Kalaw is a former colonial British hill station in western Shan State of burma (Burma), at 1320m above the sea level, 50 km from Inle lake.
Kalaw town is set amongst glamorous pine forests. Many colonial-era buildings constructed by British in Kalaw remain with various states of decay. They are quaint, eerily calm and seemingly undisturbed.
Kalaw blends influences of Indian and Nepalese culture. This region has a significant population of Nepali Gurkhas, Indian Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims who were brought to Kalaw by the British to build the railway line.
As an untouched and pristine region, trekking and visiting villages in Kalaw is an incredible way to acquire impressive experiences. These are some special places that you may trek in Kalaw.
++ Suggested tour: Trekking from Kalaw to Inle lake in 7 days with price start from $730/person
Trekking between Kalaw and Inle lake or to surround hills
From Kalaw, you can trek to Inle, setting foot on beaten tracks and getting tastes of the life of the local Danu, Pa-oh, Palaung, Shan and Taungyoe ethnic groups.
Hiking Kalaw is an endless series of ups and downs through lush bamboo and teak forests but none particularly steep. You will be impressed by striking cultivated land, pine trees, tea, cheroots, oranges, bananas, canola, loveable rice fields, corn, cabbages, eggplant, potatoes, other vegetables and expansive views of surrounding hills. On trekking roads, you will meet really non-touristy scenes of the local life, farming, cooking and even bathing. Children have impartial smiles, although they are carrying their siblings on their back. Young teenagers harvest tea leaves. Palaung people sing Burmese songs happily without understanding the words and making numerous mistakes. And it is fine if you are welcome to grow local trees for forest recovery.
Specially, along the street, beside villages, you can relax for lunch and spend night in monasteries. Going toward Inle lake, you can be overnight at Buddhist temples or local tribe farmsteads.
++ Suggested tour: Untouched Loilaw trek to Kalaw in 06 days with price begin from US$650/person
numerous local markets are rotating markets, typical outdoor markets, with nothing for tourists and everything belongs to locals like meat, agriculture products, herbs and spices.
Villagers from the surrounding hills come to the large central market in Kalaw town to sell their produce. There are plenty of attractive and cheap handy crafts you be able to buy. Most of the town’s restaurants and food stalls stand surround the market and propostion a wide range of food. Many dishes contain origin from India and Nepal.
Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp
Founded in 2011, this area has been well conserved view, and is a attraction of Kalaw travel. Local ecology, elephants and traditions of indigenous citizen are protected. Green Hill valley is the habitat of various birds, butterflies, orchids and bamboo forests.
Taking a splendid trek to Shan countryside in Green Hill valley, you may learn skills of the mahout (elephant driver) and carry knowledge about habit of elephant keepers. Joining in bathe duties for elephants if you want. Mahouts do not encourage elephant riding, but short rides can be carried out depending on the weather and health of elephants. Baskets must not be used on elephants.
Other unique locations
Also in the centre of Kalaw town is the Aung Chang Tha stupa, which glitters by silver and gold glass mosaics. You be able to head up to the Thein Taung Pagoda, which is in the northern Union Highway (the main road through Kalaw).
A pleasant walk south of the central market takes you to the Hnee Pagoda, where you will realize a 500-year-old bamboo Buddha, and the Shwe U Min Pagoda (Shwe Oo Min Paya), a cave filled with golden Buddha statues. On these steps in the surrounding hills, you will find reminders of British colonial times, like restored cottages and a different kind of religious monument – Christ the King Church. This is a good instance of active Christian worship in burma, with well known daily mass and Sunday services.
Kalaw has the Tazaungman Full Moon Festival, which takes destination in late October or early November, and features road parades, music and fireworks.
Trekking in Kalaw may be enjoyed at any time of year, despite cool season is the most agreeable. Occasional rain shower can makes the trek tougher a bit.
Joining a trek in Kalaw, you may stub a toe, catch a cobweb and perhaps slip in mud, but the rewards are spectacular scenery, the plain and silent village life or, well, just a lonely quiet moment hearing twitters of birds and far rumble voices gone with the wind reaching you.