Kalaw is a hill station on the western edge of the Shan Plateau in Myanmar. It is located 70 km west of Taunggyi, located between towns of Taunggyi and Thaziand sitting at 1320 m altitude, it is cool during the day and cold at night. Interestingly, the locals of the town of Kalaw mostly can speak English, because the town had once been colonized by the British. The population is mix of Shan Tribes, Indian, Burma and Nepali (Gurkhas retired from British military service). Many of whom are missionalry educated.
The climate is very pleasant and in spring and summer, the roads around town are lined with thickly flowering crocus. This small-town offers cool temperatures (Kalaw sits at 1.300 meters elevation). The cooler temperatures and scenic surrounding countryside, filled with ethnic hill tribe villages, makes this area the most popular part of the country in which to embark on a trek.
Kalaw was a favorite hill station during the British colonial era and there are some interesting colonial remains to see. It is a picturesque village surrounded by pine forests and has some of Myanmar’s most beautiful gardens.There are many hiking trails amid gnarled pines forests and bamboo groves. You can take trekking from Kalaw to the neighboring hill tribe villages, which still have function as the same as they did centuries ago. Fans of natural beauty and peaceful sites will surely get their money’s worth. The roads leading to Kalaw and Pindaya offer breathtaking sights of the landscape and are somehow reminiscent of the beautiful Alps region in Europe.
Kalaw is about two hours west of Nyaungshwe. We arrived in the dead of night, after a long and tiring journey from Bagan. Our hotel was a remote pine lodge in the mountains. The air was frigid and the water from the tap icy cold. It was at Kalaw that I saw poppy plants for the first time. The poppy plants were grown as ornamentals in the English Garden.