Kalaw is a small, hill town located in the Shan State. It’s more popularly known as the jumping off point for the Kalaw to Inle Lake trek in Myanmar.
After completing the 3-day trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake, we created a complete guide that breaks down any questions you have to make sure you are prepared and prepped for the trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake!
3 Day Trek From Kalaw to Inle Lake
Jump Ahead To:
Getting To Kalaw
Like we said above, Kalaw is a small hilltop town located in Northern Myanmar. Regardless where you are coming from in Myanmar, a bus or a flight will get you to Kalaw.
- Bagan to Kalaw: Bus, Flight (check prices and timetables)
- Yangon to Kalaw: Overnight bus, Flight (check prices and timetables)
- Mandalay to Kalaw: Bus, Flight (check prices and timetables)
It’s also important to arrive into Kalaw the day before your hike. Make sure you get a good night sleep too! You have a lot of walking coming your way.
| Reserve Your Stay in Kalaw at Thitaw II now |
How To Book Your Trek?
You can book your trek directly with a trekking agency once you get into the town of Kalaw. Or, if you are nervous on getting the days you want, reach out to the trekking agency and book ahead of time via phone or email.
You should make a reservation a few days a head of time to ensure you lock in the dates you need.
Kalaw To Inle Lake Trekking Guide
We decided to book our trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake with A1 Trekking.
A1 Trekking was fantastic! Our guide was knowledgeable giving us insight about the villages in the Shan State as well as the flora and fauna of rural Myanmar.
Also, our chef for the trek was amazing! Tasty meals served three times a day. We really were taken care of and the kindness they showed us was typical Myanmar hospitality.
NOTE: After your trek, please tip your guide and chef. Tipping is always appreciated and a welcome financial aid to Myanmar families.
Kalaw to Inle Lake Trek Distance
You have two options when booking your Kalaw treck.
- Option 1: A 1 night / 2 day trek
- Option 2: A 2 night / 3 day trek
For this post, we are talking about the 2 night / 3 day trek as that is what we did 🙂
After the 2 night / 3 day trek is all said and done, you can expect to hike a total of 38 miles (61 kms) from start to finish. Start meaning in Kalaw and finish meaning Nyaungshwe, the township of Inle Lake.
Give or take, you can anticipate to hike on average about 14 miles (22kms) on the first day, 14 miles (23 kms) on the second day and about 10 miles (16 kms) on the third day.
Kalaw To Inle Lake Trekking Map
Depending on which trekking guide you book with, each trekking company may stop and stay at different villages, but the overall route will be the same.
For us, ours looked a little something like this…
- Day 1: Kalaw – Ywa Pu Village (22 km / 14 mi)
- Day 2: Ywa Pu Village – Pattu pauk Village (24kms / 15mi)
- Day 3: Pattu Pauk Village – Inle Lake Boat Ride – Nyaungshwe (16 km / 10 mi)
Kalaw To Inle Lake Trek Cost
If you are thinking this trek is expensive, you are WRONG. The trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake was actually one of our least expensive days in Myanmar.
The cost per person is $55 USD total making it average out at about $18 USD a day.
Please note, that the price could go up or down depending on how many people are in your group. For us, we saved about $5 per person (normal price is $60) for our group of 4.
What’s Included in The Trekking Kalaw Price?
The $55 a person covers the following in the trekking price:
- All our meals (3 days of meals)
- Two nights of accommodation
- Drinking Water
- Luggage transport from Kalaw to Inle Lake
What is not included are any additional soft drinks like beer and soda and the boat ride to your accommodation in Nyaungshwe.
What To Pack For The Kalaw to Inle Lake Trek?
You don’t need to pack a lot and what you pack should be light. The two of us got by just fine with an 18 liter flash pack each.
Items to pack are as follows:
- 1 pair of hiking pants / hiking shorts
- Fresh change of clothes for sleeping
- 2 moisture wicking shirts
- Trail running shoes
- 2 pairs of socks
- 2 pairs of underwear
- Tooth brush
- Hair comb
- Hair ties
- Face wash
- Dry-quick towel (to dry your face and hands after a wash)
- Jacket (depending when you trek, it can get pretty cold at night)
- Battery pack (to keep your gadgets charged)
- First Aid Kit
- Mosquito repellent
Kalaw to Inle Lake Trek Difficulty
This trek can be done by pretty much anyone in decent shape. No steep, constant inclines just gentle hills and majority flat land.
However, the days are long. If you have hip or knee issues, please know you will be on your feet for 7+ hours a day. If you are concerned, we suggest investing in hiking poles to help alleviate the stress from your joints.
