In northern Shan State you can walk, bicycle, or motorcycle to secluded mountain villages where the local ethnic groups still live much like they have for centuries. Go on a more established, comfortable path, or get as remote as you dare, but hurry up, because Myanmar is changing fast and these villages won’t be far behind.
Kyaukme, Hsipaw, and Namhsan are the best three places to experience this mountain village life in northern Shan State. Hsipaw is a more established tourist trekking town with lots of things to do in town and also loads of tourists. On the way up from Mandalay you will actually pass through Kyaukme before Hsipaw, but it is little known to tourists. Kyaukme will get you off the beaten track and has great trekking and local guides. Both of these towns are well worth the trip and offer a different kind of experience. If you’ve got time and permission, you may be able to trek up to Namhsan, called by some “the Switzerland of Myanmar,” from one of these towns.
Day 1 / Mandalay – Gokteik – Kyaukme
Get your camera ready to ride the train to Kyaukme from Mandalay. You’ll pass through the famous Gokteik gorge and over the breathtaking views offered by a historic bridge built over the top. Take pictures of the bridge from the Gok train station, and then continue on to Kyaukme. Check in at the hotel and meet your guide before enjoying a traditional (or western, depending on how you’re feeling by that point 🙂 dinner.
Day 2 / Kyaukme Trekking, Cycling, or Motorbiking
Eat breakfast and get your real coffee fix at an American cafe before heading out to see the villages. You’ll pass through some of Myanmar’s most beautiful scenery, stopping to take photos, and learning about the local people along the way. When you get to the village, take a rest and enjoy a hot meal to get your energy back. Stroll around the village, learn the village kid games, take photos, and see the sunset over the mountains. Eat dinner at your host home that evening, and get some rest for the next day.
Day 3 / Kyaukme Village Life
Experience a day in the life of a mountain villager. Wake up and eat breakfast with your host home. Follow them to work, see what they do, and join in as much as you want. You may join someone picking or selecting tea, plowing a field, pruning trees, harvesting corn, or other jobs, depending on the time of year. Eat lunch with the workers and then trek to and explore a nearby cave and hot spring. Eat dinner with your host family again and get some rest.
Day 4 / Kyaukme Village Trekking, Cycling, or Motorbiking
After breakfast, start your trip back to Kyaukme, passing through more Palaung and Shan villages, and stopping to take a swim in a secluded waterfall. Eat a local (or western) style dinner and stroll the town, watch a private 3-D movie at a little home-style theater in town, shoot pool, or soak your tired feet in cleansing treatment.
Day 5 / Transit to Your Next Destination
Take a bus to your next destination.
- Twin sharing hotel accommodation with breakfast
- Tour and sightseeing with throughout English speaking guide
- All entrance and zone fees as mentioned
- All transfer and transportation
- Full board meals as mentioned
- All government and services taxes
- International flight in/out
- Camera fees
- Travel insurance
- Personal expenses (laundry, soft drink, tips etc…)
*Itinerary is subject to changes depending on confirmed flights, road conditions and availability of rooms.