Places to Visit in
KALAW COLONIAL TOWN WITH HIKING / TREKKING
Kalaw used to be a retreat area in British colonial times due to the
cold weather at
nearly 1500 meters above sea level. It is still a cool and
cozy place with many pine trees. You can see various tribes especially
during the market day in Kalaw. The town became famous as a trekking site
for day- or overnight trips to the many tribes and villages around
Kalaw with Palaung, Pa-O, Danu and Taung Yoe tribes.
HIKING TO YASAGYI MONASTERY
The Pindaya cave is about 150 meters deep and 8,000 Buddha images are
enshrined in it. There are several stalactites and stalagmites in the
cave. Most Buddha images date back to the 17th and 18th Century.
Various hand postures (Mudra) of Buddha images can be studied in the
cave. Shan Paper and traditional umbrella making workshops are also
situated in Pindaya area. Driving to Pindaya town from Aung Ban, the
landscape is very
colorful with various vegetables grown, especially between November and
There is a beautiful lake in Pindaya. Pindaya is also a starting point
for trekking trips to the mountains west of Pindaya, e.g. to Yasagyi
village where nights can be spent in a Monastery. This is in the
meantime a very touristy place.
AUNGBAN TRADING TOWN
Ban is situated on the highway from Taunggyi to Yangon. As the
area produces many kinds of vegetables and fruits, all the farmers
come and sell their goods in Aungban. Aside from market activity,
there is not much to see.
Heho has the only airport in the Southern Shan State. The town is small,
many farmers grow potatoes around Heho, and is also a center
of cattle trading. Danu and Taung Yoe tribes live in the area.
TAUNGGYI TRADING TOWN
Taunggyi is the capital of Shan State with a population of 300,000.
Trading is the
main business, Gems,
Cheroot wrapping leaves (Cordia Dichotoma) and garlic are the main
commodities. Market day in Taunggyi is very colourful because of the
Pa-O tribal people coming from the surrounding hills to town.
For those who would like to combine their vacation with charity: There are
several orphanages around Inle Lake and in Taunggyi. Some people
already support orphanages near Inle, therefore we mention those
farther away. Some of the
orphanages where you may leave a contribution are.
The Christian Orphanage in Taunggyi with about 130
children, managed by two spinsters. Previous guests from America are
supporting that Orphanage and have started and association to
support on long term and sustainable basis. You find more
The Buddhist Orphanage in Taunggyi with about
110 Children, managed by a Buddhist monk.
KAKKU PAGODA COMPLEX
in the territory of Pa-O people, is situated 42 km south of Taunggyi. About 2500 stupas, built probably in the 17 to 18th century,
are closely aligned in an area of 1 square km. It is possible to hike
uphill from Inle Lake to Kakku in a day trip for experienced hikers.
The pagoda festival held in March is a special attraction. Cheroot
wrapping leaves and garlic plantations are grown in Kakku area. A Pa-O
guide is compulsory during the trip.
SANGHAR & THA KHAUNG
is situated a 3-hour boat ride from Nyaung Shwe village. The
fascinating boat trip leads to
the Southern end of Inle Lake, further through a creek, before
widening in a 2nd lake with Sanghar. The attraction are the
pagoda ruins from the 17th Century, still not restored, on the banks of
that Lake. The area gets sometimes flooded during the rainy season.
200 stupas at Thakhaung village
are worth a visit. You can observe the local distillery method in
On the way to Sanghar, a pottery village and a lotus robe-weaving
village can be visited in the Southern part of Inle Lake.
We recommend to stay at the hotels in the southern part of the lake as
a starting point. The boat ride takes only 2 hours from per way.
Sanghar is Malaria area. From February till May the journey may
become more difficult due to shallow water. It may become necessary
to push the boat at some places.
MARKET DAY IN SHAN STATE
Market days in Shan State are most attracting to tourists who love to
see daily live of ethnic people. The Market in a certain place is not
held daily but every other five days. The Feudal Lord of Shan State
invented the system. The distance between villages and the market places
is quite big, so that sellers and buyers cannot come to the market
places everyday. This five-day market system is convenient to local
people as well as to the sellers. The market rotates from one village
to another and comes back every five days to each place. Markets in
Shan State also double as community centers where people meet friends
from other villages and exchange news. Food, beverages and most
necessities can be bough at the markets. The markets are colourful,
tribal people wearing their traditional costumes can be seen. Visitors
should not miss the market day while being in Shan State.
Click here to see the
market day schedule.
We do not recommend the train as means of transport. There are however
a few really attractive routes, e.g. from Nyaung Shwe (near Inle Lake)
to Heho / Kalaw. The train continues further to Thazi in the plains
south of Mandalay.
From the plains around Inle Lake the train ascends steeply into the
mountains around Kalaw.
Train schedules are never to be taken too serious. departure times get
long delayed, sometimes trains may also be cancelled altogether.
Please see the schedule as reference only. Sometimes stops at stations
can suddenly take an hour.
The quality of compartments and toilets are beyond imagination.
Despite slow speed, the train swings tremendously. The ride surely is
no pleasure for sensitive guests.
Near Inle Lake a vineyard was established a few years which also welcomes
visitors. The vineyard is located between the Inle Lake and Taunggyi
in Aye Thar Yar.
Further details you can find on their Webpage: