Situated in the green hills on the western edge of the Shan Plateau, Kalaw was originally developed by the British as a summer retreat. Swathed in pine forest, groves of orange trees, and stands of bamboo, it remains a pleasant, if somewhat disheveled, hill town. Its Raj-era roots are underlined by a scat- tering of colonial houses and its cosmopolitan popula tion of Tamils, Sikhs, and other Indians descended from work- ers brought here in the 19th cen tury. The main reason to visit Kalaw, however, is for the chance to trek in the hills sepa- rating it from Inle Lake . Wrapped in terraced fields and forest, picturesque wooden villages nestle on the slopes, most of them hours away from the nearest road, and inhabited by ethnic minorities such as the Pa-O and Danu.