15 days in Myanmar – Kalaw to Inle trek (Day 10-15)

Day 10/11/12: KALAW to INLE trekking 3 days 2 nights

The bus left Bagan around 7AM and arrive around noon at Kalaw. Just make sure you ask the bus driver to call your name because there is no indication and if you miss the stop, well you’ll arrive straight to Inle, so don’t fall asleep!

Myanmar_Kalaw_town in the mist

STAY:

A clean accommodation to refuel your energy before the trek.

Winner Hotel

Pyi Taung Su Road, Kalaw

Tel: 95 81 50025 / 50279

Mail: winnerhotel.kalaw@gmail.com

 

Kalaw is a slow paced little town with not much to offer. Most travelers gather here for the popular trek to Inle lake. There are few travel agencies operating the trek but none were as professional as Sam Family. It was an authentic experience but most importantly, their success will benefit to the community. They offer English lessons training and decent wages to their employee.

Sam’s Family also runs a restaurant with a savoury selection of Burmese, Indian, Chinese or Western food. Try the vegetable curry with chapati…yum!

 

SAM’S FAMILY RESTAURANT/ TREKKING SERVICE

Aung Cha Tha, Kalaw, Myanmar

3 days 2 nights

6 people max per group

Total = 40 USD (including luggage transfer to Inle hotel, food, accommodation, guide service, boat ride to Nyaung Shwe)

The owner helped us to book a hotel in Nyaung Shwe so we could get our bags in time once we arrive.

A guide and a cook stayed with us during the entire trek. Amazing fresh food, lots of different dishes and…. guacamole fresh off the tree!!

Myanmar_Kalaw_trek guacamoleMyanmar_Kalaw advocado trees

Tips for the trek:

1- Carry a head flashlight, you’ll thank me when you’ll try to find the toilet in pitch dark coutryside….

2- Wet wipes or baby wipes for shower

3- A silk sleeping bag

Myanmar_Kalaw landscape

Myanmar_Kalaw trek palaung ethnic minority

Myanmar_Kalaw Chili field
One of the main income for the Palaung villages is chili farming.
Myanmar_Kalaw train station
At the train station, you could get all the groceries you need without having to step out of the train.
Myanmar_Kalaw baby cutting tomatoes
Her little hands were hesitant while cutting the tomatoes. Child labor? she is just helping her mom
Myanmar_Kalaw flower girl train station
Flower business is also a good business with decent margin compared to the vegetables.
Myanmar_Kalaw draw me a kite
lots of brainstorming to create a kite
Myanmar_Kalaw trek kitchen
We were still very impressed by this kitchen that cooked meals for 8 people
Myanmar_Kalaw Palaung
a Palaung mom with the traditional orange head wrap

At the end of the trek you will take the boat and pass through the fascinating floating gardens.

COST:

– Lunch + Dinner: 3,200 kyats

– Kalaw hotel single room 1 night: 25 USD

– All included 3D 2N trek to Inle : 40 USD

– Nyaung Shwe hotel: 15,000 kyats

 

Day 13: INLE LAKE (Nyaung Shwe town) – Boat ride

Nyaung Shwe is a developing little town in the North East end of Inle lake, where you could find plenty of good value accomodation and food options.

STAY:

Richland Motel

No 13, Lanmadaw Main Road, Myo Lae Quarter

Nyaung Shwe, (Inle) Shan State

Mail: richlandinle@gmail.com

Tel: +9581 209249, +959 5148918

Sam’s family recommended this new motel and it was just what I needed after 3 days of napkin showers!

Clean, big room, laundry service, delicious breakfast, boat booking service.

DO:

Book a full day boat trip for 45,000 kyats per boat. You can share the fees with up to 6 people.

Itinerary recommended:

  • Nam Pan Market: This bustling local market is fascinating to watch in the morning. Have a seat at a local coffee shop near the pier and watch the shop owners unloading the boats. You could find all kind of souvenirs there…bargain hard, fancy some ox teeth hat? creepy!
  • Silk /Lotus fiber weaving: Very surprising technique to collect lotus fiber by cutting the stems.
  • In Dein pagoda: It’s actually the stunning boat ride to the In Dein pagoda that makes the trip worthy.
  • Ywarma floating market. Very popular stop where you could see the long neck on a show. A bit sad from a personal point of view.
  • Floating Gardens. An ingenious technique to farm using bamboo poles. Floating tomatoes, squash, cauliflower, fruits…my dream!
  • The pottery making village (Kyauk Daing) wasn’t entirely opened to the tourists when we visited. Frankly speaking nothing amazing. It’s far South of the lake, the locals will invite you for tea and teach you how to make pottery. Expect to buy some small souvenirs to thank your hosts.

Myanmar_Inle lake boat

Myanmar_Kalaw big chips

Tips:

1- Jump on the boat early, around 5 AM, you’ll be surrounded by a surreal morning fog and leg rowing fishermen.

2- Take a heavy jumper/ blanket / portable heater if you would like to survive the icy cold wind before the sunrise.

3- On the way back, you could feed the seagulls from the boat by throwing bread in the air. The birds will then stay above your head….wear a plastic bag.

EAT:

Everest Nepali restaurant

Kuaung Taw Annow Street, Nyaung Shwe

Delicious Nepalese curry with fresh juice.

 

COST:

– Hotel: 15,000 kyats

– Shared Boat ride: 4,000 kyats (full day)

– Lunch+dinner+snacks: 5,000 kyats

 

Day 14: INLE – Red mountain estate, night bus to Yangon

DO:

Have you tried Burmese red wine? On the East side of the lake, 20 min bike ride from Nyaung Shwe you’ll find this Vineyard. Located at 1,000 meter above the sea level, the estate was chosen to produce high quality local wines thanks to the region micro-climate (cool nights, sunny days). Started in 2002, the project is supervised by French and Australian experts.

I recommend to order the tasting of 4 wines samples. The view is good and the experience is interesting but not thrilling. The wine is quite average but I’m French, so you’ll judge by yourself.

Myanmar_Inle vineyard

Red Mountain Estate

Taung Chay Village group

http://www.redmountain-estate.com

Apparently there is a monastery you could visit, not too far from the estate.

 

EAT :

Htoo Htoo Aung

At the crossroad just before the little alley to the Everest restaurant.

A little gem! Excellent service, delicious Burmese/ Shan food in a cozy family-like environment.

 

COST:

– Bike rental: 1,000 kyats

– Wine tasting: 2,000 kyats

– Night bus Inle to Yangon: 14,000 kyats

 

Mingalaba! Chei zu tin ba de! 

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