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Hill Tribes Myanmar

Explore Loikaw, a charming and small place in Myanmar’s Shan State that’s filled with authentic culture and beautiful natural scenery. Interact with various ethnic tribes and take this opportunity to meet with friendly local people.   Experience a special balloon flight over Inle Lake and a private luxury boat ride among the floating gardens and stilted houses for a luxurious experience of lesser-known Myanmar.

HIGHLIGHTS

Various activities on sites

  • Walk through hidden hill tribe villages, meet the ladies in traditional dress and learn about their customs.
  • Board a luxury boat trip to hidden Sagar, explore amazing landscapes of stupas and taste exotic ethnic cuisine.
  • Overnight stays on Inle Lake to discover everyday life including private boat trips, and lunch at an Inthar heritage restaurant

Unforgettable moments

  • Interact with hill tribe people and discover customs and cultures
  • Luxury boat trip to Sagar to see stunning nature landscapes 
  • Explore life on Inle Lake and unique ways of life

Nature exploration

  • Wander around Inle Lake and enjoy magnificent views of the surrounding
  • Enjoy the beautiful scenery and natural breeze of the lake at the Ngwe Taung Dam
  • Board a luxury boat trip to hidden Sagar
  • Visit beautiful villages: Kayaw Tribe Village, Hta Nee La Leh Village

Culture experience

  • Visit a craft workshop to explore weaving, bamboo basketry and blacksmith.
  • Visit Kayaw Tribe village where the tribe women still wear traditional costumes.
  • Explore many unique and beautiful temples and pagodas

Map

Detailed schedule

Day 1 - Welcome to Loikaw

Note: There is a direct flight from Yangon to Loikaw every day.

Arrive at Loikaw Airport and receive a warm welcome. Be assisted with a guide for an easy immigration procedure. Transfer to the hotel for check-in and a chance to freshen up and relax.

Then drive out to the countryside for a visit to Kayan tribe villages.  After an hour, reach the Pan Phet Village. Most of the inhabitants of Pan Phet are of the Kayan (Padaung) tribe. The Padaung women are famous for the many golden neck rings they wear. Though the tradition is dying out, most women over 40 in the village can still be seen wearing these heavy accessories. There will be a unique chance to interact with these ladies during a stroll through the village. A few roadside stalls have opened to cater to tourists here, so there will be a few chances to pick up some locally sourced souvenirs and refreshments.

After the village visit choose to continue on for a 1.5-hour short trek to the nearby mountain area to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Kayah Land and the villages from the top of a pagoda platform. (Please note: This is optional and dependent on one’s fitness level.)

After leaving the village, head for a late lunch at a local restaurant. Tuck-in to a local Kayah style lunch.  

On the return drive, stop for a while at the Ngwe Taung Dam to enjoy the beautiful scenery and natural breeze of the lake.

In the evening, head to a jetty just on the outskirts of the city. The private motorboat cruises on the Bilu River which meanders its way through the heart of Loikaw and out into the countryside.  Cruise pass the city’s bridge, witness everyday local life by the river. Then return back to the jetty and be transferred back to the hotel.

Tonight, a welcome dinner awaits by the hotel’s restaurant to celebrate the first night in Loikaw.

Notes

There is a direct flight from Yangon to Loikaw every day.

 

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Day 2 - Loikaw

OPTIONAL ACTIVITY: Balloon Experience Over Loikaw - Begin this morning with an amazing bird’s eye view of Loikaw, a charming town by hot-air balloon flight. Upon arrival at the launch site, be treated to coffee, tea, pastries, croissants and the obligatory safety briefing. Then, soar and float over the charming misty land of Loikaw and enjoy the beautiful scenery of mountain regions, paddy fields, Bilu Creek and town dwellers of the legendary area.  (Note: available only from 1st Jan to mid-March; all flights are weather permitting.) 

