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Increasing numbers of foreigners are finding their way to delightful Hsipaw, drawn by the possibilities of easily arranged hill treks that are more authentic than those around Kalaw or anywhere in northern Thailand. Many people, though, find the town's laid-back vibe and intriguing history as a Shan royal city as much of an attraction and spend far longer here than they intended. With just enough tourist infrastructure to be convenient, Hsipaw remains a completely genuine northern Shan State town. Be sure to check it out before this changes.

There are rebel ethnic armies operating in some areas around Hsipaw, so certain destinations, such as Namhsan, are now off limits to foreigners. Trekking guides are very attuned to the local situation and make sure to steer foreigners well away from the conflict zones.

Best time to visit

The wet season in Myanmar takes place from June to October and it can rain heavily every single day which can also cause widespread flooding. On the flipside, the dry season sees soaring temperatures and it can get very dusty. 

One of the most pleasant times to visit is from November to February when the weather is more stable and temperatures are manageable.

Check the below table for the general idea of Hsipaw weather throughout the year.

Month Avg. High (°C) Avg. Mean (°C) Avg. Low (°C)
Jan 26 17.8 7.8
Feb 28.8 20.7 9.3
Mar 32 24.1 12.8
Apr 32.8 26.1 16.6
May 32.2 27 20.4
Jun 31.2 27.1 22.5
Jul 29.9 26.2 22.3
Aug 29.8 26.1 22.1
Sep 30.6 26.3 21.5
Oct 29.6 24.6 19
Nov 28 21.9 14.7
Dec 25.7 18.6 10.1

Hsipaw's current weather and 7-day forecast


Hsipaw is also sometimes referred to as Thibaw and is a vibrant town which is located in Shan State in Myanmar. This means that it is the perfect place to come if you want to know more about Shan culture as there are a number of pretty artifacts dotted all over the city to help you do just that.

As well as its historical and cultural significance, Hsipaw is known for its gorgeous scenery, especially as it is surrounded by hills which you can climb and look out over the sprawling countryside.

As you would also expect from a Burmese town, you will also find a number of Shan pagodas and temples here, and Hsipaw is also located on a river so you can take a boat trip and check out the scenery from the vantage point of the water.

Another key reason to visit Hsipaw is that it is located on the railway line from Mandalay which is one of the most famous and apparently beautiful railways in the world.

With that in mind, if you love traveling by train then don’t miss the chance to take the railway from Mandalay to Hsipaw.

Here are the best things to do in Hsipaw:

1. Take a trip to Nawng Kaw Gyi Lake

Nawng Kaw Gyi Lake is part of Nawng Kaw Village and is located around 40 kilometers away from Hsipaw and makes a great day trip if you want to get out of town.

The lake is known for having a dainty temple in the center of it which is made of wood and you can walk across a rickety bridge to get to it.

It is also surrounded by pretty hills which are dotted with pagodas and there is a monastery close by that you can also visit at the same time.

2. Check out Myauk Myo

Myauk Myo is said to be the oldest part of Hsipaw and often it can feel more like its own small village rather than a section of the town proper.

You will find two gorgeous monasteries here called Madahya Monastery and Bamboo Buddha Monastery, both of which are made of teak.

Another reason to come to Myauk Myo is to check out the brick stupas which are dotted around.

These are often known by their nickname which is ‘Little Bagan’ which may be overstating it a little bit but they are very pretty nonetheless.

3. Climb Sunset Hill

Anyone looking for some gorgeous views across Hsipaw should come to Sunset Hill.

Rather confusingly, Sunset Hill is also called Nine Buddha Hill and this is also the spot of the Thein Daung Pagoda.

As the name suggests, the sunsets from the top of the hill are breathtaking so plan your trip accordingly so you can check out the all-natural light show across Hsipaw.

4. Trek to Nam Hu Nwe Waterfall

The Nam Hu Nwe Waterfall is located a few kilometers outside of Hsipaw and is another place to come if you want to explore the surrounding area.

Many people don’t make it out to the falls although it is fairly easy to get to and you can even rent a bicycle and cycle here, or rent a scooter.

The waterfall is very pretty and lies nestled in the jungle and there is a deep pool at the base where you can cool off after the walk to the cataract.

5. Go hiking

If you love hiking then Hsipaw is definitely the place for you.

The main reason for this is that Hsipaw is located in a lush valley and it is easier to navigate than many other places where you need an experienced guide.

