Why does A Little Eco Lodge Make Our List?
Delicious home-grown food – We arrived at the lodge just in time for lunch – perfect! The owner’s sister cooked us up a delicious prawn curry with tea leaf salad, morning glory and rice. A lot of the food that you’ll eat here is home-grown in the organic garden surrounding the lodge and you’ll see people tending to the crops in the field during the day. (If you’d like to help them out one day – just ask!) When we were there it was avocado season, so that meant avocadoes, toast and eggs for breakfast – yum! More family recipes (based on local Inthar food) are served in their unique ‘Tree House Restaurant’ throughout the day.
In-house massage – One of the best things about A Little Eco Lodge is their in-house spa. If you’ve already been to Kalaw, you may have seen their place ‘A Little @ Kalaw Day Spa & Wellness’. After a day’s trekking or cycling around the Inle Lake area, it’s absolute bliss to be able to stumble a few steps down the corridor from your room to be treated to a massage! They also offer body scrubs, manicures, pedicures, Swedish or traditional massages and have a sauna and steam room which is great for those cooler winter months.
Surrounding countryside – The lodge offers free bicycles so that you can explore the surrounding area, cycling up the hills, or just as far as the vineyards at Red Mountain (like we did!) and be rewarded with a glass of wine or two!
The lodge is located on the Loi-Khaw trekking route that leads into the mountains on the Eastern shore of Inle Lake. The lodge can arrange a trekking guide for you who will guide you through local ethnic villages where you can stay overnight at a homestay if you wish.
Eco-Friendly – The lodge and tree house restaurant have been built using locally sourced, sustainably managed natural materials. There’s no compromise made on comfort, however. The rooms are extremely cosy and designed in traditional ‘Inthar’ style. Water is heated with solar panels and the traditional sound of weaving in the shade of the house below can be heard from the rooms.
Responsible Tourism – A Little Eco Lodge is a family run business, started by Kyaw Swar and his wife, Mee Mee, both born and raised in the area around Inle Lake. They live just next door to the lodge and the whole family, including Kyaw Swar’s sister and his two lovely children, are around the lodge all day to make guests feel welcome. Kyaw Swar plays an active role in the local community in encouraging responsible tourism and part of the profits from the lodge go into community development including healthcare and education.
He is also one of the founders of the non-profit organisation, Inle Heritage Centre, located on the southern shores of Inle Lake at Innpawkhon Village (it can only be reached by boat). Its aim is to preserve the cultural and natural wealth of Inle Lake by training local youths, educating people about the environment and sharing information with tourists. Check it out during your boat tour of Inle Lake! (You can also take cooking classes here, eat at their restaurant or visit their one-of-a-kind Burmese cat village!)