A recommendation from my cousin who recently visited Myanmar was the trek to Inle Lake. While searching the Internet for information gave me an idea as to what was in store for Maddy and I, nothing could prepare us for the raw beauty we experienced on the journey.
An overnight stay in Kalaw and an 8:30AM departure time was our known timeline. We met our Trekking agent at his shop front to be picked up and taken to the starting point which was a half an hour drive outside Kalaw. We had opted for the 2-day trek rather than the 3-day due to our budget. The 2-day trek cost us $35AUD each, which was extremely good value in our eyes considering the cost included lunch on both days, accommodation and dinner on day 1. The only extra cost that wasn’t covered was the water we bought along the way.
We arrive at the starting point, which was essentially somebody’s front yard, they offered us green tea as we sat and waited for our group. Once our group arrived we introduced ourselves and set off. Having not fully broken in our Timberlands, a lot of movement inside the boot was surely going to wreak havoc on our heels. However with this in mind (the entire time) we continued.
Walking through the rolling hills and small villages in central Myanmar was as good as it sounds, having been blessed by a cloudless 28 degree day made this first day even better. In the distance you could see farming plots of different colours and shades, when walking through a red field you found chilies a light brown, corn, light blue was something I wasn’t familiar with until our guide Johnny pick a dried flower from the plant and crushed it in his hand to find sesame seeds. The hills and farms seemed to go on forever. Lunch was around 12PM, which partly consisted of the fresh vegetables grown in and around the village we had stopped in. At 2PM we left for the last part of the days walk, not long after lunch as the mood dropped, fatigue set in and we were god knows how long from or final stop everything got a little harder. A steep ascent together with a boot full of blisters it’s fair to say our second half of the day wasn’t as memorable as the first.
We arrived at a small village at around 4PM, our guide pointed to a bamboo hut which we soon realised was our room for the night. Complete with 4 beds on the ground, and a bunch of blankets at the foot of the beds. We had been made accustomed to having poor or no Internet in Myanmar. Here there wasn’t any electricity. Actually I lie; there was solar powered lighting between 6 and 9pm in our hut and the town general store/bar/restaurant/someone’s house. We stuck to playing cards and drinking until “lights out” at 9pm with our new found friends, shall we call them the Canadians and the Swiss girls. Local puppies struck Maddy by surprise on a midnight bathroom stop which was followed by a frantic search for antibacterial cream as she was unsure if her furry little friends had licked her open blisters. Rabies was sure to ruin the final day of the trek.
We woke from our slumber at 7am and were treated to pancakes and fruit for breakfast. We set off on the final day of the 58km walk at around 8:30am. The walk to Inle was a matter of putting up with the pain in our feet and viewing beautiful scenery. Slipping back from the group and soaking in the COMPLETE silence was far better than any sound I’ve heard, there was no noise pollution in this valley although we had better get a move on because our group was full of extremely fast walkers and we were already behind. At the first sign of water we stopped for lunch, which was followed by a boat ride to Nyaung Shwe. The sheer size of Inle Lake was truly breathtaking not to mention it being completely surrounded by lush green mountains. The boat ride from start to finish was around 1 hour, this was definitely enough and we could both see those chilled ($2) Myanmar beers in sight.
All in all, the entire trek was a good warm up for our plans to complete Machu Picchu in late 2016. It was definitely worth doing for those of you heading to Myanmar and one of the highlights of our trip so far.
Check out the video below for a snapshot of the trek.
Foreign Formula – Indian Summer
Buy it now