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Situated in the hilly, eastern part of Myanmar, Kayah is Myanmar’s smallest state.

Closed for over half a century, recently opened to visitors, and finally accessible by air and road; Kayah is packed with diversity and potential for inspiring, ‘off the beaten track’ experiences.

Kayah’s nine ethnic groups weave a colourful tapestry of beliefs, cuisines, dress and decoration, languages and livelihoods.

Kayah’s tranquil capital, Loikaw, is usually the base for tourists. A short drive from the state capital, local villages offer many opportunities to experience local life, including a range of newly developed, community-based, cultural tours.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Kayah State in Myanmar is from November until April, when you will have a pleasant till hot temperature and limited till mediocre rainfall. 

Between the months of June and September the climate is very unfavorable. The rainiest months are July and August. The rains can interfere with your outside activities.

In the month of May & Octobre the climate is just OK.

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

Month Avg. High (°C) Avg. Mean (°C) Avg. Low (°C)
Jan 27.3 20.2 10.2
Feb 30.3 22.9 11.7
Mar 33.6 26.4 14.8
Apr 34 28.2 19.1
May 31.9 27.2 20.4
Jun 29.7 26.2 21.5
Jul 27.9 24.9 21.1
Aug 27.9 24.9 21
Sep 29.1 25.7 21
Oct 28.9 24.6 18.7
Nov 28.8 23.9 17.2
Dec 27.2 20.8 11.6

Kayah State's current weather and 7-day forecast


Visitors will find Kayah’s undulating landscapes and weave of cultures visually enchanting. However, what truly sets Kayah apart is the endearing warmth of the people, their sense of humour, and passion to share their rituals, arts, crafts and music.

Visitors who are interested in culture can visit animist temples, meet local musicians playing unique bamboo instruments, and try on a local costume! Active visitors can enjoy forest trekking accompanied by local forest guides. Food fans will enjoy tasting ‘Kayah barbecue’ or sipping millet wine from an earthen pot!

The diverse ethnic groups found in Kayah State are actually branched out from Karen culture and the largest tribal groups are the Kayah, Kayan, Bre, Lahta and Yinbaw. Authentic traditions and customs are earnestly passed down for generations. As a result, most of the tribe people still dress in traditional clothes, most notably the Kayah and Kayan tribes. Both ethnic groups are easily identified as the Kayahs always dress in red while the Kayan people still wear brass neck rings.

The Kayan tribe is widely acknowledged as the most recognisable ethnic group in South-east Asia due to their elongated necks as a result of wearing the neck rings. The Kayah people were once devout animists who engage in the ‘Kayhtoboe’ ritual. In this ritual, tribe members pay respects to spirits by offering animals and food in exchange for protection. However, the tribe’s animism culture has ceased over the years and is no longer widely practised.

Handicrafts play a huge role in the domestic, artistic and spiritual life of the Kayah people. The locals craft bamboos and woods into fully-functional musical instruments and are highly skilled with each of their crafts. They are most famous for making the “kaloe” or bamboo guitars. Bamboo baskets and purses produced by the villagers are usually bought as souvenirs. 

The locals are also known to be excellent weavers. Their fabrics are coloured with natural dyes and weaved on a loom, producing vivid-coloured scarves that are perfect as souvenirs. Frog drums are considered to be auspicious and sacred to all the villagers. The bronze, mushroom-shaped instrument is made of bronze and is only played during special occasions. Bamboos and woods are also made into cooking utensils and household items and the villagers also make jewellery out of brass and synthetic stones. These show how well the villagers could sustain on their own due to their expertise in crafting useful items.

Newly opened to tourists, most visitors arrive in Loikaw, the state capital by air from Yangon, by boat or road from Inle Lake, or by road from Heho airport.

By Air

Flights from Yangon to Loikaw take approximately one hour. Loikaw is now served almost every day by Myanmar National Airlines.

Contact us for the latest flight schedule and price. 

Here you can find some tips to book the cheapest flight

By Boat

Visitors can travel from Nyaungshwe / Inle Lake to Pekong boat pier, and then take a transfer by taxi or minivan to Loikaw (approximately 45 minutes).

By Car

The journey from Nyaungshwe to Loikaw by private vehicle takes about 5 hours (up to 7 hours by public transport). One can also travel to Liokaw by road from Yangon. The journey takes approximately 18 hours. It is not recommended.

Click here to get information about the capital of Kayah State - Loikaw


Back to Nature in Myanmar Back to Nature in Myanmar

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Back to Nature in Myanmar
Wellness & Leisure / 11 days / fr. $2,420

Exploring the nature of Myanmar in the remote area around Inle Lake & the magnificent Mergui Archipelago. Leave the tourist trail behind and discover an authentic corner of Inle Lake. Journey p... More




Inle Lake
Inle Lake

Mergui Archipelago
Mergui Archipelago

Ngapali Beach
Ngapali Beach

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