Kalaw – Inle Lake Trek | Magical Myanmar

One of the main highlights of my trip to Myanmar was the Inle Lake trek in July 2016. This beautiful trek takes you through some breathtaking landscapes and introduces you to the local life in the countryside. Tea gardens, cauliflowers fields, unsure buffalos and ever-so-smiling locals – this trek is just as precious as the whole country of Myanmar; unspoilt, respectful and worth visiting!! Describing the entire trek in words is hard. So, I am going to describe it through pictures. But, before that, here is some information that might be useful for you to make up your mind about the trek and make necessary arrangements.

  • Trek starts from this town called Kalaw. A beautiful, quiet town doesn’t have much to offer, but I would recommend you to spend at least a night here. You can visit the Pagodas, the caves and take a walk in the local street market. I stayed in this hostel called RailRoad Hostel. Clean rooms, good breakfast, nice balcony, and friendly staff. USD 10 a night for a single room including breakfast.
  • To book the trek, you can go to any travel agency, but Sam’s Family is the most reputed one in town. They are pretty experienced, well-managed and speak relatively good English.
  • You can either pick the 2-day or the 3-day trek. The people at the agency will give you a briefing to help you make a decision. The prices depend on the size of the group. More people you have, cheaper it becomes. We paid 40,000 Kyats for a 5-person group for a 3-day trek. That’s the minimum price as it doesn’t go any lower than that. It includes group accommodation in a homestay and seven meals during the trek.
  • Monsoon means unpredictable showers and mud. So, bring a good rain jacket and good hiking shoes.
  • Three days of hiking can be a little intense for some people. So, pack light and drink lots of water.
  • It’s a 60-km long trek. You walk 20 km the first day, 25 km the second and 15 km the third day. We started walking at around 8:30 am and arrived at around 2:30 pm the third day at Inle Lake.
  • The agency would ask you for the name of the place you have booked at Lake Inle as they bring your big backpacks to your hostel there. SO, make sure you have booked one before you leave for the trek. I booked the one recommended to me by the agency itself. It was called NK – The Little Inn and I paid USD 10 for a night including breakfast. The place was beautiful and clean with a big garden area, but Wi-Fi was pretty bad. To be fair, it was bad everywhere around Inle.

Here are a few highlights from the trek:

DAY 1
We had a slow start as everyone was trying to get used to the muddy pathway. Since everybody was a stranger to one another, there was a slight awkwardness within the group. Our guides were a couple of girls; one of them was the primary guide while the other girl was a trainee. After walking for around 20 minutes through the town, we finally entered the main trail and hence, our journey began.

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…. and the journey begins!

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There was some kinda accident on the way. Let’s take a closer look..
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Ouch…
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What’s a picture without monks and a football field in it while in Myanmar…

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The beauty of Myanmar..
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The Sleeping Elephant mountain!
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We walked over a railway track for a while.
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Trains in Myanmar are pretty old. That only adds to the beauty of this country.
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A train station we passed through and stopped at for a short tea break.
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Getting a closer look at simpler farming methods. Look how eco friendly this whole thing is… Bull might not be very excited though.
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The first village we stopped at. It was a cutie. 🙂
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Our homestay. It was pretty comfortable mainly because we were all really tired!
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Hungry Hippos! After the first day of hiking, all we wanted to do was eat. Look at all this amazing Burmese food!!

Day 2

After the much-needed sleep at the homestay, we were ready for our second day of trekking. It was supposed to be the toughest day out of the three days we were expected to hike. It began with a little walk up the top of a mountain. It wasn’t that steep but because of rains last night, the path was slightly more than expected. Some of us were not having a wonderful time walking through that muddy trail. But as soon as we made it to the top, we cherished the view from up there and celebrated our little achievement with a series of selfies! There was still five more hours of the walking left, but we were just happy to have been done with the mountain climbing. But, little did we know……

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It was a struggle.
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Yep.. there were a few moments like this one.
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View to die for!
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Oh Myanmar!
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People at work.
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Picture-perfect views don’t need no special skills.
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Where there are bulls, there are stupid tourists taking their pictures and of course, we are a part of that cult! 😉
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Simple-yet-tough.
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More food!!
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This muddy path stayed with us until pretty much the very end.
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Imagine living in a village like this. How cool would that be, right!!??
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They don’t go stingy with the food.

Day 3:
It was the last day of our 3-day hiking trip and also the easiest. We quickly had our breakfast and started off with a high spirit and a couple of Beatles songs in our heads. It was a beautiful day. We arrived in the Inle Lake area after 30 minutes of walking. We paid the entrance fee and continued walking for another 2 hours. Finally, we reached the lake. But it was still an hour before we arrived at our destination. But, luckily, we didn’t have to walk anymore as there was a boat waiting for us to take us to our finishing point. We weren’t expecting much from the boat ride, but it turned out to be exceptionally fun! It was a long, wooden motor boat and pretty fast one at that! The view was fantastic, and we were in love with Myanmar all over again. There was a whole world of its own in that lake; the fishermen, little kids on their way to school, women carrying vegetables on their boats, a clinic and a restaurant in the middle of the lake and whatnot! It was as serene as it ever gets. We hardly ever stopped smiling during the entire boat trip. Soon, we arrived at our destination, said goodbyes to our guides and thus, had a perfect, little ending to our 3-day, fun-filled journey through one of the best parts of Myanmar.

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Our last meal on our last day of hiking. One big happy family 😉
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Our last lunch during the trek was at this bamboo place. Not bad, eh?
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Walking through the forest. It was pretty cool, actually!
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So happy to see our ride aka THE BOAT!!
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We were excited for this much awaited boat ride!!
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The boat ride was one of the best moments of the whole 3-day trek.
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Some “attractions” in the lake.
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The lake is huge and beautiful. Period.
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Until next time!!!

Inle Lake Trek was a real, authentic experience during my entire Myanmar trip. It may sound a bit touristy to some people, but it’s still worth it. I would highly recommend this tour; doesn’t matter from where you book it. Go and explore the real beauty of this magical country.

Cheers!!

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Kalaw - Inle Lake Trek | Magical Myanmar by Rookie Travel Diaries
Kalaw – Inle Lake Trek | Magical Myanmar by Rookie Travel Diaries

 


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