Being a remote area of Myanmar, Kalaw is a popular destination for trekking and other adventure tours thanks to its special terrain and pleasant climate.
Located in the western Shan State, Kalaw is famous as a former British hill station. It is surrounded by green pine forest hills bringing refreshing climate and scenic views. There remain many original colonial –era buildings in Kalaw.
Kalaw offers a wide range of choices for exploration in which you are truly able to mingle into the wildness of nature which is not always possible in other parts of Myanmar. You could take a brief stroll to take in the tranquil atmosphere and enjoy the rustic charm of the hill views or colorful streets lined with beautiful flowers. For a deeper journey, you can enjoy a multi-day trek to Inle Lake or Pindaya to get an authentic insight into the local hill tribes. Now, let’s discover this beautiful region with Myanmar trekking tour.
Kalaw at a Glance
At the center of Kalaw, you can pay a visit at its vibrant local market where the native people in other surrounding hills gather together to exchange their products. Numerous restaurants and food stands can also be found at the market offering different kinds of food. This is maybe the most bustling scene of the town. Furthermore, tourists can see the magificent Aung Chang Thastupa in the center of the area with the body covered with silver and gold mosaics.
If you visit Kalaw in late October or early November, you can have a great opportunity to witness the stunning Tazaungman Full Moon Festival with street parades, music and fireworks.
Things To Do In and Around Kalaw
Kalaw is an ideal place for short treks in and around the region. If you want to take in the breathtaking views of the town and its surrounding hills, you can make your way to the TheinTaung Pagoda located in the north of Union Highway.
You could also take a leisurely walk south of the market to Hnee Pagoda where you can admire its hundred-year-old bamboo Buddha. Do not miss out the Shwe U Min Pagoda which is filled with a number of golden Buddha statues. During your walking, you may encounter some relics from British colonial times such as cottages or a religious monument.
If you are interested in eco-tourism attractions, a journey to the Green Hill Valley elephant camp is a great choice. It takes about 40-minute taxi drive from Kalaw. The camp is established with the aim of protecting local environment and taking care of old elephants. In addition, the camp is also a wonderful place for visitors to witness this lovely animal in their natural habitat. For hands-on experience, tourists are allowed to take a short ride on the back of elephants.
Kalaw is also a wonderful set-off point for long treks if you wish to explore further this untouched land. You can enjoy a two or three –day hike to get the real taste of life of different ethnic groups living on hills including Danu, Pa-O, Palaung or TaungYo. You can hire a guide around the market or at your hotel to take you around the surrounding areas to soak up the great views of Shan hills, peaceful fields and hill tribe villages.
Thanks to the convenient location, Kalaw is easy to be connected with other tourist attractions in Myanmar. One of the most popular long treks is the journey from Kalaw to Inle Lake – the jewel of Shan State. The journey may take you three day to complete and make sure to bring you an excellent experience.
Another exciting journey is taken from Pindaya. For an unique experience, we recommend you traveling by minibus or tuk-tuk to Pindaya for a panoramic tour of the town. On the way back to Kalaw, take a fabulous trek for two or three days.
How to Get to Kalaw
From Heho airport
Heho airport is located just 26 kilometers southeast of Kalaw. From the airport, you could take a taxi drive for around one hour which may cost you K45,000. To save money, you should book your taxi in advance through your hotel.
For other options, transfer by pick-up trucks or buses. These options are cheaper but less convenient and comfortable because you need to go to the town of Heho, located around 3 kilometers from the airport to be picked up.
There is a bus route from Bagan to Kalaw which leaves at 7:30 in the morning and arriving in Kalaw at around 3 pm. You should buy ticket as soon as possible to avoid overcrowd and get a comfortable seat.
There is a direct train from Yangon to Kalaw which takes around 26 hours including 5 hour stop in Thazi in the middle of the night. The train leaves daily at 11 am from Yangon and arrives in Thazi at around 2 am. After the rest in Thazi, it continues a 7 am and arrives in Kalaw at 1.15 pm.
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