields of local produce (such as chili, ginger, and corn), colorful meadows of native flora, tall pine tree forestry and rolling hills, and abandoned train tracks draped in foliage.
While Kalaw is still a relatively rural area of Myanmar, your trek will take you through areas inhabited by ethnic minority settlements. You will get to see locals donning traditional clothing, tending to their various crops, and crafting traditional trinkets. For your overnight accommodations, it will most likely be a homestay or a monastery stay - you’ll enjoy a taste of old-fashioned Myanmar hospitality!
There are several different routes offered by experienced guides. We recommend that travelers choose a trek that you feel you can handle. Trekking experiences can span between two to four days and vary in difficulty, meaning there’s an option for everyone. Depending on whether you’re new to backpacking or an experienced outdoor enthusiast, you should pick accordingly.
Tips and Reminders for a Happy Trek
Hire a local guide for your trek. There are various treks you can take, but most are off the beaten path. A knowledgeable local guide will keep you on track in confusing areas and make sure you don’t miss out on any places of interest. Also, they often have great stories to tell!
- Dress appropriately. Make sure you have sturdy hiking shoes, outdoor clothing, and rainproof gear (if you visit during the monsoon season).
- Stock up on electrolyte drinks! You’ll be tired and sweaty from trekking; electrolyte powder packets are a convenient way to stay refreshed on the trail.
- Decide when you will visit wisely. The winter months are optimal, while during the monsoon season, trails can get muddy and difficult to hike.
- During your trek, make sure you stop by the local eateries for Shan delicacies. Shan noodles and pounded rice are must-try dishes!
How To Get There
You can get to Kalaw from Yangon by bus, plane, or train.
- There are 2 scheduled buses daily that can take you from Aung Mingalar Highway Bus Station to a wet market in Kalaw (Approx. 10 hrs).
- From there, you can hire a vehicle to go to town.
- There are 10+ flights daily that can take you from Yangon Airport to Heho Airport (Approx. 1 hr).
- From there, you can hire a vehicle to go to town
- There are scheduled trains daily that can take you from Yangon Central Railway Station to Kalaw, with a stop at Thazi (Approx. 24 hrs).
- From there, you can hire a vehicle to go into town.
If you’re looking for an escape from the city, an adventure into nature, or a peek into Myanmar’s hidden travel gems, a Kalaw trekking experience is for you. Explore a timeless destination where the land and people are untouched by modern tourism and rich in history!