Trekking from Kalaw to Inle Lake was one of the highlights of our time in Myanmar. The landscape, people and villages along the route make this an excellent journey to witness the "untouched" Myanmar.
All treks through this beautiful part of Myanmar pass through some breathtaking scenery, ranging from colourful farmland, to pine forests and rolling green hills. Along the way, you will also be able to witness hill tribes and cultures that live, farm and dress traditionally and whom were some of the loveliest people we met during our trek.
CHOOSING A COMPANY:
The majority of treks are either two or three days and each company has their own routes and series of villages where they stop for lunch and home stays. Most companies will charged based on how many people trek ie. The more people trekking, the cheaper it is. As we visited in the low season, many companies were only offering to take us on a private trek as they had no other interest. This was a big issue for us as we were hoping to meet some other people simply to make the trek more enjoyable, however we also didn't want to just go with the company that everyone else had chosen without knowing our options.
We ended up speaking to three different companies all of whom gave us a good first impression and seemed knowledgeable about the area. The prices varied significantly as some of the smaller companies were happy to do a private tour very cheap simply because it was the low season, while others charged significantly more unless we could find more people. We found that Sam's Trekking fell in the middle of this price range. Sam was confident that he had at least two other people booked in and was hoping for one or two more.
It was also important for us to know where the money was going as we had read that many companies take their discounts out of the small amount of money they pay to the villages visited along the way or from their guides wages rather than from the cut the company takes.
We were guaranteed by Sam that the families who hosted us overnight were paid a flat rate per person. Many of the snacks provided for us were also purchased from villages that we passed during the trek.
3 out of 5
Trekking during and after the rain was quite difficult as the track became extremely muddy and slippery. However this can be avoided by visiting during the dry season. We knew that there was always a chance of rain during June when we visited.
The longest uphill climb we would have done would have taken no longer than 45 minutes and our lovely guide was always happy to stop and have plenty of breaks after any tough sections or during the heat of the day.
While I'm sure there are many great trekking companies in Kalaw, many of whom are a smaller company than Sam's Family, I would 100% recommend Sam's to anyone visiting Kalaw. The staff were helpful, knowledgable and above all, friendly. They briefed us the night before our trek which also gave us the opportunity to meet the rest of our group. They all speak perfect English and were able to answer our many questions prior to leaving and their prices are comparable to other companies in town.
Our luggage arrived safely and securely to our accommodation at Inle Lake – free of charge - which was very important to us and they were even able to assist us with the booking before leaving Kalaw.
Overall they operate a well-run business with good information, excellent guides and appear to have good social awareness in regards to supporting the local hill tribe villages and fairly splitting their wages. We had a great experience with Sam's Family Trekking and would highly recommend them for your trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake in Myanmar.
Want to see more from the incredible part of Myanmar? Click here to see our full Inle Lake Photo Album!
Enthusiastic but Useless Traveler.