About The Trek From Kalaw To Inle Lake
The trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake is a great way to get out into the hilly countryside of the Shan State of Myanmar. You’ll be away from the bustling cities and surrounded by nature. A welcome break after spending several days in Yangon and Mandalay.
Overall, you can expect to see beautiful scenery and kind, smiley villagers. You’ll pass through lush jungles, over rolling hills, ridge lines and farm lands. The landscape is so diverse and what you see over three days is just a treat for your eyes.
Day 1: Kalaw – Ywa Pu Village (22 km / 14 mi)
Rise and shine, it’s trekking time! We met our guide at the A1 Trekking Office and we we’re off hiking at 8:30am. There were 5 in our group – 4 hikers and 1 guide.
We started hiking through lush forests and mountain villages where we were greeted by children rushing from their houses. Friendly smiles and hellos and a bit of curiosity all rolled into one fantastic greeting!
Before we knew it, it was time to stop for lunch. A beautiful pit stop overlooking hillsides as we ate noodle soup.
After an hour or so of rest, we were back hiking down hillsides, over railroad tracks until we reached Myin Daik Train Station. Another resting point where we sipped some tea and watched trains come and go and local vendors selling their days harvest.
After our rest at Myin Daik Train Station, we carried on to reach out resting place for the night, Ywa Pu Village. We ate our first dinner and settled into our bamboo hut for a much needed nights rest.
Day 2: Ywa Pu Village – Pattu Pauk Village (24kms / 15mi)
You’ll be woken around sunrise to the the sound of the village coming alive. From roosters to friendly neighbors banter, there is no sleeping in on this trek.
Your second day of trekking is filled with the sight of local people tending their crops, herding livestock and preparing goods to be sold such as scarfs, dried spicy peppers and coffee beans.
You’ll pass water buffalo and cows and the occasion rickety truck steaming down an unpaved, bumpy road before reaching Pattu Pauk Village, where you’ll rest for the night.
You’ll in a families bamboo huts where you’ll sleep on mats, use outdoor toilets and if you so wish to shower, grab yourself a bucket and get refreshed with cold bucket showers!
Day 3: Pattu Pauk Village – Nyaungshwe
Your last and final day, the push to Inle Lake. Your 3rd trekking day is the shortest day (whew!).
Just like yesterday morning, you’ll wake and have breakfast before setting off on your hike. You’ll hike for a few hours until you reach the Inle Lake Zone where a payment is required to access the area further.
TIP: The Inle Lake entrance fee cost $10 USD. Make sure you have USD on you not Myanmar Kyatt.
After you pay your entrance fee, off you head towards Tone Le Village. It is here where you’ll break for lunch and say your final goodbyes.
After lunch, and at the end of your 38 mile trek, you’ll arrive on the banks of Inle Lake. Your guide will flag a boat down and have that boat take you to your accommodation, which more than likely will be on the northern side of Inle Lake – where Nyaungshwe is located.
Again, the boat ride is not included in your trekking fee so expect to pay the driver before you board.
Arriving in Nyaungshwe
Cruising on Inle Lake to your accommodation is a spectacular way to end the trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake! You get to sit back and rest those feet as the teak boat powers you through the freshwater of Inle Lake.
You’ll see fisherman catching fish and be amazed and the tall lake grass that sparkles among the days sun. The lake is surrounded by hills that perfectly cup the magnificent Inle Lake.
After about a 30-45 minute ride, you’ll arrive in Nyaungshwe where your next adventure begins, exploring Inle Lake!
Long story short, the three days you’ll spend trekking in Myanmar will be something you soon wont regret. Enjoy!
- For The Budget Conscious: Golden Lily Guest House is a rustic hill town accommodation in Kalaw. The breakfast is good and each rooms has a balcony that give you some pretty views. Perfect for a one night stay before your trek.
- For The Luxury Inclined: If you are looking for a colonial home with amazing views, clean and friendly staff and an amazing environment, look no further that Hillock Villa.
- For Something In Between: Thitaw II has a way of making you feel like you stayed in a gem location without paying for the gem location price. It’s quaint, cozy and run by a staff who is an absolute pleasure.
For The Budget Conscious: The Exotic Inn is a quaint family-run inn that offers free bike rentals and complimentary breakfast for its guests. To it’s clean rooms and comfy beds, you really can’t find a better bang for your buck at Inle Lake.
For The Luxury Inclined: ViewPoint Ecolodge is a the true definition of a spectacular hotel. A water-front oasis, this ecolodge comes equipped with exceptional service, a pool and private balconies. Truly a luxury stay on Inle Lake.
For Something In Between: The name says it all, Hotel Amazing Nyaung Shwe is just that, amazing! Boasting a beautiful terrace and gardens, Hotel Amazing Nyaung Shwe is a great pick for your Inle Lake holiday.
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– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)