Scenic train ride from Kalaw to Inle
Slow down and soak up the beauty of the Shan State with a railway journey from Kalaw to Inle Lake. Forget the ordinary car trip and instead opt for a train trip of epic proportions. Although you are only traveling around 50 kilometers, the journey will take around 3 hours. The benefit? You get to enjoy the stunning scenery of the Shan State at a slower pace and to experience a slice of local culture not possible when traveling by road.
Myanmar’s unique British colonial buildings
The adventure begins at Kalaw’s charming, colonial-style train station. Built during the British colonial era, the red-brick Tudor structure is oozing with charm. Stepping onto the platform, you are likely to see piles of fresh vegetables bundled together, ready to be loaded onto the train. Then, perhaps a few minutes behind schedule, the locomotive will pull into the station. Climb aboard and take your seat–a wooden bench with a huge glass window next to it. Although a few foreigners do opt for this method of transport, it is more likely that you will be surrounded by locals who use the train as a cheap means of traveling and shipping goods.
A stunning train ride to Inle Lake
Once all passengers are on board, the train will leave the station. Over the next 3 hours you will be treated to fabulous scenery, passing through rice paddies and farms and crossing bridge trestles high in the hills. The large glass windows and slower pace of the train allow you to fully appreciate the “live movie” passing by.
Inside the train, you will also be treated to a visual spectacle unlike anything you could experience on a bus or in a car. Your fellow passengers may be from one of Myanmar’s many ethnic groups, perhaps clad in colorful costume. Or you may have Buddhist monks, traveling in their saffron robes alongside you. Or it may be a family, traveling to see relatives or on their way to a relaxing holiday in the highlands.
Take a bite out of Myanmar!
Along the way you will stop at various small stations where vendors will jump aboard for a chance to make some money. They may carry thermoses of sweet tea, piles of traditional snacks, or an ice box full of cold drinks. Listen as they call out their items to the travelers onboard, walking slowly through the cars in hopes of a sale.
The journey continues onwards with long spells of tranquil travel punctuated by vibrant stops at tiny stations. After around 3 hours after, you will start to approach Shwe Nyaung, the nearest station to Inle Lake.
A journey of a lifetime from Kalaw to Inle
Disembark at Shwe Nyaung, returning to land and saying farewell to your traveling companions, who may be continuing to the train’s final destination deep in the eastern Shan mountains. A car will be waiting for the last stretch of the journey to Inle Lake, giving you plenty of time to reflect on the memorable local travel experience from Kalaw to Shwe Nyaung.
- Culture Immersion 80%
- Local encounters 100%
- Go off the beaten path 90%
- Joining the locals for a scenic journey to Inle Lake
- Climbing aboard a slow-moving train for a journey through the highlands, soaking up vibrant views through the expansive windows
- Interacting with fellow passengers and buying snacks from friendly vendors
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