Kalaw and around

On next morning after freezing night we moved to Golden Kalaw Inn, where we got a pleasant room on second floor with veranda for 8 dollar, very good breakfast was included too.


Kalaw we saw as a small and nice town without crowds of locals and traffic jams. It is very popular to do the trek from Kalaw to Inle lake (about 60 km), or just walk around for a trekking day. Every place in town can provide an information and guide. Prices start from USD 10 per day per person, depends on how many people in a group. We did not want to have any experience with local guides and we got a plan to do trek by our own. But, we was so unprepared: we had no warm cloth, no tent or sleeping bag, no even compass, nothing! We had not even maps, the only one hand drawing map in our hotel.

For shopping we had to wait market day, it happened every five days, the rest days it holding in some other villages. After we made the pictures of all maps we could find around, we went to day trek to View Point restaurant. The do some kind of test-drive of our abilities.
Trekking in Kalaw

It was very pleasant to trek there. We very fast finished the one part from Kalaw to View Point, where we rest a bit. The way back we took another another trail, and got lost. There are a lot of villages around and a lot of foot trails too. We lost for a about 10-15 km and realized this only at 6 pm. Hopefully we came back by night time. The plan to go trek to Inle Lake had crushed, but seems it was the right decision.

There is very good restaurant in Kalaw — Sam`s restaurant, where good is delicious and cheap. It is a family business and all of the family members are pleased to visitors, wonderful carries with complimentary deserts, yummy. Opposite the road there is Everest kitchen, restaurant of Nepali food. The prices are high, the food is not so testy, and no Nepali steaks.

All together we spent around 5 days in Kalaw, mostly because we liked this place very much.

The long way to Kalaw

Last evening in Kinpun we met a Russian traveler who told us, that he came to Kinpun from Bago by local pick-up (like songteuw in Thailand). He paid 2000 kiat for all trip.

In next morning we easily found local pick-up on the bus stand. The driver asked 4000 at the beginning, but finally he agreed for 2500 kiat from Kinpun to Bago.

Bago is very disty and noisy city. Just arrived we decided to leave as soon as possible to Kalaw. On the main road we bought two tickets in local travel agency for 12500 kiat for AC bus. The bus departure from bus station, where we went by motorbike.

After 20 minutes waiting on bus station we start packing our lagguage to the bus. The driver was ready to departure, and I got a brilliant idea to ask him where this bus is going to. He said that bus is going to Bagan, and he have no idea that we are going to Kalaw. We abandoned the bus and quickly went to the travel agency.

– Why you do not want to go to Bagan? – the Burmese guy looked very surprised — every tourist have to visit this place, it is beautiful and interesting, common! Otherwise you can go by this bus to Meiktila, where you can easily find a pick-up to Kalaw!

He gave us some more ideas and possibilities how to go to Kalaw, but none of them was about go to Kalaw directly.

We was so disappointed and angry, so we will never aver use any of tourist services in Myanmar again.

We have been lucky at that time, after 30 minutes came the bus from Yangon going to Taungiev with stop in Kalaw, with two available sits for us.

From Bago we was driving a few hours, and landscape was similar all the time — dusty, dry dessert. In a one moment we saw beautiful and bright (at was already evening time). Welcome to the new capital of Myanmar – Naypyidaw. Gorgeous buildings, best quality roads with electric lights(!), five-star hotels, and construction everywhere. This is the city of the Future of Myanmar.

We arrived to Kalaw in 3 a.m. Deadly frozen, the aircon in the bus worked full power and all night. In Kalaw was even colder. Ilocated in North of Myanmar in elevation 1320 meter above sea level, Kalaw have cool temperature in february, especially at nights. We had no ides about that and carried with us only tinny t-shirts. Knocked to Golden Lilly Guest House and asked only one question «Do you have blankets in your room», we finally went to bed.