Trekking to Inle Lake

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Trekking is becoming increasingly popular in Burma. The far north of the country borders the Himalayan region of Tibet, the country’s highest mountain tops anything in the European alps, so presumably one day there could even be Himalayan trekking in Burma. Meanwhile the Shan State region around Inle Lake is one of the most popular regions for shorter treks.

Trekking Inle Lake
Me, Jane, Nick, Maureen and our guide Jimmy as we leave our overnight monastery stay.

On my recent visit to Burma with Maureen and two friends, Nick and Jane, I walked down from Aungban, near Kalaw, the country’s main trekking centre. It was a short walk, one afternoon, an overnight in the monastery at Ti Thean and then the next morning down to Inle Lake.

Inle Lake trekking
Late March isn’t the idea trekking season either, it’s well into the dry season and the walk was hot and dusty. Despite which it was a fine introduction to the country’s trekking possibilities, interesting country, a number of villages to pass through and kids, monks and villagers to chat with, via our ever helpful guide Jimmy. Most of the villages were Pa O, the main tribe in this region.

down to Inthein
As we descended to Inthein on the west side of Inle Lake we began to meet villagers on their way home from the town’s every-5th-day market. With fine timing we arrived in time for lunch at the Tun Ten Nay Restaurant, run by an attractive young woman who spent some time in Italy and brought back a pasta machine. Burma seems to be full of attractive, active, clever, industrious young women.