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Off The Beaten Trek on Shan Plateau

10 Days / 9 Nights
, Myanmar

Overview

This trek throughout the Shan Plateau is a once in a lifetime opportunity to discover remote ethnic tribes, nature and historical monuments of Shan State. Covering the loop of the beautiful Inle Lake,  the  trail offers multiple breathtaking views of Inle. Visit the land of the Padaung people who are famous for their unique cultural practices.

Trip Highlights

Off The Beaten Trek on Shan Plateau

Be away from the usual touristy places

Explore the depths of remote communities where unforgettable memories are made on the western hills of Inle Lake.

Take a six-hour trek to the village of the Padaung tribe

Learn about the unique culture where women wear brass neck coils.

Discover the Loikhaw mountain range in the remote Pa-Oh region

On the eastern shore of Inle Lake and experience the unspoiled nature and culture.

Itinerary

1

Arrival Heho – Kalaw

Transfer from Heho to Kalaw: 2 hours

Upon arrival to Heho, be welcomed by the guide at the airport and make an onward transfer to Kalaw.

Kalaw is a former colonial British hill station, with local and colonial style houses. Its altitude ensures that the weather is cool throughout the year. Check-in and take a leisurely walk around town.

Overnight in Kalaw. 

2

Kalaw – Nyaung Tayar – Saungkhar (Trekking)

Transfer from Kalaw to Naung Tayar: 1 hr 30 minsWalking time: up to 4 hoursDifficulty: Easy

The trekking adventure begins! Starting with a scenic two-hour drive, arrive at the small town of Naung Tayar where the trek route begins. The scenery is remarkably different from middle Burma with weather temperature much cooler than the rest of the country.

Set-off on foot with the trekking team beginning with a 2.5 hour trek along a scenic trail that passes the Pa-O village called Done Kyar Pu. Be amazed by the abundance of seasonal agriculture. Then, stop at Ngo La village for lunch.

After lunch at local family house, continue South East for a 2-hour trek and arrive at the village, Saung Khar. On the way, there are many opportunities to pause and interact with friendly local people.

Dinner will be prepared by a host family and spend the night getting to know the local people better on  this homestay.

Overnight in Saung Khar Village.

3

Saung Khar – Tharyar Gone (Trekking) – Phekon – Loikaw

Transfer by boat from Thar Khaung to Phekon: 2 hoursWalking time: up to 4 hoursDifficulty: Easy

Say goodbye to the host family, depart Saung Khar early and continue trekking towards Inle Lake. The first two hour trek offers great views of bamboo forest, valleys and an overview of Naung Mon Village. Stop at an old Monastery in Naung Mon Village and get a chance to learn about the life of little monks and villagers. The Buddhist monastery is the heart of the community which is an important part of rural Burmese life.

Take a gradual 3-hour descend to the final trekking point of Tharyar Gone Village which is situated a short distance from the shores of Inle Lake.

Depending on time, lunch will be taken on-the-go or at the restaurant in Tharyar Gone. Observe the making of local rice wine and visit the photogenic Thar Khaung Pagoda Complex.

Afterwards, board a longtail boat that will take you on a 2-hour journey to Phekon. Then transfer to car towards Loikaw. Check-in to the hotel and have dinner at a local restaurant.

Overnight in Loikaw. 

4

Loikaw – Kayan Villages – Loikaw (Trekking)

Transfer to the start: up to 1 hourWalking time: up to 6 hoursTrekking up to: approx. 15 kmElevation: + 285 m / - 444 mDifficulty: Medium

Leave the hotel for an hour’s transfer in the early morning. Stop at Ngwe Taung Dam to enjoy scenic views over the dam and its surroundings.

If there is a chance, visit Demoso Market which opens on every Monday, Wednesday and Sunday. The market seems like any other rural market, but it has a few unique characteristics.

Afterwards, drive for about  30 minutes to the start of our wonderful six-hour trek to  Kayan villages. Enjoy unspoiled landscapes while trekking with the beautiful background and breathtaking views of mountains range. 

After two hours trek, a traditional lunch will be served at  a village  Before we continue the trek, visit the charming village, the hometown of the Kayan (Padaung) tirbe. Padaung ladies are known as “giraffe women” for their long necks from wearing brass neck coils. Get a chance to learn about the culture of the Kayan tribe and interact with longneck ladies

Then proceed the trek for about 3 hours to our destination. In the afternoon, we drive back to Loikaw and dinner at local restaurant.

Overnight in Loikaw.

5

Loikaw – Samkar

Transfer from Loikaw to Samkar: 4-5 hous

After breakfast at the hotel, visit Taung Kwe Pagoda which is the landmark of Kayah state. This never-before-seen series of pagodas on a crazy rock formation is found in the heart of the city. You can walk up a series of winding stairs that connect the different peaks, each with its own pagoda. From there, you can see an overview of the whole city.

Visit an old Shan Haw (Palace). There is an interesting feature - the central totem pole is a major feature of many of Kayah villages, an animist tradition pre-dating Buddhism or Christianity, known as Kay Htoe Poe. Though the Kayah people are mostly Christian today, these totem poles go back to their previous animist beliefs.

Lunch will be served at local restaurant.

Transfer to Samkar Village. Upon arrival to Samkar in the afternoon, walk to a charming local home and spend the rest of the day at leisure. Walk around the village to discover the daily life in Shan State. 

Overnight in Samkar. 

6

Samkar – Namtek – Htikaung (Trekking)

Walking hour: up to 6-7 hoursDifficulty: Medium

After breakfast, leave the hotel at 8:00 am and travel east of Loikhaw mountain range, starting with a soft trek through fresh and natural areas.

