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Heights of Hsipaw: A Trekking Adventure through the Shan State Hills

The rural Shan State in northeast Myanmar is home to many traditional Palaung villages hidden in its many hills. On this six-day adventure, you will delve deep into the hills to meet villagers and experience their traditional way of life, staying in homestays and visiting tea plantations and bamboo paper mills. You will start your adventure by taking a historic train ride from Pyin Oo Lwin to Hsipaw, where you’ll spend a day exploring its palace, visiting a noodle factory and an ancient monument and biking alongside the Myit Nge river. Following your three-day trek, you’ll have the opportunity to discover the British legacies in Pyin Oo Lwin before departing from Mandalay. For history, culture, and a whole lot of trekking, this adventure will be one to remember!  

Highlights   Pricing
  • Enjoy the historic rail ride from Pyin Oo Lwin to Hsipaw
  • Explore the Sao Pha palace of Hsipaw and learn about its royal history
  • Spend three days trekking and visiting traditional villages in the Shan State hills
  • Visit the old colonial mansions and botanical garden of Pyin Oo Lwin 
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Day by Day Itinerary

View Pyin Oo Lwin to Hsipaw in a larger map
Day 1
Pyin Oo Lwin to Hsipaw

Your adventure starts in the scenic hillside town of Pyin Oo Lwin, where you’ll take a historic eight-hour train to Hsipaw along the rails originally engineered by the British to connect the center of Myanmar to the Northern Shan State. Once you arrive in Hsipaw, spend the afternoon biking along the river Myit Nge before enjoying an incredible sunset from the hill of the five Buddhas. You will stay overnight at the brand new Hsipaw resort.

Day 2

Spend the day exploring the town of Hsipaw, a former Sao Pha (royal) hideaway in the Northern Shan State. After breakfast, visit the Shan noodle factory, followed by a tour of the Hsipaw palace to learn the history of the royal town. Later, enjoy a boat journey up the Myint Nge to explore a traditional Shan village. After a sunset cruise back to Hsipaw, enjoy a second night at the Hsipaw resort.

Day 3
Hsipaw - Kyauk Me - Pansan

Today, you’ll head out of Hsipaw to begin your three-day trek – but not before paying a visit to the pagoda Bawgyo, an incredible ancient Shan-style monument that is said to be over 2,000 years old. Afterward, you’ll drive 45 minutes to Kyauk Me, the kick-off point of your trek in the hills of the Shan State. On this first day, you’ll trek four hours to Pansan, a traditional Palaung village where you’ll stay overnight in a homestay.

Day 4
Trek to Pan Hon

On the fourth day, you’ll trek for five hours through the heart of the Shan State, visiting several Palaung villages and meeting villagers, including women wearing traditional red skirts and silver hoops around their waist. Spend time exploring a local tea plantation and enjoy an overnight homestay.

Day 5
Trek to Man Kyoung; Tuk Tuk to Kyaung Me

Today is the last day of trekking, as you’ll end your exploration of the Shan State hills in the village of Man Kyoung, where you’ll head back to Kyauk Me on a traditional tuk-tuk. After settling in at the Ayar Yon Oo Guest House, enjoy the rest of the day exploring the village monasteries, visiting local bamboo paper mills or – if your leg muscles will allow – climbing the large hills that surround the village.

Day 6
Kyaung Me - Pyin Oo Lwin - Mandalay

On the last full day of your Shan State adventure, you will depart from Kyaung Me and spend some time back in Pyin Oo Lwin, a former British stronghold that served as a cool retreat from the surrounding cities, thanks to its high altitude. Visit the old colonial mansions and take a walk through the sprawling botanical garden – just one of the town’s many British legacies. Finally, you will head back to Mandalay and stay overnight at a hotel before departing from the group the next day.


Suggested Accommodations

Mr. Charles Guest House

Mr. Charles Guest House

Located in the small town’s city center, Mr. Charles Guest House in Hsipaw is your home away from home in Myanmar. Set in a small, sleepy town in the Shan State, Hsipaw is full of steep hills and breathtaking gorges. With wood trimming and high ceilings, the guest house is a present day comfort in the midst of a traditional setting. Clean and spacious, pick from the 26 modern rooms available at the guest house. Enjoy an on-site massage or go for a stroll in the garden. Start your day off right with a complimentary breakfast of either western-style eggs or the typical traditional breakfast of noodle soup. You can access the town through either the scenic railway, taking a bus, or hiring a car from Mandalay. 

Meet An Asia Expert
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Our co-founder Jay Tindall has been visiting Myanmar since 1993. He prefers to escape to remote areas such as Loikaw & the Chin State, as well as sailing in the Mergui Islands.
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