Hnee Paya

It was estimated in First Inn-wa Period over 500 years ago. The donors were hard to ascertain and there were no records but its head was sharp upright its ears were not touching the shoulders and the nether garment was covered for the whole of its lower parts. So it was believed to be historic. It is eight feet four inches high. It is noted for its longevity its prevention of fire and its wish granting powers. Occasionally radiation seemed to come from the pagoda at the front of image. The image is now lacquered and gilded all the way.

Kalaw to Inle Lake Trek

Rising up in the distance were rounded peaks from mountains and flowing hills, casting vast shadows across the farmland. The ethnic Shan lady guiding the buffalo smiled and nodded her appreciation for my necessary movement allowing her to pass. I smiled back and drew a deep breath of the unpolluted rural air.

In a nation that has been oppressed for decades, the stretch of land from Kalaw to Inle Lake still seems like an old-world paradise, free from the political turmoils and frustrations found elsewhere in Myanmar.

The unassuming country town of Kalaw has rapidly become a tourist hotspot in the developing Buddhist nation of Myanmar. Only 60km from the town’s heart lies the immensely popular Inle Lake, where images conjure of solitary fisherman balancing on one leg as they cast nets across the water, wrapping their other leg around an oar to propel themselves forward.

Kalaw 5 Day Market

Kalaw's market is worth a browse – several stalls sell dried fruit and local liqueurs. Every five days, the market is swelled by traders who descend from the hill villages outside town. In the 5-day-market, the assortment of vegetables is amazing, from tomatoes, eggplants, scallions, peppers, betel, beans, garlic to cheroots. There are some people selling lacquerware, Buddha statues, carvings, longyis, Shan bags, textiles, ornamental objects and other hand-made goods for both local use and trading. It will be very interesting to get in the market in early morning.

Aung Ban Market

Aung Ban has several hotels and good local restaurants, but since the town is pretty quiet outside of market day, and with Kalaw lying a mere 20 minutes’ drive away and Nyaug Shwe a coupe of hours to the east, you probably don’t need to overnight here. The market takes place every five days excepting public holidays, so do check the schedule first. The market goes from early morning until mid-afternoon although it does start winding down after lunch.

Thein Taung Pagoda

Thein Taung Pagoda Monastery is only a short stroll from Kalaw town centre. The views of Kalaw and the surrounding hills from this monastery are beautiful. You could either walk up the covered stairways (north of Aung Chan Tha St.) or the uphill road north of Natsin St. to get to the monastery.

Aung Chan Thar Pagoda

The location of Aung Chan Thar Pagoda is within the close proximity of the area to many commutation facilities available from the agents in the Kalaw region. Explore the highlights of the life of Lord Buddha inscribed on the walls along with a new wave of Burmese construction that includes human sized statues covering the many areas of the Aung Chan Thar Pagoda.

Su Taung Pyae Pagoda

Shwe U Min Pagoda

Set high on a limestone ridge above Pone Taloke Lake, this winding complex of natural caves and tunnels is filled to bursting with buddha images in an astonishing variety of shapes, sizes and materials. At the latest count, the caves contained more than 8094 statues, some left centuries ago by local pilgrims.

The collection of alabaster, teak, marble, brick, lacquer and cement images is still growing – pilgrims arrive in a slow but steady stream, installing new images and meditating in tiny, naturally occurring meditation chambers in the cave walls.

Two more covered stairways lead north from the lift pavilion. One descends gently back to Pindaya, while the other climbs to a second cave pavilion containing a monumental, 40ft-high, gilded, Shan-style sitting buddha. The steps continue along the ridge to a third chamber with a large reclining buddha and more shrines and pagodas along the hilltop.The stairs leading to the cave are about 2 miles south of town on Shwe U Min Pagoda Rd, a 20-minute walk from town.

The King Church

Kalaw was a former British colonial town and you will find a number of churches such as Christ the King church and other British style buildings. Tudor-style houses sit amongst English rose gardens, making an interesting contrast to the traditional Burmese villages that surround the town. But there are also plenty of examples of Asian architecture in Kalaw.

Palaung Village

It takes two hours (short way) or four hours through the hills to the village of the Palaung tribe. At first a steep track leads down into a narrow valley where the Palaung cultivate cheroot tea damsons and mangoes on the hill.