Until February 2014, no visitors had ever set foot in these two Kayah villages - in fact, apart from some NGOs, no outside visitors had been to these hidden destinations. Pristine, rustic, and naturally beautiful, the scenery will take your breath away. Also fascinating are the tribal traditions of the Buddhist villagers, who wear traditional Kayah clothing, many of whom have never encountered foreigners. Meet with the village chief, speak with women working on local peanut farms, and bask in the authenticity of these villages - far from being tainted by outside forces and overt tourism.
An hour and a half from Loikaw, Panpet village is a naturally beautiful area surrounded by spectacular rice fields. After visitors admire the landscape, they may be greeted by the chief and tribal members of the village, welcomed in with open arms to enjoy a fireside chat, cup of tea, or a tour of the local rice fields to learn all about local life. Guests may even experience some ceremonial traditions, such as seeing elders place gold rings around young girls’ necks to train them to carry the weight full time.
Despite being more touristy than other villages, Sunbon is worth a visit to meet longneck women - who hold up to 28 rings on their necks - and villagers who all speak Burmese.
These gold ornamental monuments tower over Loikaw like two Gods rising above Earth. Built in the 11th century over two mountains, legend says that two opposing groups inhabited each point - but over the centuries, a bridge was built between the two mountains as the groups found peace with each other and within Loikaw.
Tradition remains alive and well: the Kayhto Bo, or spirit poles, are worshipped every April - a longstanding tradition despite the fact that most of the tribes have been converted to Christianity. Check out the poles themselves, beautiful decorations to the village and a true stronghold in traditional tribal life.
Pass by rows and rows of natural bamboo shoots and rice fields on the way to Demawso market, where visitors can pick up some locally-crafted goods and meet villagers, who sell their crafts and meet in the village to socialize with each other and the odd visitor who arrives.