“Hands down, the best thing I did in Myanmar was a trek” was what I kept reading on travel blogs while doing research for our trip to Myanmar. We were keen to do something a bit different on this trip, so it was settled – we were going to do a three-day 50 km trek through Myanmar’s hill country from the town of Kalaw to Inle Lake.
Fast-forward a few weeks, and during our first week in Myanmar we had fallen in love with this chaotic but charming country and its people. The trek was one of the things we were looking forward to the most on our trip, and the morning we got to Kalaw (following a horrible overnight bus and searching for our hotel at 4 a.m.) we signed up to do our trek.
The following morning we set off into the forest. Fortunately our group was small, with only four of us plus our guide Ilias (a Burmese-Pakistani ex-painter who could speak six languages and was trekking in worn-out sneakers and with a broken school bag). The forest was luxuriant and cool to walk through as we escaped the heat of the sun, and we passed by peaceful reservoirs, tea plantations, and grazing buffalo before reaching our lunch stop for Nepalese curry and a Coke at the aptly named ‘The Viewpoint’, which had a stunning view over rice paddies towards mountains in the distance.