Myanmar Nice placeBurma Beautiful place
Quiet, picturesque place in Myanmar?
Of course I'm not looking for a real reproduction of Nong Khiaw, just something like that, a quiet, friendly place with a good atmosphere. During my last trip to Myanmar I recall that it was more of a problem to get everywhere, and the tourism facilities were good, but certainly not aimed at those looking for something pretty that opens up on the veranda of their guest house.
Since my last trip I have remembered that the main difficulty was to find suitable accommodation, because even then there were many more visitors than guest houses or middle class shelters. I was in Hsipaw and it was really beautiful, but this is probably the area I will jump over, cross or more logically the Phunaron/Htee Kee Cross.
Myanmar, the old UK top terminal community of Calaw, is considered by most to be the place to begin the very beloved Kalaw-to-Inle tree walk, much more than that. Chilly mountains blended with gorgeous pinewoods and a relatively gentle atmosphere make a great stop on your Myanmar-adventures.
Myanmar/Burma is a place that is quickly evolving, so some things (like prices) can be slightly different from what you see here when you leave. I' ve been spending many month in and around Kalaw between 2012 and 2018, and here's what you need to know to make the most of your stay there.
The rates are often quoted in Myanmar Kyaat, which is about 1350 kyaat / $1 US $ (more or less). The majority just come in the mornings or in the afternoons, walk through the city to organize a hike to Inle and start the next day at 8 am. Just a little more of your free day will really help you open up your adventure, and the fresh alpine breeze will be a nice respite from the unrelenting warmth you'll find in much of the area.
The only thing you can do here is wander to Inle, those who might tell you, would be to lead you wrong. It is a rather small city ( (though distributed between the hills), and you can get almost anywhere within 20-30 minutes on foot, although most dare not more than a brick or so from the bulk of the city.
As the city lies in the rolling countryside, it can be difficult to find your way around with the maps. The place that appears so near on a chart may be on the other side of the mound and requires a proper workaround. Nevertheless, you can never get astray in Kalaw.
Roads (especially those on the eastern side of the track in and around Kalaw are an ideal way to get away for an hours or two. Some places in the city where you can hire a bike. Remember that Kalaw is not a shallow place, so if you're not used to driving on a hill, it may not be the best one.
A motorcycle taxicab can also help you if you want to go to a near city ("Aungban"). While you may be able to find someone willing to hire you a motorcycle, remember that the major streets are getting a little more busy than they used to be.
When you plan to drive to the towns, the streets and trails (even outside the wet season) can be very bad. In the Kalaw area there are many excursion destinations and a rental vehicle with chauffeur is easy. In addition to the apparent trek (see below), there are several other things to do and see in the Kalaw area.
Situated in the centre of Kalaw, this picture is unmissable because it is made up of a thousand mirror glasses. The Kalaw Cafe is a beautiful stopover on the way there or back. Take a break on your 1/2 days tour to the view point. Aung Thant Soe Myint has the best possibilities for all kinds of MTB tours, from one to several days.
The Trek wheels are imported from abroad and kept in topform. Excursions to Lake Inle along the streets (all year round) or along country trails (dry period only) as well as several days of hiking and cycling. Furthermore, he is offering excursions of several days to Mandalay, Bagan.
From Kalaw, the campsite itself is about 45 minutes by road and ends as an all-day activities. Would you like to see more of the Shan Hills, but don't want to hike? The 4x4 tour adventure from about 100000k for a whole days. Most of these trips are not offered in the wet period (for apparent reasons).
The city of Pindaya is about 90 minutes away by automobile. Whilst it can be a beautiful place to stay alone for a days or two, most come to see the lime stone cavern, which contains over 8000 Buddha-paintings. It is also a beautiful street, especially in October/November, as it leads through a great deal of arable land.
The new Pindaya Apiculture Centre in Pindaya is offering pre-booked bee-keeping and honeys sampling sessions at its café on the outskirts of Pone Ta Loke Lake in Pindaya. Learn more about my Guide to Social Enterprises for Travelers in Myanmar. This is what makes it so famous, especially for the multi-day tour "Kalaw to Inle Lake".
Pineland enjoys enchanting countryside and temperature, making Kalaw perfect for short walks, especially because of its close vicinity to other favourite places on the itinerary. Weatherwise, the best time for hiking is in the arid November to February seasons ý the trails in and around Kalaw are not well signposted, so it is definitely best to check before departure.
Continue up the street to Thein Daung Abbey, but keep going ahead instead of turning right to the abbey. Many other hikes can readily be organized with a tour leader (typically ~$10/day/person), especially if you are organizing transportation outside Kalaw. Kalaw to Inle Lake is by far the most beloved and renowned hike in Myanmar.
During the high seasons (Nov.-Feb.) the number of hikers who start every single days has increased very rapidly in the last 5 years, with the number of hikers in Kalaw increasing to 200-300 from 50-80 or so a few years ago. It is not very hard to walk, but if the path is slippery, it will certainly be more of a challenge.
Most of the times you will be on unpaved tracks and country lanes from town to town. It will be much less enjoyable in the wet seasons (leeches!) or in the warm and arid summers (March / April). Usually there are two major options: The walks end on the western side of Lake Inle, typical Indein, where you take the ferry to Nyaungshwe.