There are a number of hikes that you can take here by yourself which will lead you past amazing hot springs, or past glittering waterfalls.

Alternatively you can also choose to trek to traditional villages or along the main river.

6. Soak in the hot springs

The hot springs in Hsipaw come from an underground well which produces hot water which is said by the locals to have medicinal properties.

To get to the springs, which are on the road from ‘Little Bagan’, you can rent a bike and cycle, or get a motorbike taxi.

The locals use the springs like a natural bathtub and it is not uncommon to see people washing in the springs.

One thing to bear in mind is that you will need to dress modestly when you bathe.

7. Check out Bawgyo Paya

Bawgyo Paya is an important pilgrimage site for the Shan people, particulate in February and March when they celebrate Bawgyo Paya Pwe.

This temple was built in 1995, making it one of the newer buildings in town, and it is designed in stepped polygons which are also gilded.

There is also a vibrant dome over the structure which is apparently inlaid with rubies.

8. Shop at the Central Market

The Central Market is distinct from the Produce Market, so make sure you don’t get confused about which one you want to visit.

The Central Market is the main market in town that sells local fruits and vegetables from the region and this is the place to come if you want to stock up on traditional Burmese products like salted fish snacks.

Make sure you come as early as possible however as many vendors go home in the early afternoon.

9. Eat at A Kaung Kyite

If you want an authentic taste of the local food in Hsipaw then you need to come to what is arguably the most famous eatery in town.

Here you will find amazing local curries that also come with typical Burmese side dishes like salads and pickles, and these are the main reason to come here.

This is also more of a lunchtime place then anything as this is when the curries are made so arrive as early as possible to get the best bites.

10. Admire Mahamyatmuni Paya

Mahamyatmuni Paya has the claim to fame of being the largest pagoda in town and you will find a huge image of the Buddha here which is said to have been modeled on the Mahamuni Buddha which is on display in Mandalay.

Rather jarringly, the Buddha is famous for having a halo of neon lights illuminated over his head which creates a rather psychedelic effect.

11. Shop at the Produce Market

Hsipaw is said to have one of the best markets in Myanmar which is no mean feat.

The reason for this is that villagers come down from the surrounding villages to sell their wares, so this is one of the best places to pick up local handicrafts.

Just some of the pieces on offer include traditional textiles and jewelry, but be warned that the market is best visited as early as possible in the morning.

Many of the villagers leave to go back home by around 7 o’clock in the morning so you need to get moving if you want to snag the best souvenirs.

12. Check out the Godowns

If you like traditional architecture then you mustn’t miss the chance to check out the godowns when you are in Hsipaw.

You will know these when you see them as they take the form of traditional warehouses and are located on the road from the riverfront to the Central Market.

The godowns date from the 19th century and are notable for their signature fronts which have four large columns each.

13. Get a drink at a local teahouse

Contrary to popular belief, and to their name, teahouses in Myanmar do not just serve tea.

In Hsipaw they are also known for serving up local draft beer, and they are also usually one of the best places to come if you want to watch sports such as football matches.

One of the most famous in town is called La Wun Aung which is said to never close, so it’s a good choice if you want a late night tipple.

14. Walk by the Central Pagoda

The Central Pagoda is pretty self explanatory and this is the main Buddhist temple which is located in the center of town.

You will know that you have found it as it has a signature large golden stupa on the top which glitters in the afternoon sun.

Note that this is one of the more popular temples in the city so you may want to visit early in the morning before the crowds arrive and when the sun is not too fierce.

15. Sample the coffee at Black House Coffee Shop

If you want to sup some coffee in style then you need to come to Black House Coffee Shop which is housed inside a shop house that is said to be 75 years old.

The house is made in the traditional style from teak and it looks out over the river so you can take in the views from the main yard.

The coffee served here is made from local Shan beans, so if you want a cup of the real thing then this is the best place to find it.

Alternatively they also serve beer which you can sip as you look over the river at sunset.

Budget options

Tai House Resort 

Add: No. 38, Sabie Street, Taungmyo quarter, 11221 Hsipaw, Myanmar

Offering a restaurant with room service, Tai House Resort is located in Hsipaw. Guests can enjoy scenic views from Thein Hill and watch the sun set. Free WiFi access is available in public areas.

The stylish accommodation provides guests with a flat-screen cable TV, patio and air conditioning. Featuring a shower, the private bathroom also comes with a hairdryer and slippers. Some rooms have a minibar and a bath.

