We never imagined that we would be cold in Burma, but then we got to the town of Kalaw. Its a beautiful little town, high in the hills (mountains?). So at night, when the sun goes down, it gets cold. Its the first time on this trip that we did not have enough warm clothing. A warm jacket would have been nice.
From Kalaw we took a 3 day, 2 night trek to Inle Lake (pronounced Inn-lay). It was about 63km of trekking, give or take.
The Kalaw-Inle trek is not arduous trekking, but there were plenty of ups and downs. Much of the trekking was through agricultural areas, and more than a few times we had to get off the path to avoid water buffalo or ox-carts.
By the time we reached our destination on Day 1, it was around 6pm and the sun was dipping below the horizon. We stayed in a house in a small village. All the trekkers in our group (6 Canadians, 4 Argentinians, 1 American, 1 French, 2 Germans) slept in the same room of the house, with mats and blankets laid out for us.
Day 2 was mostly through farmland, with incredible views of the countryside. Its the dry season right now, and no rain is expected until June. The paths are pure dust, and we were covered in it after the second day.
We passed lots of farmers in fields, and families in villages. The people don’t have much, and they work very hard. The sun during the day is brutal, and they’re in the fields all day working. But everyone seems happy, with waves and smiles as we went by. We haven’t learned many words in Burmese but we do know the popular greeting “mingalaba!”. We don’t know if it’s spelled that way, but that’s how it’s pronounced. Throughout the trek we were constantly greeting locals with “mingalaba!” And without fail, we heard it back and got a big smile. Maybe it’s the Buddhism, which seems to teach happiness, kindness, and the concept of good (and bad) karma.
Once we reached our village on the second evening, we were dusty enough that a bucket shower sounded like a good idea. Turns out it was a very cold idea. Later, evening number 2 was spent around a campfire, with our guide and 2 other Burmese men playing acoustic guitar. Zha played us a song he once sang outside the house of the girl he likes, in the hopes she would hear it and come out for him. But unfortunately only an old woman came outside.
The Day 3 trek was shorter, and mostly downhill. Our feet were aching to reach our destination. We finally reached Inle Lake around 1pm, and our feet were glad for it.
Just like in Canada, February 14 in Burma is Valentines Day. So to celebrate we cycled to a local winery with our new friends Dan and Carly (from Toronto), who we met on the trek. The wine was ok, but the views were incredible and the setting was just really unexpected.
By the way, if there is anything you’re curious about and think would make a good post please let us know. We would love new ideas for blog posts, so they aren’t all just “we went here, did this”, etc.
– Doug / February 17, 2017 @ 9:50 am / Bagan, Myanmar