Located high up in the western Shan Plateau at 1,320 meters, Kalaw is a small colonial town with uplifting ambiance with a lot of colonial influences. Its old colonial buildings together with pinewood forests make Kalaw very picturesque, and it has become a popular spot amongst the locals for a short getaway. The town was founded by the British as a hill station during the colonial times. Therefore, unlike most towns in Myanmar, you will be able to find a lot of churches instead of stupas and pagodas. Kalaw is also a very laid back place for tourists to enjoy amazing treks, as well as a stop station for guests to continue to Inle Lake the next day. It is too the main setting of Jan-Phillip Sendker’s novel, “The Art of Hearing Heartbeats,” where he wrote about Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit, military men building expensive houses and corruptions.
In Kalaw town, majority of the residences are Shan and Burmese people, but you can find Indians, and Nepalis (especially Gurkhas who retired from British Military service.) When trekking you will be able to see minor ethic villages of Pa O, Palaung, Taungyo, Danu and Ter O people who reside scattered across the hills. If you have an extra day or two, you should definitely check Kalaw out!