Facilities at Tai House include a 24-hour front desk, a garden and laundry services. Guests can make arrangements for an airport shuttle at an additional cost. The property offers free parking.

Mr. Charles Guest House 

Add: No.105, Auba Street, Myo Le Quater, 11101 Hsipaw, Myanmar

Mr. Charles Guest House is located in Hsipaw. Among the facilities at this property are a 24-hour front desk and a shared lounge, along with free WiFi throughout the property. A tour desk can provide information on the area.

A continental breakfast is available daily at the guest house.

Hotel Thipaw 

Add: 78 Mingalar Street Myo Lae Ward, Hsipaw, 11111 Hsipaw, Myanmar 

Hotel Thipaw has a restaurant, free bikes, a fitness centre and bar in Hsipaw. With a garden, the property also features a terrace. The accommodation offers a 24-hour front desk, room service and currency exchange for guests.

All guest rooms come with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a fridge, a kettle, a shower, free toiletries and a desk. At the hotel all rooms include a wardrobe and a private bathroom.

Hotel Thipaw offers a continental or buffet breakfast.

Bike hire and car hire are available at the accommodation and the area is popular for cycling and fishing.

Mid-range options

Kumudra Hill - Mountain View

Add: Padauk Street, Hsipaw, Shan State,, 11111 Hsipaw, Myanmar 

Featuring free WiFi, a whirlpool tub and an outdoor pool, Kumudra Hill - Mountain View offers accommodation in Hsipaw.

Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant. Free private parking is available on site.

Certain units include a seating area for your convenience. You will find a kettle in the room. Each room is equipped with a private bathroom equipped with a shower. For your comfort, you will find slippers and free toiletries.

A free shuttle service to the city centre is available on request. Trekking trips can also be arranged with an English-speaking guide provided.

You can engage in various activities, such as cycling and hiking. Mountain bikes are available for rent

Hotel Lily The Home 

Add: 108,Aungthapye Road,Hsipaw, 11121 Hsipaw, Myanmar

A 5-minute walk to local markets, Hotel Lily The Home offers air conditioned rooms with free WiFi. The hotel is equipped with a tour desk and fitness centre.

Rooms come with a flat-screen TV and minibar. Shower facilities are included in the bathrooms. Some rooms have bathtubs.

Staff at the 24-hour front desk can assist guests with laundry and shuttle services. Massage service is also available.
Asian and European cuisines are served at Lily Kitchen.

Mr. Charles River View Lodge 

Add: Naug Gad Village, Hsipaw Township, Northern Township, 11221 Hsipaw, Myanmar 

Located in Hsipaw, Mr. Charles River View Lodge offers accommodation with free WiFi in public areas. The property features a 24-hour front desk, tour desk and massage service.

Overlooking the river from a balcony, rooms are fitted with a fan, flat-screen satellite TV and electric kettle. Shower facilities are included in the bathroom.

For guests’ convenience, the property provides airport shuttle service and laundry at additional charges. A free shuttle service to and from the city centre is also available.

A local cuisine is served at the on-site restaurant.

River Side@Hsipaw Resort 

Add: Bank of Dokhtawaddy River ,Myo Haung Village , Pan Sord Main Village Group ,Hsipaw, 11121 Hsipaw, Myanmar 

River Side@Hsipaw Resort is located in Hsipaw, Myanmar. Guests can enjoy a spa and wellness centre and a restaurant at the resort. Pets are welcomed at the premise upon request.

All rooms offer river view. Rooms are equipped with air-conditioning, a balcony and a minibar. A private bathroom has a shower. A seating area also comes with an electric kettle.

River Side@Hsipaw Resort offers a 24-hr front desk and a room service. A tour desk, massage and laundry service are available.

An on-site restaurant serves Thai, European and Asian food throughout the day.

Mrs Popcorn's Garden

Although Mrs Popcorn passed away in 2016, her equally irrepressible daughter makes this all-organic outdoor cafe a definitive stop on a tour of the Myauk Myo area of town. Choose from homemade snacks, some Burmese classics and traveller favourites and, of course, popcorn. Cold beer is available, so it's easy to kick back and while away a couple of hours.

Hours: 9am-9pm

Price: snacks K1000-3000

Law Chun

Nicknamed 'Mr Food', this restaurant offers Chinese dishes for Burmese and Western palates, so it's light on the spices.

Law Chun stands out from the pack thanks to its bright and breezy interior. Draught beer is available, so it usually draws a few backpackers by night.