We can arrange to have your baggage transported from Kalaw to your accommodation in Nyaungshwe. The best way is to reserve your trek (one or more days of Kalaw to Inle Lake) directly with the trek tour leaders and not in your own accommodation. The majority of establishments take 10-20% commissions, which means more cash in the pocket of the owner and less in the hand of the tour leader himself.
These are some of the hiking guidebooks and firms I have worked with personally: Your will find your offices on Hauptstraße in the city centre in the direction of Golden Kalaw. Opposite the baker's on the city' s high street. He is also strongly engaged in organising travel guidebooks in the Kalaw area to build a lasting tourist industry in Kalaw.
Contact him about the Inle Lake One-Day Trek. When you want the lowest price, Ever Smiles, Sam's Hiking and Golden Lily are the ones hurrying to the bottom of the cask. Thein Daung Convent on the top of the hillside on the opposite side of the motorway (north side) is an easy access point with a beautiful panoramic views of the city and the area.
Simply take the roofed staircase upstairs and take your freeze. As a good hiker, you can drive from the city to the World Peace Pagoda (see below). Though there are some beautiful 360 sights from up here, remember, it is more than an hours walking back to Kalaw, so make sure you use a headlight/flashlight so you can make your way back after nightfall.
Although it is not your usual "sunrise", I find that a stroll through the Hauptstraße in the mornings provides some very photo opportunities. For the best breakfasts in the city, visit the kalav-mart! Slightly the best place to eat in the city, this beautiful little place is run by Sandar, who was educated at a French cooking college and is only 20 minutes walking distance from "Downtown" Khala.
Thai restaurant is a small place on the hillside with a view of Kalaw. Thein Daung Abbey, take the roofed stairs and turn to your right at the Ever Smiling trek-signs. It is only a few moments on this "road" and to the right. I' m enjoying the poultry sherbet here, and it can also be a great place to observe the sundown.
The Dream Restaurant is located directly on the Hauptstraße in the city centre and only a few steps away from the Dream Villa Hotel. Over the years, I think it has probably been voted back to calm the range of groups in France that often fill the place. It is located on the northern side of the motorway, about 5 minutes' walking distance from the city centre, to the south.
The Pyae Pyae pasta store is right next to 7 sisters on the highroad. When you are looking for good, but affordable food, it may be the best place in the city. The Red House Restaurant is a relatively new restaurant here in Kalaw that wants to offer an overnight meal of traditional Indian food to those visiting the city.
Kalaw's high peak is also the arid November-February winterseason. In March and April it gets really warm when the hottest period of the year gets underway. The trail and road will be particularly dirty as it has probably not been raining for a few month.
May-September is the rainy period. Several of the streets are in poor condition at this hour of the year and the paths will be a muddle. At the same peculiarities, you will miss the masses of people in high seasons and may be able to bargain a better price for a guest house.
The majority of Myanmar's festivities take place during the full moons, the largest event of the month following the Tazaungdaing Fire Balloon Festival in Taunggyi. It is 25 minutes by road from Kalaw. When it comes to actually coming to Kalaw, there are a few choices.
Long-distance and overnight busses run through Kalaw (Mandalay, Bagan, Yangon, Pyay etc.) from almost every place in Myanmar every week. Earplugs are also a good wager, as often a film or noisy Myanmar sound is played (especially on the normal bus), which is about 5 min. and the next 6-8 hours is no time.
A small amount of running hot and cold running cold running hot and cold running cold is usually provided, and they stop every 4-6 hrs for a 30 minute stop /toilet break/meal and you have to get off the bustran. There is a central train terminal on the road and the tugs are looking for about 1000k-2000k/person to take you to your accommodation.
There are several departures a day from Yangon, Mandalay, Nyaung U and others to Kalaw (Heho). There will be a lot of saving in your itinerary and can be a practical way to get around, especially if you have a brief stay in the state. Kalaw is about 45 minutes by car from the Kalaw International Airports and it is simple to organize a cab there for about 20000 km.
As most places in Myanmar, the Kalaw Sea will be your greatest foe. When you are on the road with a tour leader over night, it is no longer a challenge to get more fresh air, but if you are on a daily tour, you may not be lucky. Anemia is not a big issue, but dengue / zika can be seasonal.
Although I cannot talk for anyone else, I can give you a little insight into how much I normally pay for a full working days in Kalaw. When you are looking for original presents made in Myanmar that are beneficial to the locals, visit the Clover Gift Shop family.
Her small store is located right on the Jungle King Trekking on Aung Chan Thar Rd. opposite the Parami Hotel. The RDS Fair Trade Store near the northwestern side of the Marktplatz and Hauptstraße is also open for visitors. Have a look at my Guide To Social Enterprise in Myanmar for more good places to help you on your journey to Myanmar.
For tourists, Kalaw has a cell tower cover with Ooredoo, Telenor or MPT. I have posted on Too Many Adapters to tell you more about cell phone in Myanmar / Burma, although the price is now lower (~1000k/GB) and the reliability and range are higher..... Burma is a buddhistic country with perhaps more traditional standards than you are used to.
As you may see other aliens in Myanmar in short pants and tanktops, you know that the behaviour is not respectable towards the people. I see you trekker to Inle..... Would you like to know more about your forthcoming journey to Myanmar or would you like help in arranging your itinerary?
Can I help you make your stay in Kalaw and Myanmar memorable. You can always join me on my Un tour to Myanmar if you are looking for a deep insight into the city.