Myanmar

Trekking from Kalaw to Inle Lake

After a very long over night bus from Hsipaw to Kalaw, we made it in the early hours of the morning to kalaw. Wandering the streets with our backpacks searching for our accommodation, it was really blissful, no noise from the general hustle and bustle of the streets in Myanmar.

We had decided to wander around searching for the best trekking company after checking in, already with some knowledge of recommended companies:

We decided to sign up with eversmile treking, with a good history we felt confident that 40,000 kyat each (31 dollars) , for 2 nights accommodation in locals homes, 3 meals a day and a boat trip at the end along with transporting our luggage to our hotel it was definitely cheaper than the regular travel.

The next morning we were overwhelmed with the amount of people set to do this trek, I know in recent years it has become one of the must dos in Myanmar. The organisation was a little random, as one member of staff just counted a bunch of us and said your are one group. So a group of eleven and our guide Moe Moe, we set off straight away. It was a nice mix of people from across the world, four of us from the UK, three spanish, one female from Argentina, one aussie girl, markus the only german which made him happy and one guy from the Czech Republic.

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The first day we hiked out of the town Kalaw , across rice fields, through forest and over some river crossings. This involved us taking our shoes off, due to the recent rain it made various parts quite muddy and slippy.

Our lunch stop was enjoyed along a moutain side, with increible views into a valley of the Shan state. Lunch was an indian cusine which was yum, nan bread, pumpkin chutney, avocado salad and fresh fruit all home made.

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After a nice stop we continued along a muddy track which offered beautiful views, passing many locals, full of smiles and hellos, we came to our first village. They were building a new school here and we had been advised to bring school materials for the students, honestly they were extremely excited recieving pencils.

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Part of day one we hiked along one of the rail lines, with a constant fear of a train coming I had a back up plan where to leap just in case. The weather was very kind to us during the day, still farely hot, we were glad it wasnt raining.

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Arriving at our place for the night it was already very dark, only 6pm but felt like it could of been midnight, we set up camp in a basic building where a mat and blanket was offered to us.

Markus and I got first dips on the shower, a hut outside, with a huge basen of cold water and a tinned bowl to wash ourselves. Nothing could of felt more refreshing.
Dinner was amazing, and very generous with many dishes to choose from, it was impossible to leave the table feeling hungry.

Waking around 615pm the next morning, after a rough night sleep, even though all going to sleep early, we had a lovely breakfast of pancakes and fruit before we set off early.

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The track was extremely muddy from all the rain, gaining around 1/2 kg of mud on our shoes, the tempertaure was already rising well, despite only being 8 am in the morning.

It was set to be another lovely sunny day, passing colourful landscapes, which reminded me of the English countryside. All in high spirits, even the ones with blisters, it was nice how well we had bonded as a group. Our guide Moe Moe, was funny, informative, helpful with a great knowlege of the area and his english was very good.

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With a few tea stops on route, and another lovely lunch enjoyed in a locals home. We all had a nice break here not wanting to continue but to enjoy a little nap.

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This track offers rewarding views over the shan state, lovely lush green landscapes with mountain’s in the background, the terrain is mixed, but often harder due when slippy and muddy from rain.

Our second night was spent in a little bamboo hut shared all together. We were fornunate to have a little shop next to us selling, snacks, fizzy drinks and even some local rum.

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This area we got to see many locals passing us in the evening with there herds of cows and some stopping to allow the animals to have a bath in a little pond.

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During the night we experienced non stop rain and were woken to heavy rain, this day was not going to be easy, with four of our group pulled out for various reasons the rest of us prepared ourselves with waterproofs and trekked on.

The rain made it a little more challenging and often felt very cold. Many vehicles passed us filled with tourists, who had given up the trek and opted to get to Inle by car. Our group remained strong and optimistic to finish the trek by foot.

The last part of the the trek was very difficult. Climbing and stepping over slippy rocks, majority of the group fell on their bum.

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Group photo on the final day

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Going through the jungle it was very humid and so many insects it was not pleasant and we avoided stopping. I was constantly paranoid of snakes, especailly after Moe Moe told me they liked the rocks which we were passing.

After many hours going constant down hill, the lake was in sight, I never felt so happy.

Two and half days of trekking we had reached Inle, so thankful it has finally stopped raining we enjoyed lunch at a restaurant before setting off on a boat across Inle lake. A very brief goodbye to our guide he was really great.

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The boat ride was a great experience but very noisy , a private boat trip can cost around 200 dollars so it was great that it was included in the trip.

Passing mountains either side of us and green vegatation which I believe they grow all sorts in it took around an hour to reach the main town along the lake.

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