A day hike at the surrounding valleys of Nyaung Shwe and Inle Lake is a must, specifically for someone like me who doesn’t have the luxury of time to do the popular 3-days Kalaw to Inle Lake trek. With the help of Fiona from Song of Travel hostel , a hike at a reasonable price was immediately arranged for me for the next day.
I met my guide, Om (I hope I remember his name correctly),early next morning and we started our hike to the nearby valley.
Om is a good hiking companion, never a dull moment with him. Our topic ranges from family life, Myanmar education system, and the city of Yangon. But if there is one thing I remember most about him is his smoking break and how happy he is to show me the leaves that they plant and harvest to make Cheroot.
Before we reach the start of the trail, we stopped by at the nearby shop, bought some bottled water and Om handed me two packs of candies wrapped in colorful foil, with the instruction that I should give them to kids I will meet in the villages along the way.
From paved road to trail, we officially started our day hike. We visited the Ta-Eh Gu cave and stopped by at the series of Buddha statues standing atop of the cliff, as if protecting and blessing the town below.
Nonetheless, the overall view is beautiful, the colors of the leaves, the huts standing so small against the vast fields and the mirage of valleys. In one of these valleys sit atop is a village, our final hiking destination.
It’s been so long since I last trek, residing in a city state for three-years now and the closest we have to nature are reservoir and parks. Never mind the sunburned face to be on the trail again is a joy that I craved for.
More than the view, like this day hike, the one thing that makes a Myanmar trip a memorable one are the people you’ve met along the way. Greet them “Mingalaba” and offer them your sincerest smile and you will receive one in return.
Just in time before lunch, we arrived at our destination, a small village sitting atop of the hill. Welcoming us is the smiling village elderly, who later on will be playing with my phone for a selfie.
I met a German girl at the village, also travelling solo across Myanmar and doing a similar day hike like me but seems to be taking a different route. We were both asked to rest and wait at the second floor room, while our respective guides and the other villagers are busy preparing our lunch in the next room.
While waiting for our lunch, two young Burmese boys are our entertainment, performing a traditional song and dance number they learned from school. Both are eager and curious to use our camera and phone, eager to see how they look like in a photo.
We took a different route going back to Nyaung Shwe, a less scenic but faster one because I need to be back at the hostel by three in the afternoon to get ready and prepare for my afternoon departure for Yangon.