This Was Week 9 (Trekking Myanmar: From Kalaw to Inle Lake)

August 03, 2016

This Was Week 9 (Trekking Myanmar: From Kalaw to Inle Lake)

The Weekly Traveler is Megan and Tyler's recap of highlights and memorable moments after a full week of traveling around our new home.

  

This Was Our Ninth Week Traveling: This Week We're In Myanmar

 

We’re going rogue and turning a 3-day trek into an entire week's post—because it felt like an entire month of adventure packed into just 72-hours

makers travelers myanmar 3 day trek hike kalaw to inle lake adventure

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We started our trek in tiny Kalaw where we met a sweet puppy with a broken back. We started a GoFundMe page for her where we raised over $600 to get her a set of wheels and vet treatments!

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Our crew for this 3-day adventure was us, 1 amazing gal from Chile (Megan dubbed her her spirit animal), a couple from Spain, a 21-year-old from Holland, a 20-year-old from Germany plus an itty-bitty local guide whose name was PewPew (yes, like the laser gun sound!)

makers travelers myanmar kalaw trek walk 3 days

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makers travelers myanma 3 day trek kalaw guide eversmile-

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This isn't an exact map of our route because from Kalaw we started walking into the mountains. The only thing we knew was that our destination was Inle Lake—almost 40 miles away. Crazy, right?

makers travelers myanmar map kalaw to inle lake trek

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Averaging about a half-marathon a day, these are the boots our guide recommended for the mud we were about to shlock through (it's the rainy season here in Myanmar.) Their price at the local market?  $3. Unreal!

makers travelers myanmar trek boots cheap inexpensive $3 shoes-

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On the first day, we couldn't say enough good things about these cheap green trailblazers. They took on everything—the mud, the muck and the grime, and did it all in retro military style.

"We should import these and sell them in the States," we kept saying, BUT then day two happened...

makers travelers myanmar trek boots cheapest hiking shoes ever

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Our first day of trekking found us scaling a giant hill and entering a few local villages, but I’ll let these images do most of the explaining

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makers travelers myanmar inle lake trek hike remote village-

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makers travelers myanmar hike trek day 1 water buffalo cows

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makers travelers myanmar inle trek hike mountain ranges worker--

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makers travelers myanmar trek hike kids village remote  

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This is where we slept night 1. Just the 7 of us all cozied up on a stack of blankets. No beds, no running water and no electricity—save for a car battery that was running a lightbulb in our room.

We were living la vida local!

makers travelers myanmar local bed trek hike sleeping 

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Come sunrise, the roosters had already woken us up and after a delicious "french toast-esque" breakfast, we were off for 8 more hours of the same thing we did yesterday.

These were our shoes at the start of day 2 and these are some of the sights they led us to:

makers travelers myanmar kalaw hike shoe check

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makers travelers myanmar inle lake hike trek rice paddies worker nap
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-makers travelers myanmar headdress trek tribal village

 

- makers travelers myanmar rice field workers trek inle village remote

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 makers travelers water buffalo touch inle trek hike kalaw village

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After about 6 hours, everyone who bought a $3 pair of shoes collectively decided that they were the worst.

Zero cushioning, no arch support and the muddy Myanmar clay stuck to the outsoles, making them heavier with every step.

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makers travelers myanmar trek kalaw hike shoes

 

 

Tyler also made the stark realization that he bought his shoes with his heart instead of his head—he got the biggest shoes they had and they were still way too small. He said he bought them because he "didn't want to kill his Nikes", but now his feet were killing him.

Needless to say, he hated these shoes more than anything in the world and kept switching back and forth between his Nikes on dry parts and his "garbage shoes" on muddy parts. Luckily, it was basically all mud for the next 2 hours.

makers travelers myanmar shoes trekking hiking too small

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makers travelers myanmar 3 day trek mud rainy season -

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makers travelers myanmar kalaw trek buffaloes rainy season mud

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makers travelers myanmar trek riding buffalo rider

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makers travelers myanmar buffalo farm house trek hike explore-

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This woman gave us our favorite story of the whole trip. After we took her photo, she began pointing at us, shouting something in Burmese and laughing hysterically. The closer she got, the louder she got.

Our guide explained to us that she was pointing at a toothbrush sticking out of one of the Spaniard's backpacks. This toothbrush happened to have a cover on it—and she'd never seen such a crazy thing in her entire life.

So remember, if an elderly woman walking a full-grown water buffalo through mud barefoot on her way to drink a bucket of rain water can find amazement in something like a toothbrush cover...you can never not be amazed by anything ever again.

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makers travelers myanmar inle lake trek hike water buffalo woman

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This was our shower for night 2 (mind you, it was an improvement over the first night's shower...which was just a bucket and a tarp.)

Our lodging for this evening was actually on the 2nd story of a hybrid house / barn. There were literally 3 water buffaloes sleeping in the stalls below our heads and the kitchen's fire pit in the room right next to ours

makers travelers myanmar trek shower village running water

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makers travelers myanmar sleeping day 2 trek hike
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makers travelers myanmar day 2 bed barn sleeping trek hike roughing it
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makers travelers myanmar kitchen barn trek hike kalaw local village
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Day 3 started off with a mini-monsoon, but hey...only 5 more hours of hiking to go!!!

makers travelers myanmar trekking shoes day 3 hiking boots

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-makers travelers myanmar kalaw trek hike last day tired end

 

This was 2 hours to go, just outside of Inle Lake (if you squint hard enough, you can see a little bit of the water. We'd never been happier!)

makers travelers myanmar inle trek hike almost finished
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This was the home stretch...
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makers travelers myanmar trek hike finish last day almost home 

makers travelers myanmar trek hike last day ending finish

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And this was our victory lap!
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makers travelers boat ride myanmar trek hike finish final
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makers travelers myanmar inle lake boat taxi travel hike trek finish
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makers travelers myanmar lake inle trek hike water taxi

makers travelers myanmar boat ride inle lake hike trek finish 

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At the end of the trip, the Dutch girl got hospitalized with severe dehydration, Tyler got food poisoning, but each one of us appreciated the hot shower we took that night more than ever.

Needless to say, our 3 days were unforgettable and made us rethink all the things we thought we couldn’t live without—plus, it bonded us with 5 complete strangers from around the world

makers travelers myanmar inle trek group shot members

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Also, our shoes got exactly what they deserved...

makers travelers myanmar hiking shoes trekking kalaw end result 

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During Weeks 8 and 9, we felt honored to have been able to visit Myanmar before it becomes the next Thailand (and I'm sure it will soon!) We can't recommend visiting more—you should book your flight for sure.

You can check out a recap of all our weeks by clicking here!

 

 

Thanks for stopping by—if you're into pictures, you can follow us on Instagram (Megan runs that) and add us on SnapChat (Tyler runs that)



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