The Shan Province of Myanmar is so incredibly beautiful. So beautiful that I have to think of other adjectives that don’t include the usage of the F word. I trekked from Kalaw to Inle Lake – a very scenic route through the countryside. This experience has solidified my belief that some of the nicest people in the world live in Myanmar – what a fantastic country!
After leaving Mandalay, which in my humble opinion, is totally over-rated, I made my way to Kalaw – a small town located in the mountains. The town only exists to serve as a trekkers mecca and the start of your trail to Inle Lake. The mini bus ride here involves 6 hours on a mountain pass with your lunatic driver overtaking trucks on blind rises – this does wonders for ones anxiety levels.
I joined a group run by Sam’s Trekking Agency (look for Sam’s Family Restaurant if you’re interested – I certainly recommend them and our guide, Oma). My group was excellent. We consisted of 2 Dutch, 2 German, an Englishman, and obviously the star attraction, being me, the South African. We got on like a house on fire (evidenced by the beer consumption on night one and the subsequent beer consumption following the trek). Sebastiaan is a pilot for a major European airline and as you may know, I’m fascinated with aviation. Now here I was, on a trek, with a walking aviation expert – fantastic! Thanks for putting up with my ‘do I really need to turn my phone off’ type questions buddy :-).
The trek meanders through gob-smackingly beautiful farming countryside. As it’s the dry season now, crops change to growing chilli’s, ginger and the like as opposed to rice in the wet season. As a result, you won’t walk very far without stumbling upon metric tonnes of chilli’s!
The people we encountered on the trek were the best. Such friendly, happy, lovely, nice people. A smile is never far away and almost everyone greets you (which really isn’t the case in other parts of Asia). The children are fascinated with the tourists and you’ll often hear a little kid shouting ‘Mingalar Bar’ (hello). It’s so cool! I flippen loved it.
A photo blog seems like the most effective way of illustrating the past couple days. I have to say though – if you’re looking for a 2017 holiday – seriously consider Myanmar. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!
Today marks 7 months since the beginning of my trip – I can’t believe it!
Cheers for now.