Trekking always offers the opportunity to not only experience the surrounding nature and landscape but also gives an insight into local people’ lives and cultural traditions. In Myanmar, I chose a two-day trek connecting Kalaw to Inle Lake, a trek leading through mostly agricultural land, passing through villages of different local tribes. While there are more scenic and beautiful treks further north in the Hsipaw region, I didn’t have the time on my short trip to move up there. This little trek, while “only” leading through chili and ginger plantations and dried-out rice paddies, was all the more beautiful on a cultural level. Passing through about 10 different villages, observing the locals going about their every-day life, learning about their crops and harvesting traditions, playing with the children, spending the night in a monastery in a remote mountain village – this trek created so many dear-to-me memories I will never forget.
I chose the agency “Jungle King” for the two-day adventure since they use a different route connecting Kalaw to Inle Lake. There are quite a few agencies offering those treks and a lot of backpackers are embarking on this endeavor. While hiking, we were always on our own and the locals did not seem to be bothered with us passing through the villages. And I have to add, the food was excellent, thanks again to our wonderful cook!
As I said before, and as you will see on the pictures, landscape-wise the trek is not very interesting, and, although they claim that you will cover 50 km in total, we didn’t walk more than four to five hours per day (which especially on the second day, was more than enough under the scorching heat). However, once you prepare yourself and are not expecting any NatGeo cover landscapes, it is a beautiful trail with a lot to see. I enjoyed observing the children play or seeing how they build their houses, tended to their crops, treated their animals (especially the old man who washed his buffalo in the river) – in short, get a glimpse of their lives.
The Burmese people are so gentle and loving, towards each other, towards their animals and livestock, also towards us tourists. I felt deeply humbled during this trek.
A Burmese gas station…
Pa-O women tending to the chili harvest…
Always being greeted with a smile…
I couldn’t even believe it – the buffalo loved every second of it!
Building a house – a laborious process involving the whole village
He was very shy – but loved the clementine I gave him!
A natural talent – the best photo model!