After breakfast, begin the day with a 30-minute transfer outside of Loikaw to the Demawso Market (only open on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday). This local market is a place where tribes from the surrounding area gather to sell their unique wares, including the local khaung-yay wine. Local women line up with batches of homemade wine, each offering free samples to any interested customers. After deciding on a particularly tasty one, customers will make their purchase, filling up containers they brought themselves.

Following the market visit, continue on a two-hour journey to the Kayaw Tribe village where the tribe women still wear traditional costumes. Khay Kho village is situated in the middle of beautiful scenery and green mountains. Upon arrival, be greeted by a local village guide for a tour in the village. First, visit the church and village museum where traditional hunting and household equipment and musical instruments are kept.  Then explore the traditional custom of Kayaw people at the wooden coffin house where they are reserved for their families and relatives.

A pre-packed lunch awaits at a local village where authentic local cuisine is served in a traditional home.  After lunch, continue touring to visit a craft workshop to explore weaving, bamboo basketry and blacksmith. Lastly, visit the home of an artisan and enjoy the song of bamboo guitar played by the Kayaw tribe people.

In the afternoon, return to Loikaw and on the way visit the authentic Hta Nee La Leh village where Kayah tribe people are mainly inhabiting and explore their traditional dress, houses and lacquer leg rings.Before sunset, proceed to the Loikaw’s prominent, Kan Khun Na Sint (seven steps lake) to enjoy a relaxing sunset cocktail with lake views.

Notes

30-minute transfer outside of Loikaw to the Demawso Market (only open on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday)

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Day 3 - Loikaw

After breakfast, take a leisurely stroll for more sightseeing in this colorful, interesting town and small Loikaw market. 

While exploring the town, choose to enjoy a local breakfast at a noodle shop to try a variety of noodles with some local people.  According to the availability, visit and explore Loikaw’s famous traditional Kayah sausage making.

Then proceed for a 1-hour drive to Aike San Village, a place of Lisu tribe who mostly staying in the northern part of Myanmar. Visit the village and meet with local people to explore their house, dress and traditional customs. 

From the village, continue driving to Htee Sae Khar Waterfall to enjoy the natural waterfall and a pre-packed lunch.

After lunch, spend some time at leisure and stroll to the waterfall.

In the afternoon, return to Loikaw and on the way visit to Aung Tha Pyay limestone cave to see the beautiful stalactites and stalagmites in the cave. In Loikaw, visit a field near the village containing spiritual posts, locally known as Kaehtobo which are used during the Kayah New Year celebrations in April. At that time, the local people offer food to the guardian spirits at this location.

Shortly before sunset, head into downtown Loikaw to visit the Taung Kwe Pagoda. Perched on a spectacular rock formation, this pagoda is Kayah State’s most famous sight. The rock formation itself is said to be the origin of the town’s name (Loikaw is Shan for ‘Island of mountains’). With great views of the surrounding area, the pagoda is the perfect spot to end the day.

Notes

1-hour drive to Aike San Village

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Day 4 - Loikaw - Sagar - Inle Lake

Transfer to Phekon Jetty by private vehicle and board a private luxury motorboat to Sagar, the far southern region of Inle Lake. These customized boats are powered by special engines that reduce noise by 60 percent and are outfitted with ergonomic chairs, high-quality umbrellas, and fleece blankets. Along with standard safety and nautical equipment, the boats employ a two-man crew for improved service.  Very few tourists make the trip down to this region, yet it is one of the most beautiful places in the Shan State.

The boat journey takes 3.5-4 hours, but is full of fabulous views and home to many unique species of birds, both indigenous and migratory.

First, visit the village of Thaya Gone, home to the Pa-Oh, Shan, and Inthar people, known for its production of local rice wine. Watch the process of distillation and then sample some of the local brew. In Thaya Gone there is also the chance to climb to the top of a small hill which there are great views of the lake and surrounding villages. Then, continue on for a visit to Tar Kaung Pagoda complex, a series of more than 200 stupas set on the western shores of the lake.

