Trekking in Shan Hills, Kalaw to Inle. Village life in Myanmar!

Previous post: Bagan. Pagodas and 1,000 years of history

February 1, 2018

Who needs an alarm clock when you can awaken to monks chanting at 5 am? After packing up and enjoying a very hearty breakfast, we met our guide Cunjo and set off on a two day trek. We walked along a dirt road, sometimes path through farmland and villages. At one village a lady weaving bags served us tea and let us use her washroom. Farmers were harvesting the winter crops of chilis, peanuts, ginger, garlic and cabbage. Ladies were busy gathering wood, carrying water, drying chili peppers and peanuts, and gathering manure for fertilizer. We stopped at a village school and watched some primary kids enthusiastically singing the alphabet in Burmese

Lunch was provided for us by a lady in her home. Noodles with a fried egg, ginger and mustard leaf soup, avocado salad and an assortment of fruit along with a can of coke. Her husband entertained us with stories and San interpreted.

I hadn’t been able to eat much lunch as I was suddenly not feeling well and kept trying to sip water to stay hydrated. By early afternoon we’d shed several layers of clothes and were down to shorts and tee shirts.

The walk was interesting and varied and all the people we met in villages along the way friendly and welcoming. Within an our of days end I was feeling so miserable I had to stop for a bit. Kindly Cunjo took my bag and San my camera so I could walk the rest unencumbered. One foot in front of the other and I made it.

Our host had made up mattresses in the upstairs of her two story home for us. After an hour rest, San took us on a tour of the village. People live VERY simply in the mountain villages of Myanmar. There’s no running water. In fact they go to the river and carry it back in big jugs. Some homes have electricity provided by batteries or solar panels. No one has heat and it gets cold at night (0 C is not unusual). Many have buffalo living in the downstairs while they live upstairs. Everyone has an outdoor squattie which I’m finally getting comfortable using in that I can now hit the hole and not pee on my shoes.

By dinner time I felt so miserable I couldn’t even eat soup. I went to bed and San covered me with blankets and gave me an electrolyte drink. It felt like altitude sickness. Nobody else suffered from it but I guess I could just be really sensitive.

I slept fitfully, worried that I wouldn’t be able to finish the trek. By morning though, the waves of nausea had passed and I was able to eat breakfast. YAY!!

Monks enjoying some free time

Winter spider

Magnificent views everywhere and a really varied path

Weaving and making the bags they all use

He’s NOT happy to have a shower. It’s cold out and the water is COLD!

Everyone goes to school

The red field behind is chili peppers

See the tree growing out of the stupa on the left?

Harvest is done so he gets a break

Gathering manure for fertizler

Making baskets used for many things (photo credit to San while carrying my camera)

Carrying hay for animals


The walk day two was just as interesting and very different. More of it was downhill. Villagers again were happy to see us and very welcoming, all of them fine with having strangers take their pictures. The views were again magnificent with landscapes dotted with red fields of chili peppers

Farmland changed to a rocky, red landscape not good for growing anything so there were no people. Then we started to go down some more over rough terrain of rocks through jungle and forest.

Altogether we walked about 40 km in two days.  None of us had any muscle pain or anything so we figured we’re in decent shape after all 😀

Chopping hay for feed

Babies are tightly wrapped for 7 months to strengthen their bones

Carrying water jugs to the village

Hi wife is having a baby so he’s cooking at his parents house

Typical outhouse

Our accommodations for the night. Simple, yet comfortable and LOTS of blankets!

Kids on their way to school don’t look any happier about it than ours

Women off to work

Women chatting with women. We have more in common than differences.

Drying peanuts

Taking a break

Village greeters

Banyon tree is highly esteemed as Buddha sat beneath one to meditate a lot

Jungle path going down would be really slippery in wet season

Stray Asia, Myanmar tour

5 thoughts on “Trekking in Shan Hills, Kalaw to Inle. Village life in Myanmar!

  1. Pingback: Bagan. Pagodas and 1,000 years of history | Where in the world is Grandma?

  2. Pingback: 3 days in Yangon, Myanmar | Where in the world is Grandma?

  3. Pingback: Inle Lake, floating farms, acrobatic fishermen and fascinating villages | Where in the world is Grandma?

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