Asia | South East Asia | Burma (Myanmar) | Kalaw – Mud or how to slide in the hills…

Asia | South East Asia | Burma (Myanmar) | Kalaw – Mud or how to slide in the hills…

The sweet fragrance of tomatoes filled our nostrils as we saw Inle Lake and Nyaungschwe disappear in the distance.
On our way to Kalaw, the only possibility is to catch the local pickup truck, who this morning took on several wicker baskets with sweet smelling tomatoes. They have made it into an art to staple as much baskets in as little space as possible… of course the local women on the pickup truck had all their say about the quality of the tomatoes…

We got safely to Kalaw though where we were planning on an overnight trek to the hill tribes.
Setting off the next morning, we had breakfast on the road with opium cakes… not nothing as dangerous as you might think – they are just rice cakes with just the poppy seeds of the opium sprinkled over them. Even if not mind altering, they were certainly mindblowingly delicious!

In Yaurtit we visited the longhouse of one of the Palaung tribes – who used to be called the Golden Palaung tribe because of all the gold jewellery they would wear, earned with the opium trade. Nowadays, they grow tea instead and have had to sell their jewellery…
Their house is actually several houses together, every time a new family member gets their own family, they add a few meters, with a hearth and a small sleeping room…
The rain beats down hard and transforms the path into a real mud trail – with my hiking boots I get up slowly, but Ali is just sliding back down on the hill on her trainers – a good thing we brought my walking pole!

We sleep in a Palaung tribe village called Pan Tinkong in the house of the medecin man – a Pa-O man of about 80 years old, but not looking a day older than 60! His medecine must be good for something and we buy some special Tumeric mix to try and keep the mozzies away… it’s worth a try, seen how the mozzies seem to think I’m the next best thing after sliced bread…

The next morning is a rather easy walk back to Kalaw, and before we know it we’re back into civilisation.
A bit of time for a shower and off on the bus to Bago, for another bus ride through the hills…
It’s amazing how these bus drivers cut corners in the bends of the hills when we meet another bus or a truck – it hardly fits with 2 big vehicules passing – but sometimes they cut it a bit too close, and we got stuck for a while with 1 wheel in the trench besides the road…
We’re back on track in no time though, heading down south to Bago, so I can have a go at going to Kyaikto, to visit the famous Golden Boulder…

Category : Asia | South East Asia | Burma (Myanmar) | Kalaw , Uncategorized