By Nicole Long and Jay Austin
We wanted to introduce our new Kalaw to Lamine Village Trek, near Inle Lake in Myanmar. This two day trip to Kalaw allows guests to get outside of the main tourist areas, but doesn’t require a lot of time commitment. The trekking portion of this tour is light in activity (only about 3 hours long) and allows access to nature and the picturesque countryside. Kalaw is at a higher elevation so the temperatures will be cooler and comfortable for trekking. This tour provides opportunities to connect with locals and witness traditional, simple lifestyles. This is a great option for families as it includes a train ride and elephants!
Note: For guests who want more, this itinerary can be extended a day with an additional day of trekking and another night in a village homestay.
Kalaw: Trek to Lamine Village – Day 1
After breakfast, you will be transferred by van to the starting point of your trek. From here you will walk about three hours to Lamine, a Pa O Village, located about 10 miles from Kalaw. Explore this village where you will meet friendly locals and observe their traditional lifestyles. You will see the farmers hard at work as they plant or harvest wheat, ginger and a variety of other crops. Lunch and dinner will be prepared by your local trekking team and you will overnight in a village homestay.
Kalaw: Lamine Village to Inle Lake – Day 2
After a enjoying simple breakfast prepared by our team, stroll about the village to observe the local morning activities, before you will meet up with the car for your to transfer to Inle Lake. On the way, stop by at the villages for plantation of regional products. The drive takes approximately 3 hours to Inle Lake and once you arrive, check in to your hotel and enjoy a free afternoon.
Photos by Andrea Ross
Last weekend (sorry, I wrote this awhile ago and have had trouble with uploading, it is more like last month…) we visited Koh Ker, a rural area about 3 hours from Siem Reap were we proudly own 22 hectares of farmland. Brandon wanted to go out to check on his land so I thought he would enjoy having the kids and I tag along and have an adventure. My cousin Tom and his cousin Iona were also visiting so we all loaded up and headed out. Koh Ker is starting to become a tourist attraction because of the pre-Angkorian temples there. I love visiting these temples because they are always empty of tourists and because my magic man is there. The magic man is a legend in Cambodia. Covered in tattoos the story is that he has been blessed and can now repel bullets and mines. He will show you the scars where bullets have burned him, but then bounced off and he will tell you in his own words how he has stepped on land mines twice, both times with those around him dying and him walking away without a scratch. He attributes this to the magic tattoos he has all over his body that protect him. I love seeing him and hearing his stories. Now the head of police in Koh Ker you can usually find him in a hammock outside the main temple where his wife runs a noodle soup shop.
After visiting him and the temples we headed into town. Imagine if Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, David Beckham and Mr. Ed showed up in your town, together. That’s what it’s like showing up in Koh Ker. We took some rooms at the local guesthouse where we were briefed on the 6 to 9 electricity rule. They have electricity from 6 at night to 9 at night, most nights. I took the kids for a walk and let the locals get an eyeful. Most of the kids ran away when they saw us coming, but a few paused on their bikes to watch…they looked ready to pedal like hell if we made any sudden moves. My kids take it all in stride, even lunch and dinner at the town’s “best” restaurant, where the choices were rice or noodles didn’t seem to phase them.
We had a fun night four-across in the bed. We kept the windows opened so when the fan stopped at 9 we had some fresh air, but at about 4 in the morning when the rooster started crowing I actually opened my eyes to make sure he wasn’t in the bed with us! Even Callie rolled over and muttered something about Old McDonald. In the morning we drove out to visit our land and meet the nice family squatting on it. My kids commandeered their kids toys while the Cambodian kids hid. That night we got back to Siem Reap and celebrated with a little AC and our own beds!