Road Trip to Kalaw
What is actually going on in Myanmar? You hear so little. And indeed, even if one cannot say that the situation has returned to normal, there has been a certain return to everyday life in recent months. There are still local disputes, especially in the northern regions, but the main tourist destinations are peaceful and ready to welcome visitors.
Reason enough for us to leave the big city of Yangon for a long weekend and make our way to Kalaw, a former British hill station in Shan State known for its mild climate. The drive past Bago, Taungoo and Nay Pyi Taw takes about 9 hours. There were a few checkpoints along the way, but otherwise no lengthy delays. (Alternatively, you can fly to Heho from Yangon and then drive about 30 minutes to Kalaw.)
It’s worth it, because when you finally reach Kalaw at an altitude of 1,344 meters after the hot temperatures in the central plain, you will be rewarded with fresh mountain air, evergreen forests and great vistas. The central market is as busy as ever and a meeting point for various ethnic groups who sell their wares there. If you’re considering visiting Kalaw in the future, be sure to make a stop at the market and also try a local noodle soup for breakfast.
In addition, a great deal has happened on the coffee front. In many places around town you can find cute, retro-style mobile coffee trucks. And in the town itself there are numerous options to enjoy a coffee at almost every corner, such as at Café Kalaw, the Maluca Villa or at the Café Dream Kalaw.
We recommend a minimum of two nights in Kalaw, ideally combined with a stay at the idyllic Inle Lake, just an hour and a half drive east.