There are many options for one- or two-day treks around Kalaw, following trails through the hills to villages inhabited by Palaung, Danu, Pa-O, Taung Yoe and other ethnic groups. Don’t expect untarnished nature – there has been significant deforestation in the area, and the routes mostly run past fields and plantations – but nonetheless, these hikes are a great way to get a glimpse of rural life.
The most popular longer trek is to Inle Lake, which normally takes three days, although it’s possible to shorten it to two (skipping some of the route by car) or lengthen it to four. There are many different routes and finishing points on the western side of the lake, including Khaung Dine and Indein. Usually one night is spent in a village home and another in a monastery.
The trails can get very muddy during the rainy season (June to October), while in peak season the overnight stops on the Kalaw-to-Inle trek can become pretty busy.