65 km by foot – Kalaw to Inle Lake

One of the first things I’ve been recommended for Myanmar has been the Trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake. As soon as I heard about it I was sure this gonna be fun but I could have never expected it to be as amazing and special as it finally ended up.Bus or Trek?

No doubt Inle Lake is definitely a must-see in Myanmar and there are numerous buses going to Inle Lake from almost everywhere. But literally everyone I’ve met recommended to do the 65 km trekking tour from Kalaw to Inle Lake leading through all kinds of different landscapes and nature that Myanmar has to offer.

Which company?!

There are plenty of companies offering this trekking tour and pretty much all of them start around the same time in the morning (around 9 AM) and kind of following the same paths. But still there are differences in what the tour offers. Besides the fact that I’ve got more than one recommendation for this company the key aspect to picking JungleKing was the accommodation option offered by them. While most companies offered two different homestays along the way, we preferred the option to stay one night in a homestay and one night in a monastery.

2 days or 3 days?!

The distance can be covered in either 2 days or 3 days. In my opinion the trek is only worth doing when you have time to enjoy it therefore I would recommend the 3 days option. Around 20-22 km a day is easy to manage and the landscape is too beautiful to rush through it.

Day 1

Our tour started at 9 AM with 8 people (excluding the guide) heading south-east of Kalaw. We achieved half of the daily distance by noon and had a lunch break up in the mountains. The cold of the early morning was already forgotten and everyone started getting rid of as many layers as possible to keep on going in the boiling heat of Myanmar.

Passing cows, temples, locals and endless numbers of chili fields along our way we reached our homestay for the night by 4:30 PM right on time to watch the beautiful sunset while having some delicious tofu chips.
The homemade dinner was awaiting us around 7 PM and after everyone literally stuffed themselves up with these indescribable delicacies we went to bed right away. Covered with the heaviest and thickest blanket I’ve ever slept in as an exhausting but wonderful day came to an end.

Day 2

Quite well rested and ready for another day we got up very early (around 6 AM) to enjoy the sunrise and the chilly but pretty morning glaze, having a super delicious breakfast (filling us up again) and getting our already tired legs ready for another day of walking.

Hiking up the mountains in the golden light, watching the mountains being covered in the magical fog of the morning was just stunning. Basically we followed some uphill and downhill paths, crossed some fields of ginger, chili, turmeric and corn and made our way to a cold but clear river for having a refreshing cool down. Also this is a nice chance to have a ’shower‘ as the bathroom opportunities during those days are limited.

We reached our accommodation – a monastery – by 5 PM and enjoyed another nice sunset right before dinner was ready. I am still figuring out how the food along this trip could have been so amazing and delicious. With a full belly we crawled under our massive blankets around 8:30 PM bracing ourselves for the last day of the trek.

Day 3

After having another incredible breakfast, eating too much again of course, we left the monastery early at 8 AM to start our last day of trekking. Our guide offered us the opportunity to choose a different route to avoid the crowds along the way. As we haven’t met too many other groups during our first two days it was easy to convince us to take the alternative route. Although it was supposed to be a shorter distance it was also meant to be more adventurous and interesting than the standard route. And we definitely all agreed on making the right decision.

We had to climb along a slippery waterfall, trek up a steep mountainside and wandered along a scenic river. After climbing another mountain we got a shuttle to the lunch point for our last meal. Completing the tour full of breathtaking views and unique moments with a boat ride across Inle Lake has been a perfect end. Enjoying the breeze in the light of the setting sun, watching the rolling past floating houses and gardens, the marshes and the

Mission completed

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After walking 65 km it is an amazing feeling to finally reach your destination. I can warmly recommend this tour to everyone curious about the different scenic landscapes of Myanmar. The trek is definitely achievable even without any prior trekking experience.

Packing List
  • Sneakers/trekking shoes
  • Warm clothes for the evening
  • one bottle of water (there are several shops or refill spots on the way)
  • torch
  • toiletries
  • tissues/wet wipes
  • hat, sunglasses, sunscreen
  • swimsuit
  • powerbank – there was hardly any electricity in the homestay and the monastery