A Little Road Trip to the Mountains of Kalaw, Myanmar

The drive to Kalaw from Bagan was about 6-7 hours long, which in our case was not super unbearable because we had a few interesting stops. Our driver brought us to a little roadside teahouse/sesame oil press/palm wine distillery/souvenir shop where the kids had a blast going to the loo, which was nothing more than little outhouses made from palm huts with holes the contents of which you could watch dribbling down the ground below.

cattle driven sesame oil press
bird pendants and necklaces handmade before our eyes and which the kids loved to dangle around their necks


Bear and I had a shot each of some palm wine which is so high in alcohol content you might wonder if it’s truly potable


palm sugar for your sweet tooth


There were some little roadside stores selling a variety of stuff like bananas, bread, rice, toiletries. I like buying fresh bananas on the road just because they’re usually pretty mild tasting, not very smelly and not terribly messy


and local junk food like this spicy dried noodle chips made from beans which weren’t half bad so you might want to try some

The last 2-3 hours of the drive, where we started up the Kalaw mountains, though were a bit tough on the kids who started to make me regret I didn’t buy those anti-motion sickness tablets because they cost $17 the last time I checked. The road was very, very zigzaggy and bumpy. Plus we were getting hungry and didn’t really have the appetite for our packed emergency granola bars. I still think it was a good idea not to be too stuffed, though because a full stomach would’ve been worse on that kind of ride.

As soon as we arrived in Kalaw, we had a proper lunch at The Red House Bar & Restaurant, which I think was just newly opened. It’s a pretty good place to eat for Western style (Italian) food, like pizza and pasta. My little girl, who is extremely picky, preferred her fried chicken just plain fried chicken, without any sauce or herbs or whatever, and the chef was quite accommodating, which is always a huge plus when traveling with kids. They have a good formula right there.

terrace at the Red House, where you could see the Kalaw mountains


yeah they had a wood-fired oven where they cooked up our superbly exquisite Italian pizza later that night for dinner. Must try.


After lunch, we then hurried to check out the local market before it got too dark. We have a habit of checking out local markets wherever we can. It’s always entertaining and a great way to see local fashion, food styles, and souvenir knick-knacks doubling as toys.

Colors and textures of clothes and other fabrics



some of the marionettes which are sold everywhere in Myanmar which are truly wonderful for creeping out kids, and also some other whatnots



some dried fish, which is also very common where we come from (Philippines and Singapore)

We spotted a way to get up a certain point of the mountain nearest the market, and the kids insisted on climbing the formidable stairs.


It turned out there was a monastery at the top

a monk with very tranquil dogs keeping him company while he tidies up


the monastery


and a fabulous view of the mountains, trees and rooftops at sunset.

To me, sunsets are different everywhere, even though it’s the same sun!                      Anywhere I find it, though, I feel a sense of gratitude: Thank you for waiting for me, letting me know you’re still there and that you’ll come back after the darkness.



What about you? How do you deal with long, bumpy rides? What do you like to check out first when you visit?

Thanks for stopping by!

See you again soon!!!




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