About 70 kilometers west of Taunggyi, Kalaw is a Township of Taunggyi District, including three parts: its principal town of the same name - Kalaw, Aungban, and Heho. Situated at a height of 1320 meters above the sea level, on the eastern edge of Shan Plateau, the hill town of Kalaw is surrounded by mountains filled with bamboo groves and gnarled pines.
Pleasantly cool all the year round, this sylvan setting was famous among British in the colonial period, and American writer Jan-Philipp Sendker turned it into the main settings of his novel “The Art of Hearing Heartbeats”. Nowadays, the town is ideal for those who want to grab a hold of beautiful nature settings as well as breathe the ethnic lives. Through a half day hike or a four-five day trip being with the minority tribe communities in Kalaw, you are welcomed by locals wearing colorful clothes, smiling in a friendly way, showing warm hospitality, and may even be surprised by the comparatively high level of development there. In addition to the tranquil allure of Kalaw, you can get a taste of local tea and fresh fruit picked from plantations covering steep slopes around the town.
Another town of Kalaw, Aungban, is a railway junction carrying cargo and passengers travelling between Taunggyi and Loikaw, the capital city of Kayah State.
Last but not least, one-hour drive away from Inle, Heho is known as the primary air gateway to the lake; also, it is another railway junction similar to Aungban. Under the railway, there is a dusty market area that hosts the largest of the five day markets, a remarkable event in southern Shan State. This is the type of market that sells everything from common products like food and clothing to luxury items made by the skillful hands of locals. By dint of wandering around the market, you can discover almost the life and custom of the Burmese.