Hsipaw is a small town located between Mandalay and Lashio on the road to China in northern Shan State, about 135 kilometers from Maymyo. Hsipaw is a former Shan principality with a population of 30,000 and crossed by the Dotthawaddy River. It is an important production center for fruits and vegetables, melons, pineapples, carrots, cauliflowers, tea plantations. The city also has some attractions such as “Little Bagan” with some Bagan-era stupas, the Baw Gyo pagoda at the entrance of the city, the most revered in the city, and the Shan Palace, home to the last princely dynasty of Shan State.
Hsipaw offers many opportunities for hiking for a single day as a real incursion into rural Myanmar, a total break experience far from usual tourist paths.
One Day Hike to Nam Ngon village
Distance About 12 km
Duration 8h to 9h including lunch break at Nam Ngon village
Ground Mainly cleared paths with some steep areas before to reach the village
This day is a true incursion into an authentic glimpse of Myanmar; you should meet very few tourists on your way or just to be alone with your guide! All the day will be punctuated by amazing panoramic views of the valley and surrounding hills; you will cross fields, mostly corn, but also hill-side mountain rice, a rice that is more “sticky” than rice grown in paddies field. Then you should reach Nam Ngon village around 12pm, the occasion for a lunch break at house of the Chief of village, a simple but tasty lunch. Depending on the day, you may have the opportunity to visit the school run by three young teachers giving classes to around fifteen students. Although Myanmar is taught at school, Shan remains the language widely uses among the village community; Shan alphabet contains 19 letters from the 33 letters Myanmar alphabet. The day, under the sign of certain endurance, will be rewarded by a great break in beautiful rural environment and occasion to meet with people whose daily customs have changed little over the time.
When traveling on the way to Hsipaw, experience local train from Maymyo (Pyin oo Lwin)
An original way of transportation from Mandalay to Hsipaw and Lashio is to take a ride by the local train from Pyin Oo Lwin (Maymyo), a former hills station at the time of the British. The train leaves around 8.20am to cross the viaduct around 11.30am. Build in iron in 1900, 700 meters long, the amazing iron structure is still the crossing point allowing trains to reach Lashio in the north of the country from Mandalay. The train passing the Goteik viaduct is a unique experience that offers a breathtaking panoramic view over the defile and the valley through which it passes by. Arrival around 12H at Nyaung Bein station and we suggest you to continue by car till Hsipaw.