Today is not as an exciting day as other days. Instead of going out into the field and talking to nice people, today was the day that we had to go through all of our data and prepare a presentation of our findings for the Stakeholder Forum tomorrow. For this meeting we invited the people we have talked to the past two weeks, and we will present some of our initial findings to them. Hopefully most of them will show up and we can share ideas with each other.

After talking to many people in Kalaw and its surroundings, we got a lot of information about the Kalaw to Inle trek, our research topic. The Kalaw to Inle trek is one of the most popular activities in the area, and most tourists, only come to Kalaw to start the trek. For our research we were especially interested in how the communities in and around Kalaw are involved in the trek, and how roles of men and women are divided. After almost two weeks of collecting data, we found out that since this trekking route came into existence, a lot of things have changed regarding community involvement and gender roles. From guides bringing lunchboxes for themselves and their clients, to now stopping and eating at a local household, for example.

We were also able to identify some aspects of the trek that can still be improved. We noticed for example when doing the trek ourselves that the local people we met liked the fact that we were wearing long pants instead of short shorts. Some of the organisations that provide trekking here in the area are already well on their way to provide tourists with the necessary do’s and don’ts , but not everyone is very involved in raising awareness for local cultural norms. Since one of the unique features of the Kalaw to Inle trek is the kindness and hospitality of the local communities, it seems very important to us to respect local norms and values.Pool_Yangon_Hotel

But enough talk about our research. After the stakeholder forum we are looking forward to ending our Myanmar adventure in style. Only one more night bus to survive on Thursday night, and we will be relaxing at  a resort with swimming pool in Yangon for two days. After that we will fly to Bangkok and enjoy the last part of our journey with a well-deserved break.

Authors: Britt, Francis, Julia, Natasja & Tiara