Kalaw – Myanmar’s Trekking Mecca
Kalaw is a resort perched at 1320 meters above sea level and located at the west end of the Shan plateau. It was established as a summer resort by the British during the colonial era for its mild temperatures throughout the year. This small mountainous town is surrounded by pine forests, mangroves, bamboo and misty mountains. Beautiful colonial buildings still remain on the hills and an old railway station evokes the past.
The market in Kalaw is a very colorful and authentic local market. The people of the villages and nearby mountains invade the covered market and alleyways with food and flowers. Around Kalaw and Inle Lake, the markets are held alternately every 5 days and there is no market in the full-moon days and the black-moon days according to Burmese Buddhist calendar.
This is an ideal intersection where we can see the members of the ethnic groups Palaung, Danu and Pa-O that inhabit the area. These ethnic groups are distinguished by the clothes they wear or their languages, traditions and type of agricultural products they grow. With fertile land, the people produce cabbage and potatoes, oranges and avocados, which are supplied to all markets of the country.
Prized with numerous mountains, surrounded by pine forests and bamboo, and above all diversity of ethnic groups drawing flocks or trekker, since then people called it ‘Kalaw- Myanmar’s trekking mecca‘. Travelers can spend one or two nights in Kalaw to enjoy the colonial atmosphere before starting a trek around Kalaw. Two-or-three-day treks to Inle Lake or Pindaya to go to Inle Lake or Pindaya are organized. Kalaw is a good starting point for many hikes in the surrounding hills and to the villages where the mountain people reside alongside the majority ethnic Shan. Beside the attraction of the beautiful scenery, hiking is also a cultural experience, the opportunity to dive into the authenticity of a primarily rural and mountainous country.
Kalaw is two-hour drive from Heho airport. This site is also accessible by road from Bagan crossing Mount Popa. This trip is nevertheless quite long (6-7 hours).