Kalaw is nestled among the mountains and caves of Shan State, located about two hours west of Inle Lake. The British built this highland retreat to escape the heat of Yangon and Mandalay. You can still see British colonial architecture and a popular marketplace in the small downtown area. And even though this is a rural town, local restaurants still offer a nice variety of Asian and European cuisine.
Kalaw Best Things to Do
Green Hill Valley Sustainable Elephant Tourism Camp provides a home for elephants who are no longer physically fit for labor. Many of them have spent their lives working in labor camps. This tour starts with a 45-minute drive from Kalaw to the elephant camp in Magway.
6 hrsFrom $111
This three-day, two-night tour takes you on a popular trek from Kalaw to Inle Lake. Along the way, you’ll get to see traditional villages and learn about rural life in Myanmar. Before you set out on your trek, you’ll explore some of Kalaw’s most interesting Buddhist sites.
24 hrsFrom $245
Take a walking tour of the colonial city center if you have time – many travelers don’t spend more than one night here, but those who do get to spend time in fresh mountain air. In recent years, Kalaw has become a hub for backpackers, and many travelers stop here on their way to explore villages like Paulung and Pa-O. These places have subsisted in relative isolation, and each has traditions all their own.
While you’re in town, Kalaw’s Shwe Oo Min Paya Cave is a must-see. It’s located just a short distance from the city center and makes for an easy, self-guided tour. Inside the caves you’ll find a nicely maintained collection of gold Buddha statues. Because Kalaw is more off-the-beaten path than other destinations in Myanmar, this may be one of the more peaceful pagodas you’ll get to see.