Everybody might visit Kalay by car but aviation transport would be the best.
From Karlay to Kalay
Kalay is in Shan language, called marketable town or market town. It was called Karlay in the past. The town was established by King Kyay Taungnyo, 56th king of the Nwepat dynasty, on 2 February 967. The existing Kalay was built by Counsellor Seik Thint Yan of King Bayintnaung in 1581. It was ruled by Saophas.
Now, the town is over 1,000 years old. Brick walls and bricklayers can be seen in local residences until today. Some people remarked it was an old city of Yazagyo. It was located at the crossing road junction where the Chin public relations office of Chin Rifle Battalion was opened in the BIA era. The area was called Kang Lei in Chin language. Then, the town became developed by visiting travelers.
Various national races especially Chin ethnics reside in Kalay. Many kinds of Chin ethnics including Mizo Chin ethnics are residing in Tarhan Ward. Chin ethnics from hilly regions wishing to move their residences to plains firstly think to reside in Kalay. So, various kinds of Chin ethics can be seen there.
Kalay is home not only to Chin ethnics but also to Shan, Yaw, and Bamar ethnics. Kalay is the third prosperous town in Sagaing Region. Rain trees planted on both sides of the roads in the British era are significant beauties of Kalay.
Climatic conditions are severe as the town is located in the large pit. Even in monsoon, the temperature is high. But, December and January are very cold for all.
How to pay a visit
2+1 VIP express buses are running to Kalay from Yangon taking many hours. Aviation transport is better by taking about two hours to Kalay. Air tickets would be set at various prices ranging from K80,000 to K120,000.
Travel sites in Kalay
Kalay is full of interesting things. Taking a position at Chin and Sagaing border, the town can be seen with various cultures in addition to Chin traditional costumes and sari of India. Travelers can easily hire tuk-tuk on their trips, motorcycles, and private cars.
King Solomon Pond
Travelers can walk to the pond by taking 40 minutes, near Kyar-in Village, as a recreation area for youths. The entrance fee is K200 per visitor. It is surrounded by paddy fields with mountain ranges in the background. It is a significant site among local youths for taking photos and relaxation and for fishing.
It is one of the famous markets in Kalay. Lamp market, hustle and bustle with people starting from 4 am daily, takes a position in the east of Kalay junction. Travelers pay visits to the market in the early morning.
Travelers can see the pagoda together with Asoka Lake on Phayagyi Road. They were built by King Asoka. Buddha Pujaniya festival is celebrated yearly. A well sunk by King Asoka can be seen in the precinct of the Mahasi meditation centre in the southern part of the pagoda.
City hall and archway of Kalay
The archway of Kalay is very beautiful. I fearfully heard the archway in Kalay was inundated at that time when Kalay was flooded. The city hall is located on the way to the archway. Bandoola Statue at the junction has been moved to the front wing of the city hall.
First Yayhsankyun Pagoda
A large teak log went upstream in the river near Kalay. The first log which went against the current was carved into the Buddha image. The first Yayhsankyun Pagoda is located in the compound of a Hindu temple near the Myoma market in Kalay. Small Buddha images were carved on the trunk of a teak log. Gods of Hinduism can be seen in the interior.
Second Yayhsankyun Pagoda
The teak log was carved into Buddha image as masterpieces which are better than the First Yayhsankyun Pagoda. The second one takes a position on a wide terrace near Myittha River at the exit of Kalay. Soft drinks and snacks are available at the foot of the pagoda hill in addition to a wide car park.
Bawdi Yadana Pagoda (Kyaukgutaw Monastery)
People know it as Kyaukgutaw Monastery, rather than Bawdi Yadana. Located behind Kalay industrial zone, Bawdi Yadana Pagoda can be seen with elephant statues, Buddha image chamber, and stupas. Public-rest houses and monastery buildings are catching the interest of visitors. As it is similar to just a recreation centre rather than a religious edifice, youths visit there to take photos.
9th-Mile Kyauktalone Creek
A laterite road, leading to Kyauktalone Creek, beyond Kalay University, passes Chin villages. Visitors can buy intoxicating brew in these villages at K3,000 per pot. Then they may go to Kyauktalone farm being upgraded to the restaurant and recreation park. The park collects K200 per person for entrance fees. Visitors can taste intoxicating brew and foodstuffs while enjoying scenic beauties of Kyauktalone Creek.
Travelers can pay visits to three ancient pagodas along the road from Shwebontha Pagoda. An ancient city wall can be seen not far from these pagodas.
Venue crossed by North Latitude
Travelers can see a large signboard near milepost 55-56 near Kyansetkon Village where the north latitude crosses the venue.
It needs to take one and a half drive from Kalay to Yazagyo Dam. Hotness covers the road along the dam. So, it is necessary to grow trees and flowery plants in the area for being a travel site and recreation centre. It is a good area to take photos.
I think the Tarhan market is bigger than the Kalay Myoma market where various kinds of meat and fish are sold in addition to textile imported from China at cheap prices.
Kalay Myoma market
It is a large market in the urban area of Kalay. Varieties of textile imported from India and China are being traded as a centre.
The area beyond Kalay University is located in Chin State. So, the viewpoint takes a position in Chin State. Despite no significant facilities, travelers visit there. Some travelers watch the sunrise scene from the viewpoint.
A large number of people in Christianity reside in Kalay. Mizo Chin ethics are the majority among various Chin ethnics. So many churches can be seen in Kalay. Boards are posted in all wards to show announcements of dead persons and their work procedures in Chin language.
I visited churches such as St. Mary Roman Catholic Cathedral on Bogyoke Street, Methodist Church in Tarhan, Vengpui Methodist Church, and Salem Baptist Church.
Other visiting sites
I cannot pay visits to all significant places in Kalay where I visit every year. I saw Taungphila Hill in the far distance on my way back. I enlisted the significant travel sites but some of them are located in the far distance. These sites are Taungtalone, Myitsone, Taungphila, Thang Pagoda, hand washing lake, Myatheintan Pagoda, Webula Hill, Natchaung, Panmon Creek, Manipura Dam, the waterfall in Hsedaw Village and Sakarhla Pagoda.
Eateries in Kalay
I preferred to Flow restaurant where delicious Thai foods and BBQ are available. Another shop is titled JD23 which gives services of rice in-tray. Hsabuthee is available in the Tarhan market. Goshen restaurant is always crowded with consumers to give delicious food services to the visitors.
Majesty Hotel, Moe Hotel, and Taungzalat Hotel are ready to give accommodation to guests in Kalay. Besides, those who cannot spend a large sum of money on their trips may stay at lodges and small hotels.
Gifts from trips
Travelers may buy Chin traditional costumes and utensils, Chin sarongs, blankets, men’s wear, necklaces, and bags in Kalay. Tarhanthu shop is full of various products. Many shops can be seen around Kalay Airport as well as in the Tarhan market. Indian saris are available at Lin Yaung Chi shop near Kalay Myoma market.
Despite lesser travel sites, Kalay is a lovely town where people from four corners meet to seek jobs. So, it is an endless observation for travelers. If the travelers have adequate time, they may buy textiles from Tamu in addition to paying visits to Reed Lake, Tiddim, and Haka. May all be always safe and secure, healthy, and happy on their trips.