Travel Myanmar | Kalaw
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Fascinating Facts

  • Kalaw exhibits the heavy influence of the colonial period. The colonial-era buildings with time-old train tracks take tourists back in time.
  • People from ethnic groups living in the surrounding hills participate in the Kalaw market once every five days. During those days, the market becomes busy and vibrant.
  • Kalaw is the centre for most of the trekking activities in Myanmar. There are a variety of trekking routes, the longest being the 3-day walk to Inle Lake.

Fascinating Facts

  • Kalaw exhibits the heavy influence of the colonial period. The colonial-era buildings with time-old train tracks take tourists back in time.
  • People from ethnic groups living in the surrounding hills participate in the Kalaw market once every five days. During those days, the market becomes busy and vibrant.
  • Kalaw is the centre for most of the trekking activities in Myanmar. There are a variety of trekking routes, the longest being the 3-day walk to Inle Lake.

Kalaw

A small hilly town located in the Shan State, Kalaw takes a traveller away from the tropical heat of the country. This quaint town is away from the general tourist crowd and offers pristine beauty, unspoilt by human intervention.

This old British hill town is the centre for many trekking activities of the country. The town itself is small and can be covered within half an hour’s walk. Kalaw has several trekking routes which takes one through the scenic Shan Hills.

History

During colonial times, Kalaw was used by the British to escape the hot weather of the country. This small town exhibits a heavy influence of the colonial era with British colonial buildings and train tracks that date back to that time. The surrounding hills of Kalaw are also home to several ethnic groups such as the Palaungs and Danus, as well as the many people of Indian and Nepalese origin who came to the country in search of work. Hence, Kalaw exhibits interesting cultural diversity.

History

During colonial times, Kalaw was used by the British to escape the hot weather of the country. This small town exhibits a heavy influence of the colonial era with British colonial buildings and train tracks that date back to that time. The surrounding hills of Kalaw are also home to several ethnic groups such as the Palaungs and Danus, as well as the many people of Indian and Nepalese origin who came to the country in search of work. Hence, Kalaw exhibits interesting cultural diversity.

How To Get There

Regular trains are available between Kalaw and Yangon. The train station is located only half a kilometre away from the Kalaw city centre.

Buses are available between Bagan and Kalaw. It leaves Bagan at 7.30am and reaches Kalaw at 3pm. The buses are usually overcrowded. Hence, it is advisable to buy your ticket early.

Kalaw is located about an hour’s drive from Heho airport. Heho airport is well-connected with the rest of the country and taxis for rent are available outside the airport.

Top Attractions

Kalaw is surrounded by stunning green hills on all sides which presents a spectacular view. The town itself is pretty small with a bustling city centre and market with the best food joints in the town. Ethnic groups from the surrounding hills participate in this market once every five days. On these days, the market transcends into a bustling place where fresh local produce is sold and purchased.

 

Aung Chan Tha Zedi Pagoda is located in the city centre, which gleams in the daylight as it is covered in gold and silver-coloured glass. A 20-minute walk will take you to a temple with a 500-year old bamboo image of Buddha. You can climb up to the Thein Taung Paya Monastery to enjoy a panoramic view of the entire town.

 

Kalaw is mostly used as a destination to enjoy treks through the Shan Hills. These routes vary in difficulty level and take from half-a-day to several days in length. The most common trek involves travelling to Inle Lake, which takes 3 days to complete. If you are not much of a trekker, you can hire a motorbike from the market and ride around the winding roads.

Things To Do

TREKKING

Enjoy treks through the scenic Shan Hills. Several hiking routes are available from Kalaw with varying difficulty levels and vary from half-a-day to several days in length. You will be able to visit hill villages and explore the best of the local life, the most popular being the trek to Inle Lake.

MOUNTAIN BIKING

Biking lovers can hire a mountain bike and enjoy a ride through the spectacular hills. The winding roads take you through the lush green hills, making it a fun way to explore and visit Inle Lake. Bikes are available for rent at shops in the market.

GREEN HILL VALLEY ELEPHANT CAMP

Located a 45-minute drive away, this ethical elephant camp is a fun way to spend your day. You can bathe, pet, feed the elephants and their habitat. The elephant camp also serves authentic and delicious traditional lunches. It is a good option for a day trip from Kalaw.

ENJOY THE SUNRISE/SUNSET

When the sun goes down slowly behind the green hills, Kalaw is transformed into a picture-postcard place. Adore the amazing sunrise or sunset from the Thein Daung Monastery located on the top of the hill, or the World Peace Pagoda. Both of these places offer a 360-degree view of the surrounding hills and town.

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