Was a popular hill station in the British days, it is pleasantly cool and a good place for hiking into the surrounding hills and visiting different tribes.
We were going to do a 3 day trek but the guide we wanted was not available and i was still feeling a bit rough with a sore throat etc so we decided to continue onto the next town and come back later.
Is 22km long and 11km wide it's 875m above sea level and extremely beautiful. It is dotted with patches of floating vegetation and busy fishing canoes.
We hired a boat from sunrise to sunset and were the guests of a family which lived on the lake in one of the stilt villages.
There was a celebration taking place and we were lucky enough to be invited (no other tourists). It was a family occasion albeit a large family, there were about 200 guests all who came to see the two boys 12 and 8 who were going to be monks.
There was a ceremony where we put cotton bracelets on their wrists and donated money (we got fed and watered) and then saw the boys have there heads shaved which looked quite painful.Joris smoked a cheroot (local cigars which all the old women smoke) with an older lady.
We took lots of photos and promised to send them on.
The lake is amazing, they have cultivated gardens floating on the water growing everything from tomatoes, beans and flowers.
These villages use the water from the lake to drink, to cook with , to wash with and as a toilet. hmmmm.
The special tourist pull of the lake is the fishermen who row their canoes with their legs to save their arms from getting tired.Very impressive
Back in Kalaw
We were planning our trek the next day but the night we arrived i was ill. No joke it was coming from both ends all night in a hotel where the walls were paper thin there was no use being shy. Whilst i was making myself heard there was a girl two rooms away having the same problem.
Needless to say we did not go on the trek the next day or the day after that.
When we finally set off we had already discussed with our guide that as many villages as possible and as little walking was our aim.
We spent three nights in villages and spent 4 days walking we did a total of 52km and 15.5 hrs of walking.
For the last two nights our guide left us in a village. We stayed with a family of 10 sisters oldest 30yrs youngest 6yrs. They had no english so we had fun trying to make ourselves understood. The Myanmar people including the sisters are very affectionate and cuddle you a lot and stroke you whenever they can. They also enjoy watching you eat what they have cooked for you. We often had an audience while we ate. We slept on the floor, like they did, but were very uncomfortable just as you fall asleep on your side your arm goes dead from the hard floor so you turn over the other side and wait till that dies.
It was very cold at night 3 degrees and so making you have to pee more often which is a pain when the toilet is way down the bottom of the garden in pitch black.
We were also woken at 2 am by the dreaded cockerel which in this particular house lived under our bed/floor and i can tell you now that it's very loud when you've got your good ear down.
We all had fun joris playing with the kids and me fighting off offers of massages from the girls.
When visiting villages we stopped in several houses for tea and sweets and gave humble smiles at our hosts.
Back to Mandalay
Visited a few places we missed last time the usual temples etc and an old peoples home with 100 patients aged between 70 and 96 only one nurse who we met and told us that she'ed been there 15 years looking after them all by herself. She has help with cooking and cleaning but is otherwise alone.
Bus from Mandalay to Yangon
Another 15 hours. We were planning to go into Yangon city but decided in the taxi on the way to the hotel to swing by the airport and see if they had space on the flight three days earlier than our our original plan,they did and we are now back in thailand.