Afterwards, cross to the Sagar village by boat to enjoy a specially arranged multi-ethnic lunch experience.  Community members from the three ethnic groups called Samkar Home – Shan, Pa Oh and Inthar will prepare a variety of traditional dishes in a buffet-style meal. Enjoy an interactive lunch experience to learn about the culture and diversity of Sagar’s tribal society.  (Note: this activity can be replaced with a lunch at a local family’s home in Thar Yar Kone village.)

After lunch, visit to the ‘sunken’ stupas of Sagar. 108 stupas from the 16-17th centuries, these religious monuments sit partially underwater for a few months a year. There is also a local monastery and village that can be visited.

In the afternoon, the boat will begin its journey back to the main section of Inle Lake. Travelling back in the afternoon, observe the light as it shifts while different activities occur on the along the water banks and villages.

Then transfer to the hotel by lake.

Notes

The boat journey takes 3.5-4 hours, but is full of fabulous views and home to many unique species of birds, both indigenous and migratory.

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Day 5 - Inle Lake

After breakfast, spend the day at leisure at the hotel and overnight on Inle Lake.

Optional Activity: Floating lunch on the waters of Inle - Lunch on a boat in the middle of Inle Lake and taste the best food in Shan State delivered by rowing boat. Shan State is well-known for its delicious food so this culinary experience on the lake is the best way to enjoy a meal in Myanmar. Dine aboard a specially-designed boat for comfort, against Inle Lake’s beauty, the perfect backdrop to enjoy this unique meal.

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Day 6 - Inle Lake

Begin with an early morning gazing at millions of stars on a boat ride across Inle Lake. Disembark at a small village on the banks of the lake for some tea, coffee and snacks as the crew sets up the hot air balloon. 

Once ready, the pilot gives a detailed safety briefing and introduction to the Ballooning experience.
Climb aboard and take off. Float over the lake and see the complex network of canals and waterways crisscrossing in patterns only distinguishable from the skies. With conditions allowing, experience the pilot landing the balloon on a small platform on the lake (if weather conditions permit) before continuing the journey. Expect the balloon to rise to 1000 meters, above low-lying clouds.
After about an hour, gradually descend where the crew awaits. Toast to a glass of sparkling wine to celebrate the flight and enjoy a light breakfast while the balloon is packed up. Transfer back to the hotel with an unforgettable experience. Then return to the hotel to enjoy breakfast and spend some time at leisure.

Note: Balloon Flight Operates from November to Mid-March.

After relaxing at the hotel, don a traditional Inthar dress and board a private luxury motorboat for a transfer to Inthar Heritage House established by a local family who are involved in several activities aimed at preserving the culture of the Inthar, the lake’s indigenous people. There is an organic garden, vocational training centre and restaurant as well as informative displays about Intha traditions. Join Inthar Heritage House’s cooking demonstration session which starts at 11:00 in the morning and enjoy an Inthar-style lunch there.

After lunch, proceed to the boat tour along the villages built on stilts over the lake inhabited by the local Intha people. Observe the leg-rowing fishermen and see their floating gardens built up from strips of water hyacinth and mud, and anchored to the bottom with bamboo poles.  

Then, visit to Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the lake’s main sanctuary, which contains five sacred Buddha images covered in gold leaf.

After that, explore the local crafts of Inle Lake and drop by a weaving village of Inpawkhone as well as a cheroot factory, where typical Burmese cigars are made by hand.

After this full day luxury sightseeing tour, return back to the hotel and enjoy sunset.

Optional: Head to the Resort’s spa for a luxurious massage or body treatment (client’s own account).

Overnight on Inle Lake.

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Day 7 - Inle Lake - Heho - Yangon

In the morning, spend some time at leisure in the hotel before being transferred to Heho Airport by car for a flight back to Yangon or the next destination.

Notes

For a morning departure by land transfer to Yangon, a supplementary charge will apply.

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