Let’s kickstart Myanmar blogs with my stay at The Hotel-Kalaw Hill Lodge, Myanmar.
I am glad to say Myanmar was my country no 38. During my travels, I like to add off the beaten track experience wherever I can. Most travellers visit Bagan, Yangon/Rangoon and Inle Lake in Myanmar but few visit less crowded Kalaw. If you are after nature, simple village life but with a touch of comfort and luxury consider visiting Kalaw in Myanmar. Read here for things to do in Kalaw.
Now, about The Hotel-Kalaw Hill Lodge
Hotel Address: 11 Quarter, Nanthe’ Village, Kalaw.
Room Type: Delux- Villa
Hope you saw the videos on Instagram. If you want to rewatch the whole thing, click here -> check out the “Myanmar” stories in Instagram.
The Hotel-Kalaw Hill Lodge Myanmar- Review
It was a warm welcome by the Operation Manager Ko Pun and the team of staff wearing traditional Myanmar clothes and ginger tea. He even came to pick us up. I thought it was very kind of him! They were all polite and welcoming. I was excited to meet them and was curious about their traditional clothes which looked simple yet interesting.
Check-in was at 2 pm but I was there at 12:45 PM. So, in the meantime, I decided to check out the lounge, bar, did some work, and ordered coffee. While I waited, the hotel sent some freshly baked complimentary cakes to go with my coffee. How sweet is that!
Love the carpentry work here! Does the name of the restaurant remind you of the blue mountains in Sydney? It heads home for me.
The restaurant was the next door to cute villas where the rooms were. I found menu was reasonably priced and so was the hot/cold and alcoholic beverages.
Before I arrived at the lodge, I had already visited places around downtown. So, I was looking forward to just enjoying the lodge, walks, nature and spa. If you would like to go downtown from the lodge and visit markets, local restaurants and like, it would take approx. 15 mins in a taxi and expect to pay about 10,000 Kyats. Alternatively, you can use the lodge’s shuttle service.
I was happy to know my room was ready way before 2 PM and when I walked into the room, I was pleasantly surprised! They had put in a whole lot of effort to decorate my bed! I will let the pictures speak for itself.
You can watch my Instagram stories here.
Check that bed out!
Towel Swans with pretty petals and making words with those tiny white stone must have taken forever! Amazing!
It was good to find out bed felt as comfortable as it looked. The room also came with a TV and international Channels but I didn’t watch any TV during my stay. Every corner of the room was well thought of and the interior was simple yet elegant and beautiful.
A bit of a clean freak that I am, happy to report from pillows to wardrobes, floor to bathroom everything was clean. It was one of the cleanest hotel room I have stayed so far.
Housekeeping ensured my room was immaculate on a daily basis and the receptionist was friendly and also extremely helpful. They delivered my laundry in just a couple of hours when in Myanmar it’s normal to wait a day!
The only small trouble I had was unlocking the room as the room key turned left than usual right.
The beautiful greenery surrounding the hotel was such a refreshing sight from the hustle and bustle of Yangoon.
Right outside my door was the green valley and there was no noise at night even though there were guest’s kids running around during the day.
Super happy with my room, I was reading my book, then there was a knock on the door from housekeeping. I was a little confused as I hadn’t ordered anything, opened the door and there was one of the smiling staff with a teapot of fresh milk from the farmhouse! I knew they managed their own farmhouse around the hotel surrounding but I didn’t expect to receive complementary teapot of fresh milk. Winning! In my books, that’s a 5-star customer service.
Next morning, I participated in community activities run by the hotel which was complementary to all the hotel guests. I wasn’t expecting a lot of fun but to my surprise, I had a great time! First, we walked along the organic vegetable garden, beautiful rice paddies, then to the farmhouse.