Hours: 9am-9pm

Price: dishes K1500-6000


With its retro interior and small terrace, San is popular with travellers who come for the many barbecue options (go for the duck) and the Chinese-style mains. Dali beer from China is available, as well as the usual Burmese beers.

Hours: 10am-midnight

Price: dishes K1500-4500, barbecue from K350

A Kaung Kyite

This is the best place in town for authentic Bamar food, as the curries come with an array of side dishes. Do as the locals do and sample them at lunchtime when they are fresh off the stove.

Hours: 9am-8pm

Price: mains K2000-4000

Get in

By rail

Every day, a train makes it laborious way up from Mandalay, via steep hills and a breathtaking gorge, to Hsipaw (and onward to Lashio). 

One of the 'must do' railway journeys of the world, the railway line between Pyin u Lwin and Hsipaw is a masterpiece of British engineering, designed primarily to bring trade (and thus control) to the Northern Shan State, an important ally of the British after the conquest of Upper Burma. 

The train from Mandalay to Hsipaw takes 11 hours and costs 3950K (Upper class) and 1700K (Ordinary class). The train leaves at 4:00am. (July 2019) 

The journey from Pyin oo Lwin to Hsipaw takes seven hours and costs Kyat 2750 First Class (Upper Class) or Kyat 1200 Second Class (Ordinary Class) (as of July 2019). Many travelers do the Pyin oo Lwin (Maymyo) to Hsipaw section one way and return by road (7 hours by train, 4 hours by road). 

Lashio is four hours from Hsipaw by train. 

The train from Hsipaw to Mandalay (and Pyin Oo Lwin) leaves at 09:40 and arrives in Mandalay at 22:40 (to Pyin Oo Lwin at around 16:00)

By pickup

Pickups leave early in the morning from Mandalay near the clock tower (6 hours, 1,500 kyat) or Pyin oo Lwin (4 hours, 1,300 kyat) for Hsipaw. It is a long and uncomfortable ride and not recommended unless you can get a seat in the front.

By bus

Every day at 16:00-18:00 a lot of buses from Lashio to Yangon stop on the main road 200m from clocktower. 14800Ks aircon, 16800-18000 VIP, 14h.

Early morning buses leave from Mandalay to Hsipaw (4000 kyat) and from Hsipaw to Mandalay leaves at 6:00 am (4500 AC, 4000 W/O AC).

For buses out of Hsipaw, the ticket offices for the two companies,Duhtawadi are on Namtu Road across from Mr. Food and, for the express bus, at the Shan Market. Buy your ticket on the previous day and try for a seat towards the front of the bus and preferably not on the seat that folds into the aisle (the aisles are blocked for the ride). 

A bus ride to Lashio (800 kyat) takes two hours and buses, you got it, leave early in the morning. Both bus companies will pick you up from your hotel, sometimes an hour before the bus leaves (buses leave at about 06:00), so you may find it better to walk to the bus yourself. In additional, there is also air conditioned bus of Duhtawadi Express which is the best way to Hsipaw or Kyauk Me' leaves 2:30 pm (5000 kyat)

In Pyin Oo Lwin the bus ticket to Hsipaw costs 4500 kyats for non airconditioned bus and 6000 for air con bus and leaves from the bus terminal (3km from pyin oo lwin). The bus takes 6 hours from Pyin oo lwin

It is also possible to access Hsipaw by air-conditioned bus from Nyaungshwe (Inle Lake). The bus departs around 3:30pm from Nyaungshwe and costs 16,000 kyats. Expect the journey to take anywhere between 12 - 14 hours, dropping you off in Hsipaw early the next morning. Note that the route this bus takes is towards Kalaw, Meiktila, Mandalay and then reascends back into the mountains via Pyin Oo Lwin. Ask at your hotel in Nyaungshwe and they will be able to book it for you.

A bus from Kalaw leaves at 3.30 pm and costs 19000 Kyat. Arrives to Hsipaw at about 4-5am.

We recommend you check the latest bus schedule and price via

By shared taxi

Depending on availability (shared taxis run with at least three passengers). Between Mandalay and Hsipaw about 10,000 kyat and between Pyin Oo Lwin and Hsipaw about 9000 kyat. Four hours.

By private car

Approximate cost about US$100 for the round trip.

Get around

It is easy to get around walking or on a rented bicycle (500 kyat/day). Trishaws are available if you don't want to walk and taxis can be found on the Lashio Road.

Contact us to get more information


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