Kalaw is located at an altitude of 1300 meters on the Shan Plateau in eastern Burma. The place was popular during the British colonial era due to the pleasant climate as a health resort among the soldiers and their families. Today, Kalaw is the starting point for trekking tours to the Inle Lake.
The villages in the area are dominated by mountain peoples, whereas Kalaw itself consists in part of descendants of Nepalese Gurkhas and Indian Hindus who were brought into the country during the colonial period by the British for railway and road construction.
In the heart of the city, there is a daily market where the villagers offer their goods. For a beautiful view of Kalaw and its surroundings worth the ascent to Thein Taung Pagoda. Just outside are the 60 Buddhas on a mountain slope with an adjoining temple. The place itself is not overwhelming, but the walk leads through more remote neighborhoods and greenery.