The trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake took three days through beautiful countryside with multiple opportunities for cultural exchange.
We hired San San, a guide at Thiri Trekking Service, on arrival in Kalaw. We negotiated a daily rate (which included food and board) and left the next morning. San San spoke some english which allowed for us to ask her questions about Myanmar and the people’s we met along the way. She always had a big smile on her face, a good sense of humor and is very professional. I learned more from her about Myanmar in three days than the rest of the two weeks.
It wasn’t a particularly difficult trek (minimal altitude changes) but was challenging in certain areas simply due to the weather conditions. The rainy season had come and there were a couple moments of intense downpour leaving us drenched and then having to deal with the impact (muddy trails and impassible streams).
The trek brought us through multiple different tribal areas, communities mostly supported by agriculture. At night, we stayed with families in the village sleeping on floor mats. Our guide San San would cook us dinner at night and tea was a staple.
The accommodations were relatively rough, which was fine for us but some people may be turned off. Don’t expect modern plumbing or running water.
We felt this was a very responsible trek and allowed us to have unfiltered interaction and support the people of Myanmar. Would highly recommend San San, Thiri Trekking Service, and this trek!