After that walk down to the Phathee village where the ethnic Shan and Pa-O people mingle and live together. Drop in to one of the house and have a chat with the family. Learn about their way of life in the beautiful remote village.

Then continue to trek east towards Namtek village and enjoy the endless paddy fields and see many villagers  carrying out their daily chores.

Lunch is prepared by a local family at Namtek village.

Trek for another 3 hours to the night stop in Htikaung Village surrounded by hills and mountains. High trees are grown around the village making it look like the village’s natural fence. There is a big water source with a nearby Monastery in the centre of the Htikaung village.

Dinner and night spent at homestay, at Htikaung Village. 

7

Htikaung – Htikwa – Pinton (Trekking)

Walking hour: up to 6-7 hoursDifficulty: Medium

After having breakfast in Htikaung, start at 08:00 and trek up to the peak of Kaungnaine, the highest mountain range in the eastern part of Inle. The easy trek passes through an orange plantation, stone bank, natural orchids on the trees and various species of birds. Arrive at the summit and take a rest while appreciating the view of west Inle and Hopong-Seseng field in the east.

Then proceed to Pinton village, famous for its monastery with huge teak pillars. See young monks study Buddhist literature. After lunch at Pinton, continue trek to Maetine Village passing Maekham.  

Dinner and night at homestay, at Maetine Village.

8

Pinton – Maetine – Mine Pyo – Inle (Trekking)

Walking hour: up to 5 hoursDifficulty: MediumTransfer by boat to Nyaung Shwe: 1-1:30 hour

Breakfast is served at Maetine village in the morning. Today’s trek is north to Inpawkhon Village on Inle Lake passing through the valley, fields and dam. 

Lunch is traditional Pa-O dishes served in Lwe Kan Village.

After lunch, continue trek to Inpawkhon with a final climb to Thetlutt mountain. Memorable 3 days trek will end at a lakeside village. Then transfer by boat to our hotel across Inle Lake.

Overnight in Nyaung Shwe.

9

Inle Lake

Begin this full-day Inle Lake tour by boarding a private longtail boat. The motorboat has everything you need for an enjoyable journey - cushioned wooden chairs, life jackets, umbrellas- for sun and rain protection- and blankets in the winter months.

Start with a visit to the morning market, which changes its locations every five days. (Note: there are no markets on full moon or dark moon days) This daily market is a great chance to meet with the locals as people from all over the lake’s shores gather there to buy and sell their wares.

Continue across the lake, passing through ‘floating villages’ which are houses built on stilts. Cruise by floating water hyacinth gardens anchored to the bottom with bamboo poles. Be on the lookout for fishermen who use a unique leg-rowing technique to propel their boats while casting their nets.

Next is a visit to Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the lake’s main sanctuary. Climb the stairs to the top where five sacred Buddha images are displayed on a platform. Learn about the history of these gold-covered statues and find out why they are so revered. Take a short walk to a nearby boathouse to see the royal barges used during the pagoda’s annual festival.

Continue with a short ride onwards to Inpawkhone, a village known for its weaving. Stop in one weaving workshop to see this traditional craft up-close. See silk being spun and placed in intricate patterns on the loom. Witness the time-consuming process of making threads from the fibrous stems of the lotus flowers, a craft that is unique to this village. Then continue to a cheroot factory, where Myanmar cigars are rolled by hand.

After a lunch of typical Inthar dishes, continue across the lake and a stop can be made at Inthar Heritage House to learn more about the history and culture of the lake’s indigenous people.

Return to the hotel filled with unforgettable memories.

Overnight in Nyaung Shwe. 

10

Inle – Heho – Yangon – Departure

Transfer to Heho airport: up to 2 hour

This morning, transfer to the Heho Airport with the destination Yangon for your onward flight.

If you have time upon before transferring for your international departure, visit Kyaukhtatgyi Pagoda, home to a 70-metre long reclining Buddha. A visit to Kyaukhtatgyi provides a great overview of Buddhism with murals depicting the life of Buddha, and a statue carved with traditional symbols. Many locals often gather here to pay homage and pray.

Then, visit the Shwedagon Pagoda the most revered Buddhist temple in Myanmar. Although the origins of the pagoda are unclear, local legend has it that the original structure was built 2,500 years ago then renovated several times before taking its current shape in the 15th century. The 8-sided central stupa is 99 metres tall, it is filled with gold leaf and surrounded by 64 smaller stupas. Follow the guide’s lead while touring this massive complex and learn why it is so revered among locals.

*** END OF SERVICES ***

“An itinerary may at times be altered by our guides due to local conditions, the skill of participants and other unexpected circumstances. Our priority is always the experience and safety of our clients.”

Important Information

Our services include:

  • Luggage transfer
  • Vehicles: (varies based on local conditions and vehicle sizes available). Private air-conditioned vehicle for transfer and back up as itinerary
  • Boat transfers mentioned in the itinerary
  • 1 refillable water bottle per person
  • Plenty of water provided throughout the day while trekking
  • English Speaking Station Trekking Guides in Kalaw, Loikaw and Inle
  • English Speaking Station Culture Guide in Yangon
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
  • Sightseeing tickets where mentioned in the itinerary
  • Accommodation as listed above.
  • Flight reconfirmations

Our services don’t include:

  • Visa arrangement
  • International and domestic flights
  • Meals other than mentioned above
  • Beverage and alcoholic drinks at mealtimes
  • Tips
  • Energy drinks or powders, performance bars, or performance gels (Gatorade, Powerbars, Gu, Isostar, etc)
  • Personal Travel Insurance
  • Personal expenditure (Laundry, telephone)
  • Any other services not clearly mentioned in the itinerary and in the inclusive portion.
  • Other language speaking guides

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