Myanmar: Kalaw to Inle Lake – The Trek

The past 3 days has been consumed with walking, 4 to 7 hours a day over the roving landscape of Myanmar for the mandalay province to Shan state.

I know it sounds terrible right? What an awful way to start your last week in Myanmar, surrounded by lovely people from different countries, being welcomed into strangers homes and meeting their families while being fed the most delicious home-cooked food on a digital detox from everything Facebook. Just awful.

Ok I know, my sarcasm is terrible but I’m English and it’s the only wit I have.

Truth be told everyone I meet that does this trek is simply in awe of it and puts it as a highlight of their trip to Myanmar. Now I’m right there with them, singing the praises all the way.

Promise me if you find yourself in Myanmar you’ll do this trek. Pinky promise? Ok.

Arriving in Kalaw we made a beeline (after a recovery beer) to Sam’s Family Restaurant to book our trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake, I’d heard great things and the great things were well founded, not only does he help teach English to people from the surrounding villages he then employs them as guides so they can make a living for themselves and their families.

Zu our guide is one of these people. And he is instantly charismatic and lovable, greeting us all with a smile that literally takes over his whole face leaving his eyes sparkling like a mischievous child.

Seriously though, that smile

Seriously though, that smile

Sam himself is also quite a character with a similar lovable grin and kind nature, I just got a good vibe from this guy and instantly knew we were in for a good trek.

Waved off by Uncle Sam

Waved off by Uncle Sam

Our days were spent talking and laughing getting to know our new team, it always surprises me and leaves me smiling how when travelling you find friends almost instantly from groups that are just haphazardly thrown together. Groups perhaps in any other walk of life you’d never talk to, like a Spanish detective or Italian twins that live in France. This is the beauty of travelling and it keeps me hooked.

Good company, beautiful views, tasty food and a chance to learn about a hidden culture. Perfection.

In between all the laughs and talking was the silence, the silence that lasted hours but snapped by in seconds. A sensory overload as we walked through villages where strange old men came and gave us unripe oranges and smiles,or children followed us at a distance with their bike tyres as toys, where we came to hilltops to have the valley drop away to miles of tea plants or fields span out before us with uniform lines of crops.

In this post I decided to mainly fill it with all the beautiful things I saw and just hope they give you the same giddy, content feeling they gave me.

Children at a the 1st village playing with a cat before school

Children at a the 1st village playing with a cat before school

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Zu talking about how to make Green Tea

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Our first home-cooked meal … which was quickly followed by a nap

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Zu mixing the Thanaka paste they use on their faces

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Walking along the railway track

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Just walking the Buffalo

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Traditional weaving in one of the villages we passed through

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Processing all the chilli’s

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Making friends with the locals

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Traditional scarf weaving. (Typically I bought two)

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Chilli fields, miles of chilli fields

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My two favourite Italians

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Family dinner

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The sleeping quarters

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Morning preparation

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Sunrise in the Countryside

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An old crumbling Temple

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The final team photo

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Arriving at Inle Lake

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Our first glimpse of the fishermen at work… not posing for once

Zu: Call him!!

Zu: Call him!!

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