For the first time in my life, I fed corns to chickens, goats and touched them IRL and most fun was when I milked a cow! I also met a baby cow who was only 6 days old. It was a unique and insightful experience that I will never forget. Glad I participated and had so much fun. Oh and on my way back, I also ploughed farm with the local farmer and his bull!
Watch the whole videos on here “Myanmar highlights”
I was totally impressed to find out the owners of the hotel let the farmers stay and do their farm work even after buying the land for the hotel. Fast Forward few years, and now all the hotel guests get to visit farmhouse and have these unique experiences for FREE! Genius idea isn’t it!
This was just one of the highlight at the lodge to interact with the locals, explore and uncover their daily lifestyle without having to compromise on comfort.
After the full-on fun morning session, we returned for breakfast. Then we went for the second guided walk which included lunch at a small fee of 8000 Kyats (5 USD)- exploring the village and community homes with the hotel guide. He spoke English but we also had the operation manager joined us too. He offered his local knowledge and language wasn’t a barrier.
We walked around the village starting with the kindergarten school (pic above) which by the way, the hotel built for local community and passed by the Monastery where electricity is provided by the generosity of the Hotel. I was blown away to understand how much the Hotel and stakeholders are doing for the community, sustainability and eco-friendly things of that nature.
We made about 3 stops, 1 was Monastery then 2 local people’s home. They were all prepared with some snacks and local tea. If I hadn’t had full breakfast I would have eaten more. But by lunchtime, I was starving with all the walking around. We stopped at a cute house in the village for lunch. I figured the family was third generation Nepali. As you know I can speak the language, I was quite happy to chat with them. Turns out Kalaw had a big community of Nepali people living there. They spoke the local and also the Nepalese language. Celebrated all the Nepali festivals and knew all the places in Nepal too.
Lunch was Nepali set (last pic above) and reminded me of being in Nepal. It tasted great and we also had homemade peach wine to try! The lady there helped me try Thanaka on my face which was fun too. Thanaka is the cream like paste local people in Myanmar put on their face. It comes from one particular wood or you can buy premade ones as well. Local people put the paste on their face with their own designs but the idea is it keeps you cool during hot days. I have videos of it on Instagram. Watch Myanmar videos here.
Something worth mentioning is The Hotel- Kalaw Hill Lodge is the only provider of community activities and walks mentioned above. This means you can experience community activities for FREE if you stay here.
It was an action-packed day. I enjoyed every bit of it and forgot about my muscle pains for a while.
But my legs were still hurting from the 6 hours hike in Bagan a few days earlier and walk today. So, In the late afternoon, I decided to check out the wellness centre/ The Spa. Prices were moderate and they had an Ayurvedic massage on offer. I was excited but also wondered if it will be as good as in India.
Happy to review my massage therapist was skilled and thoughtful. I wanted to sleep right there. She made my spa experience soothing and genuinely relaxing. I had the best time recovering after the hikes.
Now comes the tastiest part of the review. FOOD
The Hotel- Kalaw Hill lodge offers beautiful healthy buffet breakfast every day but you can also order from the menu if you like. Both morning my breakfast was top notch and so was lunch and dinners. Cocktails were great and many beer varieties were on offer too. As you can see in the pictures below, they offer a good selection of food from western to eastern. I tried everything in the pictures below and none of them lacked taste. Everything was full of flavour. Perhaps it’s because all the ingredients were from the organic vegetable garden. I also enjoyed Nepali tea, BLT sandwich and Myanmar meals. Not forgetting the fresh farm milk!
The lodge also offers the staff quarter and was well looked after. As you can see on their facebook page, they also celebrate the staff’s birthday every month. Now, that’s the international standard. Clearly, the hotel knows happy staffs makes the happy guests.
Thank you The Hotel- Kalaw Hill lodge for exceeding my expectation and the breathtaking complementary stay.
All opinions are my own.
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Let me know in comments if you –
- Have you ever been to Kalaw or Myanmar before?
- Would you like to stay at The Hotel- Kalaw Hill lodge too?
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