A Three-Day Trek in the Highlands of Myanmar

This is a three-day hike in the southwestern part of Shan State, Myanmar — farming country known mostly for narrow, silvery Inle Lake, a popular destination for travelers. Bountiful and ethnically diverse, southern Shan is a patchwork of villages and farms growing sesame, wheat, potatoes, rice and chiles in a stunning highland landscape. Dirt paths and quiet roads connect villages, some of which host markets on alternate days.

It sets out from the former British hill station of Kalaw on a road that becomes a dirt path, passing through a stand of mountain pines that opens to undulating valleys dotted with villages.

A few hours into the trek, you pass a terraced garden of onions and cabbages, with shade trees and elegant, fenced gardens with rows of greens, garlic and eggplant. Then the terrain grows more challenging, with glowing checkerboards of sesame and rice planted on steep hillsides.

December through February is the best time to visit Shan State, when rainfall is low and temperatures milder, although overnight stops may be crowded with other travelers. The walk is of moderate difficulty, with steep climbs and limited shade. The distance can vary depending on your route, but for a three-day trip, count on walking at least five or six hours each day.

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