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Overview

Travel overland from Bagan to Inle by rail and road journey. Learn about Myanmar’s tradition of spirit worship and join local pilgrims on a climb up to Mount Popa’s sacred Nat shrine. Walk through an old hill station with interesting colonial history and architecture and take a scenic train ride from colonial Kalaw to Inle Lake.

Trip Highlights

Bagan to Inle by Rail and Road

Ancient spiritual traditions of Mount Popa

Discover all about Nat worship on Mount Popa while rubbing shoulders with local pilgrims.

Visit Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp

Spend a day feeding, bathing and interacting with elephants  at this responsible camp.

Scenic train ride to Inle Lake

Experience a unique journey to Inle Lake and appreciate the green scenery of Shan State together with local people.

Itinerary

1

Bagan – Mt Popa – Meikhtila

Bagan – Popa (54 km): 1 hour 30 minutesPopa – Meikhtila (130 km): 2 hours 30 minutes

This morning the tour begins at 08:30.

Depart by road for the drive to Mount Popa. After around 45-60 minutes reach Popa Laan Village, a local village near the base of Mt. Popa that is typical of many villages in the area. Take a short walk through this scenic village and visit with the friendly residents.

Continue on to Mt. Popa and Taung Kalat, a volcanic plug standing 1518 metres high. Mount Popa has played an important role in Burmese culture, religion, and history. Its shrine, located at the top of Taung Kalat, is dedicated to the worship of the 37 Nats, or ancient Burmese animist spirits. Learn about Nats and Nat worship while climbing the stairs to the top just like how the local pilgrims do. The view over the Myingyan Plain from the top of the volcanic peak is impressive. (The climb is optional!)

Resume the drive to Meikhtila.

Lunch will either be at a local restaurant near Mt. Popa or later in Meikhtila, depending on time.

Reach Meikhtila in the late afternoon and check-in to the hotel. In the evening, take a stroll around the perimeter of Lake Meikhtila. Visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda which is a temple housed in a giant floating barge shaped in the form of a golden Karaweik.

Overnight in Meikhtila.

2

Meikhtila – Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp – Kalaw

Meikhtila – Green Hill Valley (90 km): 2 hours 30 minutesGreen Hill Valley – Kalaw (28 km): 1 hour

Today the journey continues at 08:00.

Set-off from Meikhtila after breakfast and head to the Shan State and the Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp in Magwe village. Upon arrival, a guide from the camp will be waiting to provide transport to the main camp. Enjoy a welcome drink while receiving a briefing on the day’s activities, the background of the camp and the history of elephants in Myanmar.

Following this, embark on a short walk to the river, passing through a reforestation project set up by the camp and villagers. Be greeted by the elephants – the guide will explain their name, age, and how they ended up retiring at the camp. Trays of bananas and sugarcane will be brought out to enjoy some time feeding the elephants. Afterwards, get dressed in traditional Shan garments to prepare for the elephants bathing. Walk to a natural pool, located between two small falls in the stream, and join the elephants for a bath. 

Return to the reforestation area to plant a tree before heading to the main camp for lunch. There is time in the afternoon to explore more on foot with the local trekking guide or to interact with the elephants.

In the late afternoon, say goodbye to the elephants and mahouts and transfer to the former British Hill Station of Kalaw founded by British civil servants escaping the heat of the country’s plains.

Overnight in Kalaw.

3

Kalaw – Inle

Today’s tour will start at 08:00 after breakfast at the hotel.

Meet with a local guide after checking out from the hotel and set off for a walking tour of Kalaw. The relaxing and refreshing climate make Kalaw ideal for a morning stroll on foot to discover the most important sites for local residents and visitors.

Start with a visit to Hnee Pagoda in the southwest of the town, a 500 year old pagoda home to a bamboo Buddha statue. From there it is a leisurely 40 minute walk to the centre of Kalaw. As with many towns in Myanmar the market lies at the heart of Kalaw and is a hub of activity in the morning when villagers from the surrounding hills come to sell their wares. During the walk to the market there are several reminders of the British colonial period, especially the architecture.

Lunch at midday at a local restaurant where delicious Burmese or Nepali food (depending on client’s preferences) is served in a clean, comfortable environment.

After lunch take a short walk to Kalaw train station for the 13:30 departure to Shwe Nyaung, near Inle Lake. Luggage from the hotel will be waiting at the station entrance along with car and driver from the hotel. Once both luggage and passengers are safely on board it is time to say farewell to the local guide and begin the 50km (3.5 hours) adventure through the countryside. Myanmar has the longest rail network in Southeast Asia and the train is a fascinating way to travel from Kalaw to Inle Lake because the gentle pace allows time to really appreciate the scenery. There are a few stops along the way to stretch the legs and buy a drink or snacks.

The rail adventure will end at 17:00 at Shwe Nyaung station. Be welcomed by a new guide and driver and be transferred to the hotel for the night in Nyaung Shwe Town (30 mins by car) or on the shores of Inle Lake (up to 1 hour by car). Note: Arrival at Inle Lake is after dark so transfers are only possible to hotels with road access because boats will not be available.

Socially Responsible Travel: The local guide for the walking tour is from the town of Kalaw itself.

Environmentally Responsible Travel: Most travellers journey between Kalaw and Inle Lake by private car. Travelling by local train reduces the environmental impact.

Important Information

Our services Include:

  • 2 night accommodation in a shared twin or shared double room with daily breakfast
  • English-speaking local guide
  • All transfers with private vehicles and driver
  • Train ticket
  • Meals mentioned (B = breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
  • Entrance fees for the visits mentioned in the program
  • Drinking water while touring

Our services do not include:

  • International ticket to/from Yangon
  • Meals others than mentioned (B = breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
  • Visa arrangements for Myanmar
  • Bagan Zone Entrance Fee
  • Inle Zone Entrance Fee
  • Other entrance fees for visits not mentioned in the program
  • Drinks and personal expenses
  • Camera Fees
  • Tips and porters at the hotels
  • Any other items not mentioned
  • Credit card fees (2-3%) or bank transfer fees for non-cash payments

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