Tuesday morning. The day on which we would finally go on the Kalaw to Inle Lake trekking arrived. It’s still early, but the sun is doing its work already. After a short walk from the hotel to Ever Smile (the agency at which we booked the trekking), we meet our very nice and enthusiastic guide named Aki, and are put in a cab that takes us to our starting point. Together with a couple from Portugal and an American girl we start our adventure. Whilst we drive through the hills of Kalaw we wonder if these are the mountains we will trek through. Probably.

After thirty minutes in the cab, our trek begins. After 1,5 hour of walking we enter a village called ‘Pin Nue’ where we will have a tea break. We are welcomed by the local women and children. They offer us traditional snacks and a cup of tea. Yes, a cup of tea while it is at least 37 degrees. After taking pictures from and with the locals and some rest we continue our walk. Aki tells us it is a two hour walk until we will enter the next village. And advices us to buy some water before we run out. Buying water will not only benefit the community due to the money they get from us, but also because empty water bottles are collected and reused for other purposes.Around 12:30 we arrive in the next village where we will have lunch. We have to take our shoes off and are welcomed to take place on the handmade mats. Drinks and food soon arrived. Aki doesn’t eat with us. She sits with the cooks and other villagers.

“Only 2,5 hours until we arrive at the village where we will sleep this night”, she says to us. Another 2,5 hours… we think. And after almost exact 2,5 hours we indeed enter the village. But first… sunset time! We climb just one more mountain for that day and settle on a not so comfortable rock to enjoy the beautiful sunset. Which was amazing.

Later on that evening we had French fries, different kinds of curry’s and other local food for dinner. French fries, you might think, ‘what’s local about French fries?’. The funny thing was actually, that potatoes where the main product produced in that village. That is why we had potatoes not only for dinner, but also for breakfast. Mashed potato to be precise. At 6:30 in the morning.

7:30 sharp Aki calls us together to start the second day of the trekking. Only 4,5 hours this time. No in between breaks every hour, but just one tea break after 2 hours. We start quite optimistic but soon notice our backs, necks, legs and buts hurt due to the previous day. Luckily, the amazing views, landscapes and useful plus interesting knowledge for our research makes up for this. Roughly 4,5 hours later we can finally say: WE MADE IT! And after a delicious lunch provided to us at a restaurant near the lake, we are invited to sit on the boat which will bring us back to Nyaung Shwe. Where a cold shower is awaiting us. And Wi-Fi. And clean beds. And flip-flops.

Authors: Britt, Francis, Julia, Natasja & Tiara