AsiaMyanmarKalaw

Trekking from Kalaw to Inle Lake (60kms) Day 2

Kalaw Travel Blog

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Khin Zin Chew riding her favourite buffalo!
People i met here who contributed to, and improved my trip: Julia (Russia), John (Myanmar)

It was a cold early start to Friday morning as the dew was still fresh on the grass and the buffalo's were munching their way through another pile of straw outside our bedroom window. John was on hand though to warm us up with some tea, fried bananas, toast, cake and fresh honey. I was surprised to be getting such a great feed and had only expected a bit of bread and jam. It always shocks me how guides seem to pull out all the stops on treks like these.

After saying fond farewells to our new family, it was onward and upward to begin with. Day 2 would prove a much more rigorous climbing and descending day, but in no way less enjoyable than Day 1. The first important land mark we came to was Mine Ma Thiet mountain, which scaled in at 5420 feet, but thankfully this was not on our path.
The house we stayed in on night 1, what a fantastic location!
As we progressed through beautiful golden wheat fields resembling those in Gladiator, a music system could be heard throughout the entire valley, pumping out traditional local music to all the workers in the fields.

Around 11am we stopped for some snacks and tea at Hla Mine village, which is made up of Pa-o, Danu and Daungyoe tribes. Roughly 200 familes and 1000 people inhabit the area and survive by farming wheat and garlic in the dry season and rice, garlic, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, cabbage and carrots in the wet season. Also growing at regular intervals were biodiesel plants, which John informed us are able to have diesel extracted from them and the government makes it law for each farmer to grow these somewhere on their land.

Leaving this area and continuning on through some beautiful scenery, we passed through a Pa-o village and then stopped at the Daungyoe village of Kone Hla for lunch.
Wheat field
Noodle and Egg soup consumed and it was time to leave the 250 houses and 700 people behind. I was actually a little surprised by some of the houses that we were passing, that appeared far more developed than those of other hill tribes around Asia, with plenty of stone buildings cropping up along the way.

It was around 3 hours more to the Pa-o village of Pae Tuk Pauk where we would be spending our second night and the trail led through rice terraces and eventually to a scenic range of hills, with the village located between a small break in the hills. As we approached, it was easy to spot the locals in their traditional dress of purple longyi, white jacket and orange or yellow towel on their head. Most of the children came to say hello although a few came to ask for money and sweets, which annoyed John more than us.
Pa-o women heading back to Pae Tu Pauk village
He was of my way of thinking that you shouldn't just hand over stuff for nothing and told us that the kids were not even in need of anything, but begged like this anyway. He said their parents didn't really care if they were asking for things like this, and were not setting them a good example. To be honest, i agreed fully. The village was by no means poor with some pretty nice houses, a school and pagoda, although electricity was not on the agenda anytime soon.

Our night was spent in the school headmistresses house, who John said earned $1 a day from the government, so the villagers had built her a house and set up a shop for her, in order to lure her away from Kalaw. Supposedly if a teacher wears their 'uniform' then they are entitled to free rides everywhere in Myanmar and a few other side benefits, but the lady relayed through John that if she wore her uniform then pick up drivers would deliberately ignore her and drive on, as they couldn't charge her a fare.
Check out the faces on these Pa-o kids, priceless!
In the end she stopped wearing it anywhere and just paid, otherwise she would never get from point a to b! Clearly people outside the village didn't hold teachers in the same high esteem!

Dinner was another lavish affair with Chicken curry, Prawn crackers, Okra, Rice, Beans, Lentil soup and Sugar cane candies on the menu. Once more we were filled to bursting and it rounded off another great day. It was even colder on this night and Julia and I went to bed around 10pm, wrapped in everything we had with us and 3 huge blankets. This really did the trick and we both slept soundly.
Deats says:
Each person has their own idea on the subject, but i agree with you that contributing your time or money to a non profit organisation is the way forward. If you can preferably hand the money directly and cut out admin costs then all the better - but this is obviously not always practical!
Posted on: Feb 04, 2008
sylviandavid says:
I loved the wheat fields description......from Gladiator... it painted a picture for me.... I agree with not giving to beggers... it's not good to gain without working or earning..plus to give to one only benefits one..so we try to donate to organizations.. Everyone has to make their own decision on that but I agree with you... Very interesting about the teachers .... entitled to free rides but the rides are not compensated so they don't stop... a catch 22 ... Your meals by John are great! Sylvia
Posted on: Feb 03, 2008
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Khin Zin Chew riding her favourite…
Khin Zin Chew riding her favourit…
The house we stayed in on night 1,…
The house we stayed in on night 1…
Wheat field
Wheat field
Pa-o women heading back to Pae Tu …
Pa-o women heading back to Pae Tu…
Check out the faces on these Pa-o …
Check out the faces on these Pa-o…
John, Ko Myaung Nyo, Khin Zin Chew…
John, Ko Myaung Nyo, Khin Zin Che…
Ramshackle toilets in a wonderful …
Ramshackle toilets in a wonderful…
Ko Myaung Nyo with his niece
Ko Myaung Nyo with his niece
Khin Zin Chew and Chinayea playing…
Khin Zin Chew and Chinayea playin…
Khin Zin Chew sitting on a buffalo
Khin Zin Chew sitting on a buffalo
Khin Zin Chew sitting on a buffalo
Khin Zin Chew sitting on a buffalo
Little grunter looks to make a sne…
Little grunter looks to make a sn…
Chinayea playing the cheeky monkey…
Chinayea playing the cheeky monke…
View of Mine Ma Thiet
View of Mine Ma Thiet
Mine Ma Thiet and the peaceful sur…
Mine Ma Thiet and the peaceful su…
Little inquisitive oinkers
Little inquisitive oinkers
Countryside that we had the pleasu…
Countryside that we had the pleas…
Buffalos grazing in terraced fields
Buffalos grazing in terraced fields
Scenery on Day 2 of the trek
Scenery on Day 2 of the trek
Local village
Local village
Terraced fields that we passed on …
Terraced fields that we passed on…
Hot hot hot, anyone fancy a chilli!
Hot hot hot, anyone fancy a chilli!
Village kids gather to look at the…
Village kids gather to look at th…
Julia with some pretty flowers
Julia with some pretty flowers
Spectacular scenery on the trek
Spectacular scenery on the trek
Local Pa-o women working the land
Local Pa-o women working the land
Stunning scenery nearing Pae Tu Pa…
Stunning scenery nearing Pae Tu P…
Pa-o kids playing in Pae Tu Pauk v…
Pa-o kids playing in Pae Tu Pauk …
Julia with a group of Pa-o kids in…
Julia with a group of Pa-o kids i…
3 Pa-o kids pose for a photo
3 Pa-o kids pose for a photo
Kalaw
photo by: Mezmerized